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Art by Emily Carr Faculty Zings Their Own Employer – TheTyee.ca

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Visual artist Jay White considers himself lucky to have secured a tenure-track position at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Now if he can only solve the problem of having to sleep in his car.

Until last fall White spent a decade as a sessional or non-regular instructor at Emily Carr, meaning he had to reapply to teach every semester because non-regular instructors have less job security and lack benefits compared to full-time faculty.

White became an assistant professor last September, and in three years he can start applying for a tenured or permanent faculty position.

But despite the newfound job security and pay increase, White, who rents on Bowen Island with his family, stays in Vancouver and sleeps in his van a couple of nights a week.

“To be able to work the number of hours I work and still have time with my family, I work here quite late,” said White. “And then at least I have my weekends to myself with my family.”

Untenable working conditions are the focus of “The Work of The Work,” the faculty’s first art exhibition since Emily Carr University of Art and Design relocated to the Great Northern Way campus over two years ago. The public exhibit opened Jan. 31 and runs until Feb. 14.

The theme is apt, according to Emily Carr’s faculty association, which says non-regular and permanent faculty alike are all struggling under a high workload and low salary scale. Their last collective agreement expired March 31, 2019, and bargaining has only recently begun.

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‘Shredder Therapy.’
By Alex Phillips.
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‘Building A – Livestock Building,’ 2018.
By Henry Tsang, thermal imaging photograph.

In an emailed statement sent to The Tyee by Emily Carr University communications staff, the university administration said they support faculty’s academic freedom and freedom of expression anywhere, including in on-campus exhibitions:

“Institutional critique has a strong and important history within contemporary art and design practice, and the University wholly supports the right of faculty to participate in that tradition,” the statement read.

“The right of faculty to have an annual show at the university is guaranteed by their collective agreement, as is their right to curate the exhibition without oversight from administration. ECU’s administration is pleased to support faculty exhibitions, including The Work of the Work. These exhibitions permit students a greater depth of insight into their faculty’s creative and professional practices.”

The administration declined any further comment to avoid “bargaining in the media.”

But in “The Work of The Work,” faculty are bargaining through mixed media and the theme is anything but ambiguous, with pieces calling out the university for: an overreliance on non-regular faculty (who teach over 50 per cent of classes); lower pay and higher workload than other Canadian art and design post-secondary; and no studio space or time for their own art practice — the reason, White says, they were hired to teach students in the first place.

“It’s not like a self-serving thing, it’s about what a university does and why people come to a university, is to have people who are doing that work, who are deep into their fields,” said White, who is working on art projects including a graphic novel, in addition to his course work.

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‘La-Mer’s cauche-mar catcher,’ 2017.
Art by Valérie d. Walker. Photo by Katie Hyslop.
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‘Justin Wants A Fight,’ 2018.
Art by George Rammell. Photo by Katie Hyslop.
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‘Sessional Office: Proposal for a new arrangement,’ 2018.
Art by Terra Poirier. Photo by Katie Hyslop.
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(Left) ‘But what to do with all the art?’ 2020. (Right) ‘Dark Star,’ 2019.
Art by Amelia Guimarin and Alexandra Phillips respectively. Photo by Katie Hyslop.
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‘Anatomy of Accidents,’ 2019-20.
Art by Vjeko Sager. Photo by Katie Hyslop.

The art exhibition goes hand in hand with Emily Carr grad Terra Poirier’s 2018 book Non-Regular: Precarious academic labour at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, which used art by Emily Carr non-regular instructors to shine a light on their working conditions.

Non-regular faculty fall into four different categories: lecturer, sessional instructor, adjunct instructor, and artist/designer/scholar in residence. Sessional instructors are teaching 46 per cent of courses in 2019-20, while nine per cent were taught by lecturers, and 45 per cent by regular faculty.

Lecturers do receive some health and welfare benefits, as well as sick leave, vacation pay, and leaves of absence, while Emily Carr communications staff told The Tyee sessional and adjunct instructors receive “some benefits” and a seven per cent pay increase to make up for benefits they don’t receive.

All non-regular instructors have the right of first refusal for teaching a course, provided they have taught it four times consecutively.

But while “The Work of The Work” makes a distinction between the working conditions of non-regular and permanent faculty, the exhibit asserts neither group finds themselves in a tenable situation.

Associate professor Henry Tsang spent 13 years as a non-regular instructor before getting a tenure track position in 2005. He says Emily Carr’s normal teaching load — five studio courses where students work on their art, media and design projects, or four academic courses per semester — is outsized compared to most B.C. universities, which are capped at four courses per semester.

Let alone the three other art and design post-secondaries in Canada. For example, the Ontario College of Art and Design University requires faculty to teach half as much as Emily Carr faculty, and unlike Emily Carr’s faculty, the Ontario College does not require professors to conduct research.

