After the Audain Art Museum closed to the public on March 16, its directors, like those of every other institution and business in the resort, had to figure out how to navigate a new reality.
For Curtis Collins, director and chief curator at the museum, part of his new pandemic duties included working with Michael Audain, whose art collection the museum houses, to ensure it would remain safe.
“At one point in our conversation I said, ‘OK Michael, I will personally inspect the collection on a daily basis,'” Collins says. “As a result of that, later that day, I went downstairs with my flashlight and started walking round the permanent collection.”
That’s when he noticed the compelling ring-of-light effect it created around the art.
“I thought, ‘This is a really nice visual,'” he recalls. “I started taking pictures on my phone and fired them off to Justine [Nichol, marketing and communications manager]. She said, ‘These are fantastic Curtis!'”
And with that, the pair hatched a plan for the Flashlight Security Tour. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday they post an image from the permanent collection, encased by a ring of light, and add some information about it, to the museum’s Instagram page.
“It’s a good way for us to have a presence,” Collins says. “They’ve been super popular.”
With its doors shut and its biggest fundraiser—Illuminate Gala & Auction—cancelled, the museum has had to make other adjustments as well. For one, it will move from three special exhibits a year down to two.
“Unlike a lot of museums and galleries, we only receive a very small portion of our funding through government sources,” Collins says. “So we’ve definitely had to make some reductions in staff and the number of exhibitions moving forward too. We’ll be able to tune our exhibition schedule a little more closely to the Whistler year. We’ll have one major winter show and one major summer show.”
(The current exhibition, The Extended Moment: Fifty Years of Collecting Photographs, has been extended to run through the fall.)
But, in the meantime, the museum has come up with a new series that they can host remotely.
Last Tuesday, April 21, they launched a Zoom talk with Ann Thomas, senior curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, as part of the Capture Photography Festival.
“In the lead up to that I thought, ‘Hmm, there’s something to this,'” Collins says.
That resulted in the forthcoming Tuesday Night Talks. Collins lined up three artists who have pieces in the museum’s permanent collection and guests will be able to log onto Zoom to sit in on the conversation. Up first on May 5 is Vancouver photoconceptualist Ian Wallace; on May 12 is multimedia artist Paul Wong; and on May 19 will be Xwalacktun, whose aluminum, laser-cut piece stands at the entrance to the museum.
The talks will start at 8 p.m. and run for about 45 minutes.
“This may be something we continue past the time we reopen,” Collins says. “What it allows us to get is this excellent record of artists discussing very specific works in the collection.”
One other change that could have a lasting impact on the museum, and the Whistler arts community as a whole: more frequent communication and cooperation between the institutions involved in the cultural connector, including the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, the Whistler Public Library, the Whistler Museum, and Arts Whistler.
“I think there will be some good things that come out of the cultural connector, in the sense that I believe as the resort ramps up, cultural tourism will be important,” Collins says. “There’s an opportunity for those institutions to work more closely together and offer a really much thicker, more cohesive cultural package, and wherever we can help each other out, that will happen.”
To register for the Zoom artist talk, stay tuned to the museum’s Instagram (@audainartmuseum) or audainartmuseum.com.
Applications being accepted for public art funding – paNOW
Macleod Campbell explained they are also happy to support public art projects as they help to improve the overall quality of life for people in the city.
“It’s nice to have public art for viewing at this time as well as of course supporting the artist,” she said.
Eligible groups can include a range of organizations from local art groups to private businesses. In order to be eligible, the group has to be working with a professional artist and the piece must be displayed publicly.
There is not a hard deadline for people to apply for funding. Macleod Campbell said applications are subject to approval from the art working committee and city council.
Macleod Campbell explained the city is also working to make people aware of the art which is on display in public spaces around the city, as they have created a public art tour brochure. The document is currently available on the city website and they are looking to get physical copies out into the public.
“That’ll be something as well,” said Macleod Campbell.
On Twitter: @mjhskcdn
Edmonton teen shares love of art with neighbourhood – Global News
Paige Reid is brightening up her Edmonton neighbourhood, one driveway at a time.
The 15-year-old budding artist said chalk art was an easy way to spend less time cooped up in the house.
“It was a way to be outside and still do something I would have done inside anyway. I just wanted to have fun with a new kind of medium,” said Paige.
Before long, her work captured the attention of most of her neighbours in Riverbend.
“I’ve had a lot of kids run up to me and say, ‘Whoa, whoa whoa!’ They’ve been very amazed that I’ve done characters that they recognize.”
Paige soon began to venture out from beyond her own driveway.
“Paige offered to draw a cat on our porch,” said neighbour Shauna Scott. “Every single time someone comes to our door people stop and say, ‘Wow, who did this?’ It gives us a big kick when we open the door.”
