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From the Milner's gems to a pair of hosers, 2020 was memorable in public art – Edmonton Journal



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Peter von Tiesenhausen’s artwork Things I Knew to Be True fuses text, books and human lives into one symbol. Photo by Fish Griwkowsky /Postmedia

Outside the EAC’s artworks, you may have also noticed a number of wonderfully interactive sculptures on loan from Vancouver Biennale. Delivered by train and dropped onto 118 Avenue via Arts on the Ave, “on loan” indeed means they’re here for some time and include Cosimo Cavallaro’s Love Your Bean; Wang Shuyang’s The Meeting and Magdalena Abakanowicz’s Walking Figures.

But if there was one piece of art that struck the loudest chord in the city in 2020, it was the return of Bob and Doug in Ritchie Velthuis’ painted bronze tribute of the brothers McKenzie sitting on a bench at 103 Street and 103 Avenue. Clutching a couple stubbies, these two arrived without fanfare in March just as the pandemic hit its stride, and offered huge relief as the city — indeed the world — wondered how bad things would be getting under the shadow of this brain-ruining COVID-19 insecurity.

That these two SCTV hosers showed up to a party no one else could come to — including their actors Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis — actually ended up being such a great punchline. Of course it went down like this after years of planning, it’s Bob and Doug! And as much as this statue honours a very, like, familiar Canadian lifestyle, it’s also worth noting the statue is also, down deep, a tribute to the arts, eh? What did you think TV comedy is, sports? Take off! But it’s such a great addition to the jock district.

Jean Paul Langlois’ mural The Conversation at 6551 111 St. in Parkallen. Photo by Fish Griwkowsky /Postmedia

Three last murals deserve note on our way out, two private commissions, starting with Jean Paul Langlois’ The Conversation over in Parkallen — a thoughtful look at appropriation by the Métis artist — at 6551 111 St. Next is Pete Nguyen’s giant skull on the east side of the Commercial Hotel on Whyte under the banner “Crush beers not dreams,” just in case you thought Bob and Doug were being too greedy with their outdoor suds. Both murals went up in July.

And finally, on the city’s Free Wall along the LRT tracks near 95 Street, AJA Louden’s Seventy Seasons tribute to Joey Moss — temporary as all art on such walls must be, and as all of us are, too.

But see what I mean about it being a memorable year for public art around here? Now bring on 2021’s!

AJA Louden’s tribute to Joey Moss on the Edmonton Free Wall along the LRT tracks near 95 Street and 105 Avenue. Photo by Fish Griwkowsky /Postmedia


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What is art? – The Concordian



Art has long been a disputed form of self-expression. The topic has garnered debate among philosophers, art historians, and artists, and even has an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to its controversiality.

Many jokes and memes have been made around the notion of art’s subjectivity. Books, such as Leo Tolstoy’s What is art? have attempted to answer the question, while Instagram accounts such as freeze_magazine poke fun at and ridicule how absurd the art industry can often be. And you’ve definitely seen the prank where a group of friends placed eyeglasses on the floor of the museum to observe viewers’ reactions and point out how almost anything can be considered art.

This dispute has veered towards problematic for the reason that it ultimately validates an artist’s career. What one might deem to be worth thousands of dollars can be viewed as a piece of old junk to another. We’ve all heard of the stories of someone selling a famous painting for close to nothing in a garage sale, merely because they did not know its “worth.”

So, let’s look at this etymologically. “Art” is derived from the Latin “ars” meaning “acquired skill” or “craft.” In this sense, it is commonly understood that art requires a certain level of skill in order to achieve a desired aesthetic result. Herein lies the problem. “Aesthetic,” like the notion of “beauty,” is inherently subjective.

Dadaism is an ideal example because it, at its core, rejected standard notions of aestheticism and poked fun at art in society. Let’s take, for example, Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades. The acclaimed artist began using and presenting everyday objects as pieces of art. This absurd approach to art-making helped redefine what could be considered art and challenged the idea that art had to be something beautiful and visually appealing. Instead, demonstrating that art could be intellectually appealing.

Constantin Brâncuși’s infamous 1923 work Bird in Space (L’Oiseau dans l’espace) is another prime example of the challenges in defining an object as art. The sculpture faced a number of legal controversies when the artist tried to have it shipped to the United States. Customs officers did not believe that the work was art — art, at the time, was not subject to import taxes — and instead were charged with a 40 per cent tax for “manufactured metal objects.”

According to an article titled Is it Art? published by Harvard Law, after a number of years of legal debate, Brâncuși’s Bird in Space was part of the first court decision stating that “non-representational sculpture could be considered art.” In part, on the basis that the artist intended for the sculpture to resemble the movement of a bird.

Intention brings us back to the eyeglasses meme mentioned earlier. Had the glasses been placed on a coffee table in your home, you wouldn’t have thought much of them. Having been placed on the floor of the gallery, viewers automatically begin to search for a meaning and begin to decipher what they believe the artist’s intention was.

For this reason, art is and will remain subjective. While there may never be one true answer as to what constitutes art, one thing is certain: it is personal, self-informed, and different for everyone. So, what do you consider a work of art?

Graphic by Taylor Reddam

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Art Artprice Global Indices show the strength of Contemporary Art and Drawing in 2020: both segments adapted particularly well to rapid digitization – Canada NewsWire



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thierry Ehrmann, President and Founder of and its Artprice department: “the works that were resold at auction in 2020 generally fetched better prices. Two segments in particular stood out: works on paper (+55%) and Contemporary Art (+48%). However, you have to take into account the method used to calculate our indices and anticipate the fact that they tend to flatten naturally over time“.

