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News / May 9, 2019

News Roundup: Toronto Biennial and National Gallery Each Get $1-Mil Donation

Some big money is flowing. Plus: Nigel Prince is leaving Vancouver's Contemporary Art Gallery for a post in the UK, and the Glenbow Museum's CEO Donna Livingstone is moving to the Whyte Museum
The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Photo: Facebook / NGC. The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Photo: Facebook / NGC.
The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Photo: Facebook / NGC. The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Photo: Facebook / NGC.

Most of the news in the art world this week was focused on the Venice Biennale, where Isuma debuted its exhibition at the Canada Pavilion during preview week. A couple of other Canadian projects premiered as well in Venice this week, including a performance by Zadie Xa, a show from Montreal’s Fondation Phi, and an exhibition by Nadia Myre and Alan Michelson. (Works by Stan Douglas and Jon Rafman are also in the main Biennale exhibition; you can see pics in this Artnet post.) But that’s not all that went on this week.

Money Matters

The National Gallery of Canada has received a $1 million donation. The gift is from the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation of Toronto for the National Gallery’s Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment. The gift will support the production of major exhibitions at the Canada Pavilion for the artist or artists chosen to represent the nation at the renowned Biennale di Venezia. In recognition of the gift, the National Gallery of Canada has renamed one of its contemporary art exhibition spaces the Galerie Weinbaum Family Gallery. (press release)

The Toronto Biennial of Art has received a $1 million donation. The donation is from the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation, which has been named the biennial’s Founding Signature Patron. The gift was revealed alongside a full donors list for the biennial so far.  TD Bank Group is supporting Co-Relations, a collaborative public program that investigates questions of livability, access, alternative narratives, nourishment, and community care that will remain active after the biennial closes. The inaugural biennial takes place September 21 to December 1, 2019. (press release)

Some Nova Scotians are wondering if the province has enough cash to create a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. “In a province where some people say there’s a healthcare crisis, there are also those who believe the gallery money could be better spent,” CTV News reports. The provincial government had promised $70 to $80 million for the project in April. (CTV News)

The Art Gallery of Ontario is piloting a $35 annual pass. The pass, along with a new free-admission policy for those 25 and under, aims to made gallery-going a more regular habit, says CEO Stephan Jost. But it is just a pilot at this stage—Jost says that if existing memberships dip, the $35 pass may not be sustained. Individual adult memberships begin at $110, and provide other perks beyond gallery access, says Jost. (Canadian Art)

Awards and Prizes

Stephen Waddell won the $50K Scotiabank Photography Award this week. The prize also includes a solo show at the 2020 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, and a book published by Steidl. The runners-up were Shannon Bool and Althea Thauberger. (Canadian Art)

Edward Burtynsky has won the Arts & Letters Award. The award was presented by the Canadian Association of New York in March. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland, Norman Jewison, Mike Myers and Oscar Peterson. (press announcement)

Leadership Changes

Nigel Prince is departing Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery. Prince had been executive director at the gallery for nearly nine years. He is leaving to become director of the UK’s Artes Mundi International Visual Arts Exhibition and Prize. Prince starts his new job in September. (Galleries West)

Glenbow Museum CEO Donna Livingstone is moving to the Whyte Museum in Banff. Livingstone had been at the Glenbow for six years, reports Galleries West. “Everything that has propelled Glenbow forward over the past many years has been because of Donna,” says Irfhan Rawji, chair of the Glenbow’s board of governors, said in a release. “Donna has been absolutely committed to taking Glenbow into a new and brighter future.” She starts the new job June 24. (Galleries West)

Randy Joynt is the new executive director of the Manitoba Arts Council. Joynt began his career as a contemporary dancer. For eight years, he was executive director of Winnipeg’s Artspace. He also helped launched ArtSupport Manitoba, a program that worked with arts organizations and the community to increase cultural engagement. Most recently, he has been manager of external affairs for Royal and McPherson Theatres Society in Victoria. (press release)

Genevieve Robertson is departing the Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson. Robertson had been executive director since early 2018. Robertson is leaving to pursue her art practice. She will be leaving at the end of August. (press release)


Hundreds gathered to remember Joe Fafard on Sunday. The public tribute took place at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina. “He’s an inspiration to generations of artists,” said executive director of the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Anthony Kiendl, as reported by Global News. “For over 60 years, he was a leader of the arts in Saskatchewan and in Canada… What he did really successfully was to show you could have an international art career and still work in Saskatchewan.” (Global News)

In Case You Missed It

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston now has another Rembrandt you can see for free. The painting donated by the Bader family brings the centre’s number of authenticated Rembrandt paintings to four—a lot considering there are only seven total in public collections in Canada. (Canadian Art)

Momenta Biennale in Montreal has released its artist list. In this fall’s edition is a mix of international and Canadian artists, including Victoria Sin, Francis Alÿs and Camille Turner. There are 39 artists in total to be featured. (Canadian Art)