“When you’re spread thin, everything is thin,” he said, adding it is difficult to attract and retain non-regular faculty unless they already live in Vancouver, because the cost of living is too high and the pay — $5,678 per studio course for non-regular faculty — is too low.

“The way that we’re struggling is actually stifling.”

Emily Carr became a special purpose teaching university in 2008, along with Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Vancouver Island University, University of the Fraser Valley and Capilano University.

But the art and design school shouldn’t be compared to those institutions, Tsang and White say, because their faculty have a maximum of four academic courses per semester, don’t teach studio courses, and don’t require studio space for their own work.

Instead they compare Emily Carr to Canada’s three other art and design post-secondaries: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; Ontario College of Art and Design University; and the Alberta University of the Arts. Depending on the institute, faculty salaries can range from 30 to 60 per cent higher than Emily Carr’s, depending on tenure and senority. As of March 31, 2019, Emily Carr’s full-time faculty salaries ranged from almost $57,000 to nearly $91,500.

Individuals typically don’t have the luxury of criticizing their employer in their own workspace, says Sylvia Fuller, a University of British Columbia sociology professor who researches labour and work. Especially if they’re not unionized.

“If there was one individual worker who was speaking out, not in an organized way — say writing on Facebook about how the situation in their company was unfair or their manager was incompetent, they would probably be fired,” she said.

“Individually, of course, speaking out is incredibly risky for workers. So most workers don’t do it.”

But there’s power in numbers, Fuller said, because when unions make noise — like the Justice for Janitors campaign in Canada and the U.S., or the Georgia Hotel strike in Vancouver last year — it draws public attention and opinion. That attention can impact employers’ public reputation, and a heavy-handed response could make things worse.

“Those are some good examples of where workers have banded together and made an issue of really the hypocrisy or the disjuncture of relatively large, powerful, affluent institutions treating their most vulnerable workers really poorly or in ways that they can’t meet their basic needs,” Fuller said.

Like every public institution in the province, Emily Carr faculty are limited to the provincial government’s current bargaining mandate of a three-year contract with two per cent annual salary increases.

That doesn’t limit Emily Carr administration from making changes that don’t cost money, said White, like granting seniority to non-regular faculty. And Tsang noted they aren’t expecting to catch up to their peers at the Ontario College in just one contract.

“If we were to match our peers, that would be a huge leap,” Tsang said. “We just want some step in that direction.”  [Tyee]

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Chapel Hill Art + Transit partners with local artists for LGBTQ+ themed designs – The Daily Tar Heel

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Chapel Hill’s Art + Transit program unveiled a new LGBTQ+ themed bus and bus shelter after partnering with two local queer artists.  

The bus, titled “Can’t Stop Pride,” is a collaboration between Art + Transit and the Town’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group.   

Staff members of the group chose Durham artist Wutang McDougal for the bus’ design, which features LGBTQ+ imagery within a bright color palette. McDougal did not respond to The Daily Tar Heel’s requests for comment.

Raleigh-based installation artist Jane Cheek designed the bus shelter, “We Knew Intersectionality Was the Way Forward,” which features overlapping circles that display the colors of the Progress Pride Flag. 

Including the Pride installation, nine new bus shelters and one art bus now join the more than 30 art installations on local transit infrastructure. Art + Transit,  an initiative led by Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Transit, began its initiative in 2018 to make commutes more vibrant through bus and bus shelter art.

Steve Wright, the public art coordinator for Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, said Art + Transit wanted to focus specifically on LGBTQ+ Pride. 

“For the bus wrap, we definitely knew we wanted to have a wrap themed for Pride,” Wright said.

In their artist statement, McDougal said they wanted to represent pride in Black queerness, the transgender community and queer love through the design. 

Cheek said that while the Town didn’t give specific thematic guidelines for the piece, her focus involved building community and increasing queer visibility.  

“I know for me personally, one of the things that makes me feel welcomed or safe is seeing Pride flags,” Cheek said. “So incorporating that into my work has been kind of a theme recently.”

Brian Litchfield, Chapel Hill’s transit director, said the Art + Transit program centers around enlivening the community, making art more accessible for community members and supporting local artists.  

“This year one of our focuses was on supporting local artists and also providing an opportunity to express our support and values related to the LGBTQIA+ community,” he said. 

The other new bus shelter installations feature varying themes, ranging from Antonio Alanis’ “Sun,” which draws inspiration from Latin American designs, to Sally Gregoire’s “Barning Around in North Carolina,” which is an acknowledgment of the agricultural history of North Carolina, according to her artist statement on the piece.

Collage artist and photographer Sara Roberts said her installation, “Blooms Over Chapel Hill,” was primarily aimed at bringing joy to community members. Roberts said her art is heavily inspired by her time spent in nature while growing up in North Carolina.           

“For this particular installation, I just wanted to capture the bright things in the community,” Roberts said. “I just wanted people to find some light.”  

Her floral design incorporates Chapel Hill landmarks like the Old Well and Varsity Theatre, and each petal features her original photography from the area. 