Auctions and repeat sales

Auction sales correspond to the visible segment of the Art Market and it’s probably the segment that has best adapted to the consequences of the pandemic by accelerating its switch to an online modus operandi. Artprice’s 2020 of the Art Market Report will soon reveal all the details of this transformation (the publication of our free report is expected in March 2021).

Artprice’s Global Indices are calculated on the basis of a very specific pool of works: lots which have already been sold at public auction. This method of calculation (the repeat-sales method) is considered particularly robust, but it excludes all lots that appear in an auction sale for the first time.

Extraordinary resales

Among the highest value increases recorded in 2020, Artprice was particularly interested in Banksy’s the performance. His acrylic on canvas Weston Super Mare (1999) was acquired for  $16,700 in 2006 at Sotheby’s in London and was resold for $978,000 in October 2020 at Bonhams in London. The gain corresponds to an annual return on investment of 34% over 14 years.

Inversely, a small canvas by Raqib ShawUntitled (2004) – was acquired for $91,000 in 2008 at Sotheby’s New York, but sold for just $8,750 in 2020 at Wright in Chicago.

Between its last two appearances at auction, Joan Mitchell’s diptych La Grande Vallée VII (1983) multiplied in value 44 times, from $330,000 in 1989 to $14.5 million in 2020. Joan Mitchell was in fact the most successful female artist at auction in 2020, but her prices didn’t just soar last year. Taking into account all of her works sold and resold at auction over the years, Artprice estimates that her prices rose 15% over the last twelve months. This increase is added to the over 2000% value accretion calculated by Artprice using the same method between 2000 and 2019 for all of Mitchell’s work.

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About Artmarket: is listed on Eurolist by Euronext Paris, SRD long only and Euroclear: 7478 – Bloomberg: PRC – Reuters: ARTF.

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Artmarket and its Artprice department was founded in 1997 by its CEO, thierry Ehrmann. Artmarket and its Artprice department is controlled by Groupe Serveur, created in 1987.

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Artmarket is a global player in the Art Market with, among other structures, its Artprice department, world leader in the accumulation, management and exploitation of historical and current art market information in databanks containing over 30 million indices and auction results, covering more than 744,000 artists.

Artprice Images® allows unlimited access to the largest Art Market image bank in the world: no less than 180 million digital images of photographs or engraved reproductions of artworks from 1700 to the present day, commented by our art historians.

Artmarket with its Artprice department accumulates data on a permanent basis from 6300 Auction Houses and produces key Art Market information for the main press and media agencies (7,200 publications). Its 4.5 million ‘members log in’ users have access to ads posted by other members, a network that today represents the leading Global Standardized Marketplace® to buy and sell artworks at a fixed or bid price (auctions regulated by paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article L 321.3 of France’s Commercial Code).

Artmarket with its Artprice department, has been awarded the State label “Innovative Company” by the Public Investment Bank (BPI) (for the second time in November 2018 for a new period of 3 years) which is supporting the company in its project to consolidate its position as a global player in the market art.

Artprice by Artmarket’s 2019 Global Art Market Report published in February 2020

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Follow all the Art Market news in real time with Artmarket and its Artprice department on Facebook and Twitter: (4.9 million followers)

Discover the alchemy and universe of Artmarket and its artprice department headquartered at the famous Organe Contemporary Art Museum “The Abode of Chaos” (dixit The New York Times):

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Winter wonderland: A look at snow art across Ottawa – CTV News Ottawa



This past weekend saw the biggest snowfall of the winter in the capital, and it wasn’t just any kind of snow. It was the sticky type, perfect for sculpting everything from snowmen, to dragons to igloos.

And people’s imaginations were running wild.

“We woke up Saturday morning and saw all the snow. The kids ate breakfast and raced outside,” says Ottawa resident Michelle McCombs. “It was the perfect snow for making a snowman.”

But just one or two snowmen weren’t good enough for the McCombs family. More than a dozen snowmen sit on their front lawn, greeting people as they pass.

“People have been stopping by all weekend. It kind of lifts your spirits up,” says McCombs.

Jayson Ambrose wanted to build a giant snowman, but instead built a little Buddha on top of a giant snowball. A perfect accident, he called it.

Jayson Ambrose snow Buddha

“I just kept playing with it and it ended up kinda looking like a little snowy laughing Buddha sitting on top of are giant snowball here,” he said.

Lindsay Hunter and her family needed a place to play checkers outside, so they built themselves what they call their Irish igloo, complete with tables and chairs.

Lindsay and Rosalie Hunter in snow fort

“We’re very tired of being inside all day,” says Hunter, “and when the beautiful snow came, which was the stickiest, best textured snow to make stuff, and on top of that it was warm out, we couldn’t help but spend all day outside.”

Many people around the city took to their yards, spending hours making snowy masterpieces and the talent was off the charts. 

But Daniel Benoit’s castle in Embrun is next level.

“We were doing it during lunch break, and then after dinner with the kids.” says Benoit. “After the kids go to bed, both of us go out and spend some time away from the TV screen or computer screen.”

Daniel Benoit snow castle in Embrun.

The Benoit family had been working on it for two weeks, and with all the snow that fell this past weekend, they were able to finally complete it. But they might not be done just yet.

“My wife was already taking about another tower or something so we’ll see,” says Benoit. 

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