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Art galleries on the brink as pandemic lays waste to plans – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Barbara Lewis and Will Russell

MUDDLES GREEN, England (Reuters) – This was to have been the year that an art gallery deep in the southern English countryside took the United States by storm with exhibitions of the extraordinary Lee Miller, a 1920s fashion model, surrealist and World War Two photographer.

Filming for a biopic starring Kate Winslet was also meant to have begun at Farleys House in Muddles Green, where the American-born Miller recovered from documenting the horrors of war and entertained guests including Pablo Picasso and fellow surrealist photographer and her former lover Man Ray.

Instead, the pandemic has put almost every plan on hold.

“It’s like a wasteland of tumbleweed,” said Ami Bouhassane, Miller’s granddaughter.

She curates the Miller archive with her father, Antony Penrose, Miller’s son with the surrealist artist Roland Penrose.

COVID-19 has compounded the uncertainty created by Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU), with a transition period ending on Dec. 31. That has left galleries anxious about how complicated it might become to stage shows and transport artworks abroad.

For more than a decade, Farleys House and Gallery has averaged four international exhibitions a year, loaned mostly around Europe, accounting for roughly a third of its revenue. Other income comes from rights relating to the 60,000 negatives in the Miller archive and from visitors to Muddles Green.

This year, it was planning on seven and to expand into the United States as part of a strategy to cope with Brexit. Two have gone ahead – one in Germany, traditionally one of its most important markets, and another in non-EU Switzerland.

A third show, intended for Europe, is being shown instead to Farleys’ trickle of socially-distanced visitors, while the other exhibitions are in storage.

Such problems are shared to varying degrees by art institutions great and small as visitor numbers no longer justify large-scale exhibitions and planning is fraught.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entirety of the arts and culture sector,” said Arts Council England in an email. The body is helping to administer a government 1.57 billion pound ($2.04 billion) Culture Recovery Fund.

London’s Wallace Collection, which includes works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Titian, has also seen a 90% fall in visitors and has deferred exhibitions to next year.

“Financially it doesn’t make sense to do blockbuster shows at the moment,” Xavier Bray, director of the museum, told Reuters.

Commercial revenue from events, a shop and restaurant has dropped by 1.5 million pounds and the museum faces “a massive deficit” this year, Bray said. “Any help is going to be crucial to the survival of institutions like the Wallace Collection.”

($1 = 0.7717 pounds)

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis in Muddles Green and Will Russell in London; additional reporting by Gerhard Mey and Carolyn Cohn,; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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Vernon Community Art Centre holding annual Christmas art sale – Vernon News – Castanet.net

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You will not find any of these gift ideas in a big box store.

The Vernon Community Art Centre is hosting its 15th annual Artsolutely artisan sale full of Christmas gifts.

Sheri Kunzli, with the Arts Council of the North Okanagan, said all of the works are made by local artists and are a one-of-a-kind creation.

The art centre sells art year round, but in December they shut down their programs and dedicate the entire Polson Park building to the art sale that is open seven days a week through Dec. 24.

Works from more than 35 artists are on sale.

Every piece is carefully handcrafted and locally made, and each artisan is selected through a jurying process to ensure the highest quality throughout.

“Everything is hand made, unique quality and all of the artists go through a jurying process to participate which keeps the quality up,” said Kunzli.

“The Arts Centre is one of Vernon’s gems. It’s more than a place to shop, and it is more than an arts education facility. It’s a community space that offers a place for people of all ages and abilities to create, play, laugh, gain skills, release stress, heal and develop friendships. Having to shut down the Arts Centre in the Spring was devastating on many levels.

“As a non-profit, the closure set us back significantly, but it also impacted the hundreds of people that utilize the Centre. We are working hard to keep the doors open because our community needs us. This place tells the stories of why the arts matter to individuals and our community at large. It’s a place that has been a haven for creatives and allowed people to thrive.”

For more information on Artsolutely, click here.

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North Vancouver's Anonymous Art Show identifies safe way to hold exhibition this year – Vancouver Is Awesome

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A well-known annual event where anonymous local artists are encouraged to sell their original works will now feature a buying public who will remain largely unseen as well.

North Van Arts’ 16th annual Anonymous Art Show has moved online this year in order to follow new provincial health orders.

Following a week-long preview, the sales begin tonight (Nov. 26) at 7 p.m. and will continue until Dec. 19 at 5 p.m.

Unlike live performance venues, arts retail spaces and galleries – such as CityScape Community ArtSpace where the show is usually held – are technically allowed to remain open under new COVID-19 restrictions put in place on Nov. 19, as long as no formal community events are held.

While the exhibition is being installed and will remain at CityScape, North Van Arts has opted to essentially suspend its in-person exhibition this year and is instead encouraging the public to check out and purchase the pieces online, according to Nancy Cottingham Powell, executive director at North Van Arts.

