Visual Arts News from the Vancouver Art Gallery Library, June 13, 2013


Vancouver Draw Down erases artistic inhibition. “I can’t draw!” They’re the three words that prevent most people from making art, and the three words that the fourth annual Vancouver Draw Down refuses to accept. “It’s our goal to get people to abandon that worn-out phrase,” explains Marie Lopes, Draw Down coordinator and arts programmer for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s arts and culture department. “It becomes the invisible dividing line between the artist and the nonartist, and we’d like to just erase that phrase.” Georgia Straight, June 12, 2013

Khan Lee's Hearts and Arrows ponders the nature of perfection. Centre A—which is the short name for the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art—has moved. Having vacated its previous, oversize location in a historic building in the Downtown Eastside, opposite Pigeon Park, it has established itself among a bustling row of shops in Chinatown, at 229 East Georgia Street. The new exhibition space is much smaller than the old, but feels friendlier, less intimidating. The historical, architectural, and social conditions have certainly shifted, presenting an entirely different context for the artists showing there. Launching this new incarnation of Centre A is Hearts and Arrows, a durational (actual-time) video with accompanying drawings by Vancouver artist Khan Lee. Georgia Straight, June 7, 2013

The Western Front fetes four influential decades. The Western Front has exerted a large influence on Vancouver’s artistic imagination. Over the years, it has been a pioneering video-production facility; a research lab for the interdisciplinary arts; an incubator for all kinds of musical activity; and the ground from which much of the local dance scene has sprung. All of those aspects of the venue will be celebrated this weekend, when it throws open its doors in celebration of its 40th anniversary—but they’re not, executive director Caitlin Jones stresses, all that should be honoured Georgia Straight, June 13, 2013

Crystal Tongue Defies Analysis in Vancouver. Curated by Amy Kazymerchyk, Crystal Tongue is comprised of five artists—Rebecca Brewer, Vanessa Disler, Tiziana La Melia, Marie-Hélène Tessier and Elizabeth Zvonar—all of whom work in a variety of mediums and, most notably in the case of Disler, are not limited to studio practice. Canadian Art, June 12, 2013

B.C. government provides support for arts grant program. The BC government says it will provide $300,000 to support artsVest, a program designed to help smaller-sized arts groups with fundraising. Coralee Oakes, the newly sworn in minister of community, sport, and cultural development, made the announcement in a release June 11. Georgia Straight, June 11, 2013


Marina Abramovic on theatre as therapy: ‘There is no pain any more’. Who’s cryin’ now? Not the charismatic Marina Abramovic, whose all-accepting God(dess)-like gaze famously made thousands weep three years ago at New York’s Museum of Modern Art as they participated with her in the long-running performance piece she called The Artist is Present.Canadians get the opportunity to experience the source of Abramovic’s catharsis starting Friday evening when Toronto’s Bluma Appel Theatre hosts the North American premiere of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic. Globe & Mail, June 12, 2013

Luminato Hub will feature mirrored ball by Montreal artist Michel de Broin. As of Thursday night, you’ll have no trouble finding the hub of all things Luminato in David Pecaut Square. That’s because a colossal mirror ball, hoisted 50 metres above ground, will be guiding the way, speckling nearby skyscrapers with flecks of light. The ball, which is 7.5 metres in diameter and is made up of 1,000 individual mirrors, is the work of Montreal-based artist Michel de Broin, whose sculptural works throw everyday objects off-kilter into unlikely propositions and spaces. Toronto Star, June 12, 2013

Almost Famous. Shary Boyle’s work has the power to both seduce and repulse. Although her work resonates with Canadians, it is not rooted in Canadian themes. From the outset, her drawing, painting, sculpture, and performance have mined universal realities, such as death, aging, sexuality, pain, injustice, and grief, creating defiant narratives about marginalization and otherness The Walrus, July/August 2013

Bernie Taupin: In Other Words. Following on a large retrospective of his work in Nashville this spring, a collection of Bernie Taupin’s large-scale abstract painting, In Other Words, will be on view at the Liss Gallery in Yorkville, starting Saturday, June 15. Toronto Star, June 12, 2013


Photo exhibit honours laureates. A perhaps under-appreciated aspect of the Governor General's Awards for the Visual and Media Arts is stepping into the spotlight. Martin Lipman's photographs of the annual laureates will be featured in a solo exhibition at SPAO. Ottawa Citizen, June 13, 2013

Museum’s disposal of Nishga Girl boat a “tremendous insult,” Japanese Canadians say. The Canadian Museum of Civilization’s decision to dispose of a wooden gill net boat donated to the museum 15 years ago is “a tremendous insult,” says the president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians. Ottawa Citizen, June 12, 2013


Sobey Art Award: finalists announced. Isabelle Pauwels, Mark Clintberg, Duane Linklater, Pascal Grandmaison, Tamara Henderson are this year’s Sobey Art Award finalists. Toronto Star, June 13, 2013


From the Archives: Ken Lum on Canadian Cultural Policy. Recapping the development of an “official” Canadian culture—and noting the ways it has been drawn in counterpoint to the culture of the United States, particularly in regards to the growth of an artist-run-centre network—Ken Lum’s article (from 1999) provides useful background on debates in our national cultural scene today. Canadian Art, June 11, 2013

San Francisco

Bringing up Bailey: New Chief at FAMSF Colin Bailey talks about his new job as head of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, how museums should use the Web, and what he misses about the Frick. ARTnews, June 13, 2013

Los Angeles

Pixels Floating on the Art World’s Margins “Into the Pixel,” a juried exhibition at the E3 convention in Los Angeles, is a showcase for ambitious digital art drawn from forthcoming video games. New York Times, June 13, 2013


A Start for a 'Neighborhood of Art' in Houston The Menil Collection museum appoints a landscape architect to enhance and expand its campus as part of a bigger plan. New York Times, June 13, 2013

New York

How James Turrell Knocked the Art World Off Its Feet Get ready for a summer of light. Shimmering, disorienting, indescribable light. (Guggenheim Museum,June 21 – September 25, 2013) New York Times, June 13, 2013

The Architecture Critic Who's Making A Difference In New York The New York Times' Michael Kimmelman has "all but dispensed with reviewing buildings, focusing instead on 'who benefits from them and who doesn't.' Architecture, as he defines it, encompasses real estate, zoning, transportation, bike lanes, rising sea levels, affordable housing, and the workings of power--not the least of which his own." New York Magazine, June 7, 2013

Washington, D.C.

Oprah Gives $12 Million To DC Museum "After previously giving $1m (£640,000) to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, her total contribution is its biggest so far. The museum on Washington's National Mall is due to be completed in 2015." BBC, June 13, 2013


Canadians Ship Out to Art Basel. Works by several Canadian artists, including Hugh Scott-Douglas, Rebecca Brewer, Liz Magor, Gareth Moore and Ian Wallace, are being featured at Art Basel in Switzerland this week. The fair opens to the public today. Canadian Art, June 13, 2013


The Connection Between Art Sales And The Venice Biennale "So why are so many dealers unwilling to acknowledge the commercial side of the Venice Biennale, let alone discuss details of sales?" The Art Newspaper, June 12, 2013


Massive Remaking Of The Way China Looks "All over China, planners are busy emptying the countryside of people, leveling villages, and replacing the small-plot agriculture that defined rural parts of the country for millennia with American-style industrial agriculture. Urban areas, meanwhile, have lost most of their distinctive characteristics." New York Review of Books, June 12, 2013