The young artist said she doesn’t charge for her drawings, but if someone offers compensation—she’ll use it to buy more chalk.
“People say you can’t put a price on happiness so I don’t want to do that. It’s fun for me. I don’t need a reward for doing something I already want to do,” she said.
Paige’s mom, Cori Reid, said it’s no surprise her daughter spends her day bringing joy to others.
“She’s got a good heart. She’s very kind,” said Reid. “She thinks about other people all the time.”
This neighbourhood Picasso is also helping fill time during long summer days.
“[Because of COVID-19] there’s not a lot for kids to do right now, except for being stuck on the computer and be stuck with school on Zoom, dance class on Zoom. It’s nice to get out and feel productive,” said Reid.
While at the same time, bringing a neighbours a smile, one character at a time.
“I’m very happy I’ve achieved my goal of making other people happy.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Art will suffer if online displays are the norm – Asia Times
Almost 15 years ago, a group of artists, filmmakers, curators and critics came together at the Oberhausen Film Festival in western Germany to discuss the introduction of a new technological medium: YouTube.
How would watching film and video online differ from regular venues such as cinemas or the Oberhausen festival itself, which played an important role in European art-house cinema?
Would films be meaningful in the same way – watched alone, in poor resolution, on a computer – rather than on the big screen by a community that had come together to see them?
“They’re like photocopies,” said the curator, Stuart Comer. Comer, now chief curator for media and performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, argued that while watching videos on YouTube was not the same as watching 35mm film on the big screen, home viewing served a different function, and there was room for both.
It’s interesting to think back to that debate now. Many of the early qualms around online viewership have since been ironed out. The quality of streaming has gotten better. Museums and artists run dedicated channels, instead of the free-for-all of early YouTube days when historical films were often altered – edited, overlaid, given new soundtracks – and passed off as original.
We now know that audiences will watch a film from start to finish. This had been another fear, that without the social contract of buying a ticket and sitting in a cinema space, spectators would dip in and out, catching glimpses rather than following a story.
In 2020, with the Covid-19 lockdown, we are lucky to have YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo and other streaming and sharing platforms, but we should also be grateful that the platforms have been around long enough to generate material made for online consumption.
In most cases, we are now not watching “photocopies” of films transferred to the small screen, but works made for the small screen in the first instance.
It is unclear whether the traditional art world – the one of paintings, installations and sculpture – is now in a transition similar to that of the film industry a decade ago.
Museums are digitizing whole rooms of paintings; commercial galleries and art fairs are hastily constructing online selling platforms; and Google Arts & Culture, a digitization project reaching back to 2011, is being recommended by schools as a lockdown activity.
Will these be seen as photocopies, a temporary fix until the era of social distancing subsides? Or will art organizations, some of which have been buoyed by a stratospheric rise in online audience figures, continue these platforms once lockdowns end?
The answer won’t be driven by fidelity to the experience of seeing work “in the flesh,” but by economics. Museums and galleries will face significant budget shortfalls when they begin to open up, whether because of a curtailment in public funding, reductions in private donations or months of loss of revenue.
Exhibition commitments will come stacked upon one another as postponed shows are folded in among future programing, while works meant to be lent out to one place might be needed elsewhere or back home (or might just be too expensive to ship).
Online exhibitions will most likely persist for some time to fulfill these logistical needs – and they might well continue afterwards as an inexpensive strand of quantifiable audience engagement.
But we shouldn’t be lured into thinking that online engagement is a consequence-free decision. Like most instances of outsourcing to technology, online exhibitions mean job losses: the technicians, the restorers, the authenticators, the shippers, the insurers, the guides and the guards who enable the public showing of precious objects.
These roles support others: the technician might be an emerging artist, the guide a student, while conservators and guards might support families at home. Artworks might be digitizable for those who simply want at look at them, but not for the people who make their living in the trade. The art world hinges on the buying, selling, preserving and showing of material goods.
The economic impact goes beyond the art world. For years the trump card of the arts, when it was making its case for public support, has been its economic multiplier effect. For every £1 spent on the arts by Arts Council England, the government recoups £5 in taxes, the Arts Council found in 2015.
The “Bilbao effect,” pertaining to the economic transformation wrought on the northern Spanish city of Bilbao after Guggenheim Bilbao was established there, has dominated numerous city development strategies in the decades since – including, arguably, that of Abu Dhabi. And the argument continues to be made by international consultants, who show how visitors head to F&B outlets, gift shops and hotels after viewing museum exhibitions –benefits likewise not likely to be recouped digitally.
What the crowd in Oberhausen was concerned about all those years ago was YouTube’s effect on its community of filmmakers, curators and critics. As museums and galleries move to online exhibitions, they need to understand that they are risking much more than the loss of authenticity of experience.
This article was provided by Syndication Bureau, which holds copyright.
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