“Normally on opening night we would have 300 people going through this gallery. Obviously that’s not going to happen right now,” said Powell. “Viewing it online is really the way to go.”

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Original artwork from 250 emerging and established artists from North and West Vancouver will be up for grabs for $100 apiece. Proceeds from the art show are split between the local artists and North Van Arts, who will use the funds to supports ongoing programming.

The artist behind each painting will remain anonymous until their work is sold and their name is revealed, according to Powell.

“It’s a great test-place for people,” said Powell. “I think it’s an important show because we’ve got the whole community at the table.”

More than 125 would-be art buyers have already registered for the opening night of sales, added Powell.

Click here for more information about this year’s Anonymous Art Show.

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Quebec fights to give Jean-Paul Riopelle's art a proper home – The Globe and Mail

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Les masques by Jean Paul Riopelle, 1964.

Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle

Jean-Paul Riopelle had returned from Europe 12 years before his death in 2002, but Quebec is still fighting to give its modernist art star a proper home. It’s a battle, made tougher by the pandemic, to preserve a precarious cultural legacy, but the artist’s supporters are digging in on two separate fronts.

One is a major exhibition arguing that Riopelle, a painter best remembered for the aggressive abstraction he produced in the 1950s in Paris, was influenced both by the northern landscape and the Indigenous presence in Canada. That ground-breaking show was supposed to be opening this month at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), but COVID-19 closures have delayed it until January at the earliest.

The other front is the recently formed Riopelle Foundation, dedicated to creating a permanent gallery and research centre in time for the artist’s centenary in 2023. With only three years to go, the foundation is still looking for a building after the MMFA announced last week that it is canceling plans to house the project because of the pandemic’s impact on finances.

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Pangnirtung, 1977.

Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle

“I believe the work of Riopelle deserves to be better understood and presented. … His critical stature has shrunk from being an international star to a provincial legend,” Stéphane Aquin, the new MMFA director, said in an interview. Aquin believes restoring Riopelle’s lustre is probably best achieved by the foundation presenting itself as a stand-alone destination in Montreal. At any rate, he is not going to expose his institution to the rapidly rising construction costs of adding a new floor to the museum’s Desmarais Pavilion on the south side of Sherbrooke Street.

“Our attitude is very definitely to move ahead and seek other alternatives, whether to acquire an existing building or build a new one,” said Michael Audain, the Vancouver developer and collector who co-founded the foundation. He was planning to donate his 36 Riopelles to the MMFA’s cancelled project.

The rupture between the foundation and the MMFA is not irreparable, as the museum unveils its new Riopelle exhibition, albeit online only. The artist’s daughter, Yseult Riopelle, who also established the foundation, was present for the show’s media launch Wednesday.

Jean-Paul Riopelle, second from left, on a fishing trip in Quebec, about 1975.

Claude Duthuit /Archives Yseult Riopelle

Author of her father’s catalogue raisonné, she began researching his interest in Indigenous art after his death. “We imbibed that atmosphere,” she said in French, describing the Inuit and Northwest Coast art that surrounded the family during the artist’s Paris years. In 2016, she joined forces with MMFA curators already working on the thesis that Riopelle, who began returning to Canada for hunting trips in the 1970s, was influenced by the idea of the North. And so, Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures came together, originally intended as a run-up to the new Riopelle wing.

That space was the latest of many ambitious expansions – probably too many – undertaken by former MMFA director Nathalie Bondil before she was controversially fired last summer. At Wednesday’s media conference nobody mentioned her name, but the exhibition that includes both historic and contemporary Indigenous art alongside 110 works by Riopelle seems typical of the multidisciplinary and cross-cultural directions she was championing.

The public can see the show online between Dec. 1 and Jan. 11, at which point the MMFA hopes to reopen. A full analysis of the exhibition’s thesis and art is going to have to wait for that physical tour: Riopelle’s best-known work is famous for a sculptural impasto applied with the palette knife rather than the brush.

Yet one goal of both the exhibition and the foundation is to broaden that popular image of wild-man modernism to include Riopelle’s delicate drawings and complex sculptures as well as the later landscapes and iceberg paintings. Audain, an impassioned fan, often speaks about the need to introduce the work to a younger generation across Canada. The show will tour to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, B.C., and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, but so far not to any international venues. Still, in an era when mid-century modernism is trendy and Indigenous art is highly prized, the exhibition might yet fuel a Riopelle revival.

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Meanwhile, the foundation pushes ahead. The Quebec government has promised that the $10-million grant attached to the MMFA’s wing will now follow the foundation to wherever it lands. “Riopelle lived in France for 40 years and returned in the end for the last 12 years,” said foundation director Manon Gauthier. “It’s about bringing a great Canadian hero home to Montreal.”

The Globe has five brand-new arts and lifestyle newsletters: Health & Wellness, Parenting & Relationships, Sightseer, Nestruck on Theatre and What to Watch. Sign up today.

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