Roberts said a large part of the project involved giving back to the community in a way that was readily accessible.

“As artists, we love people,” she said. “And the best way we can give back to people is through public art, and I think it’s super, super important.”

Wright said Art + Transit plans to continue its public art initiative in the spring when there will be a new round of bus shelter installations and an additional art bus.       

@taylorbarnhill_

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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Tehran Unveils Western Art Masterpieces Hidden for Decades – Voice of America – VOA News

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Some of the world’s most prized works of contemporary Western art have been unveiled for the first time in decades — in Tehran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric, rails against the influence of the West. Authorities have lashed out at “deviant” artists for “attacking Iran’s revolutionary culture.” And the Islamic Republic has plunged further into confrontation with the United States and Europe as it rapidly accelerates its nuclear program and diplomatic efforts stall.

Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

But contradictions abound in the Iranian capital, where thousands of well-heeled men and hijab-clad women marveled at 19th- and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces on display this summer for the first time at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

On a recent August afternoon, art critics and students were delighted at Marcel Duchamp’s see-through 1915 mural, “The Large Glass,” long interpreted as an exploration of erotic frustration.

They gazed at a rare 4-meter (13-foot) untitled sculpture by American minimalist pioneer Donald Judd and one of Sol Lewitt’s best-known serial pieces, “Open Cube,” among other important works. The Judd sculpture, consisting of a horizontal array of lacquered brass and aluminum panels, is likely worth millions of dollars.

“Setting up a show with such a theme and such works is a bold move that takes a lot of courage,” said Babak Bahari, 62, who was viewing the exhibit of 130 works for the fourth time since it opened in late June. “Even in the West these works are at the heart of discussions and dialogue.”

Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


Visitors look at artworks by the American artist Sol Lewitt while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

The government of Iran’s Western-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his wife, the former Empress Farah Pahlavi, built the museum and acquired the multibillion-dollar collection in the late 1970s, when oil boomed and Western economies stagnated. Upon opening, it showed sensational works by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock and other heavyweights, enhancing Iran’s cultural standing on the world stage.

But just two years later, in 1979, Shiite clerics ousted the shah and packed away the art in the museum’s vault. Some paintings — cubist, surrealist, impressionist, even pop art — sat untouched for decades to avoid offending Islamic values and catering to Western sensibilities.

But during a thaw in Iran’s hard-line politics, the art started to resurface. While Andy Warhol’s paintings of the Pahlavis and some choice nudes are still hidden in the basement, much of the museum’s collection has been brought out to great fanfare as Iran’s cultural restrictions have eased.

Two women visit a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


Two women visit a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

The ongoing exhibit on minimalism, featuring 34 Western artists, has captured particular attention. Over 17,000 people have made the trip since it opened, the museum said — nearly double the footfall of past shows.

Curator Behrang Samadzadegan credits a recent renewed interest in conceptual art, which first shocked audiences in the 1960s by drawing on political themes and taking art out of traditional galleries and into the wider world.

The museum’s spokesperson, Hasan Noferesti, said the size of the crowds coming to the exhibition, which lasts until mid-September, shows the thrill of experiencing long-hidden modern masterpieces.

It also attests to the enduring appetite for art among Iran’s young generation. Over 50% of the country’s roughly 85 million people are under 30 years old.

A visitor looks at artworks by German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.


A visitor looks at artworks by German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher while visiting a 19th and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 2, 2022.

Despite their country’s deepening global isolation, and fears that their already limited social and cultural freedoms may be further curtailed under the hard-line government elected a year ago, young Iranians are increasingly exploring the international art world on social media. New galleries are buzzing. Art and architecture schools are thriving.

“These are good works of art, you don’t want to imitate them,” said Mohammad Shahsavari, a 20-year-old architecture student standing before Lewitt’s cube structure. “Rather, you get inspiration from them.”

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The Lake Country art gallery is selling some absolutely terrible art – Kelowna News – Castanet.net

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It’s your chance to get your hands on what the Lake Country Art Gallery is calling terrible art.

“Most art galleries ask artists to donate a piece of one of their treasured artwork but not us at the Lake Country Art Gallery; we’ve asked for — Terrible, Horrible, Absolutely No Good, Awful Drawings — drawings so bad they’re good,” said the art gallery in a news release.

The art gallery will be hosting a night time picnic fundraiser Wednesday August 17 featuring a variety of art, vendors and music. For $25 you can guarantee yourself a piece of bad art to take home or you can prepare to bid up to $500 for your favourites.

All available artwork will be donated to the art gallery fundraiser from local artists, gallery staff, and members including sketches, paintings, lino prints, etchings, photographs and more.

Your $25 donation gets you a random piece of bad art, but if you want to choose one for yourself you’ll have to be the highest bidder by the end of the event.

The fundraiser kicks off at 5:00 p.m. and runs until 10:00 p.m.

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