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Fur the love of beasties: Edmonton's rich tradition of animals in public art – Edmonton Journal

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The late, great Joe Fafard’s Royal Sweet Diamond (2001) on jasper Avenue.


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Permanent monuments to animals within Edmonton follow a long, long trail, going back to our beginnings.

Animal worship and awe emerges from Palaeolithic times — some of our first depictions of anything were simplifications in paint and chipped stone of the mysterious creatures around us.

Today’s Edmonton is no exception in having our own complicated set of sculptural animal mythologies, carved and cast creatures in wood, stone and bronze — even ice now that it’s winter — all easy to fall in love with. From the Chinese lions at Lucky 97 to the tucked-away beaver in Amiskwaskahegan (Beaver Hills House Park) to the burro downstairs in City Centre Mall, they’re everywhere … once you start looking for them.

What follows is a personal-favourites checklist of animal statues. From granite bears to iron bison to bronze pronghorns — to a landlocked whale at the end of a mall — our ecosystem of animals immortalized in sculptural public art is indeed enviable.


Joe Fafard’s Western Dancer (2004) on Jasper Avenue.

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10. Joe Fafard’s Western Dancer and Royal Sweet Diamond (11214 and 11204 Jasper Ave.) — These two realistically painted heavy-lifters — a horse and a bull — are a reminder of the area’s agricultural roots, the late Fafard’s work appearing cross-country over the years including outside the National Gallery and on a series Canadian stamps. Let’s not forget paskwamostos (1999), his flat bison sculpture out behind Shaw Conference Centre — completing this unofficial triptych.


Olle Holmsten’s Natural History Frieze (1967) at Glenora Building, the former RAM.

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9. Olle Holmsten’s Natural History Frieze (1967, Glenora Building, 12845 102 Ave.) — Basically a big sleepover of wonderful beasties on the east side of the former Royal Alberta Museum, this includes a mammoth, bear and bison. But it’s really the triceratops I’m crushing on here. Back in the ’60s Holmsten was paid $19,500 for this and a Human History frieze on the west side — but every cent of his prize money went to production, and was thus a true labour of love.


Robin Bell’s Open Sea (1985) in West Edmonton Mall.

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8. Robin Bell’s Open Sea (1985, West Edmonton Mall, Phase I, 8882 170 St.) — This would’ve ranked higher in its original spot before a sexy underwear store displaced it, when the whale still lived near the Ice Palace, and more appropriately in a fountain. Still, kudos to WEM for releasing this beloved interactive sculpture before I had to start a #savethewhale media campaign.


John Weaver’s The Pronghorns (1970) — currently hidden away inside the Glenora Building.

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7. John Weaver’s The Pronghorns at Glenora building (1970, 12845 102 Ave.) — Is something still public art if most people can’t actually get to it? The fate of the former Royal Alberta Museum is still unknown, but when asked, officials say so far the plan is to keep this incredible scene within the building (no promises). This one’s a local masterpiece — hope we can all access it again, as cattleman Ian Tyson puts it, someday soon. P.S., Weaver also made the Gretzky Statue.


Mary Anne Barkhouse’s Reign in (ÎNÎW) River Lot 118 Indigenous art park.

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6. Mary Anne Barkhouse’s Reign (2018, (ÎNÎW) River Lot 11) — This whole sculpture park is an incredible addition to the city, but my favourite piece is Barkhouse’s depiction of a hare and fox resting almost back to back. It’s a message of peace atop a band of dinosaur bones — reminding us where we all end up despite our struggles. Brilliant.


Lionel A.J. Thomas’ The Migrants (1957) sits on the east side of City Hall.

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5. Lionel A.J. Thomas’ The Migrants (1957, City Hall, 1 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.) — The outrage over this $16,000 modern sculpture of flying geese far exceeded panic attacks over Talus Dome. It was quickly dubbed Spaghetti Tree by haters, and even inspired a mocking novelty song. But now this gentle beauty sits with quiet dignity on the west side of City Hall, just a hop over from the Gretzky statue.


Earl Muldoe with Chester MacLean and Victor Mowat’s ‘Ksan Totem Pole (1983) at Glenora Building.

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4. Earl Muldoe (Gitxsan Master Carver) with Chester MacLean and Victor Mowat’s ’Ksan Totem Pole (1983, Glenora Building, 12845 102 Ave.) — Carved and raised for Universiade ’83, this red cedar log totem pole features Owl, Bear, Salmon, Raven and Frog (relating to the Gitxsan creation story), and Strong Man. You might remember WUGIE, Universiade’s owl mascot, but I like Owl here a little better — even if it didn’t get its own disco theme song pressed on 45.


Craig LeBlanc’s Henri (2010) won an international art award.

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3. Craig LeBlanc’s Henri at Terwillegar Rec Centre (2011, 15204 23 Ave.): While there are a number of lions around town, this sleeping cat suspended in a net hammock is local artist Craig LeBlanc’s masterpiece, a subtle reminder that for all our running and heavy lifting, resting is as important a part of exercise as pushing it to the limit.


Roy Leadbeater’s 1968 Rod of Asclepius at U of A Hospital is technically untitled.

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2. Roy Leadbeater’s Untitled (1968, 112 Street entrance, University of Alberta Hospital, 8440 112 St.) — This heavy-metal party snake used to hang over at the Faculty of Medicine, its double helix, exploding Maple Leaf and hissing mouth making it look like a logo for an Marvel-movie evil corporation. Rediscovering this evocative Rod of Asclepius over at U of A Hospital was pure pleasure.


One half of Brandon Vickerd’s two-statue Wildlife (2015) at 10234 96 St.

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1. Brandon Vickerd’s Wildlife (2015, 10234 96 St.) — Philosophically, there’s just so much going on with these two humanoid figures made up of animals, hanging around day and night in the Quarters. Cast in bronze, Vickerd used taxidermy animals as models for his final sculptures, and they really do comment on how urban environments are an ever-rotating system of displacement for all animals, including us.

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Inglewood home of limited augmented reality art exhibition – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
Local artists will be bringing their works to augmented reality in the windows of businesses in Inglewood during a limited six-week exhibition. 

Northern Reflections is four years running and is an augmented reality exhibition that will feature 11 teams of artists celebrating the power that music, art and business have.

It will run from Jan. 21 through Feb 25.

“It brings business, it brings activation to a neighborhood, this is super COVID safe and it’s also making people think maybe what the future of art is and what that means in terms of participation and engagement,” said Maud Collective creative festival producer, Kevin Jesuino.

Maud

Rebecca O’Brien, executive director of the Inglewood Business Improvement Area (BIA) was excited to bring this exhibit to the Inglewood community.

“I was like yes, this makes total sense because one of the main roles of the BIA is to bring vibrancy to the main street which is very challenging during a pandemic,” said O’Brien.

The exhibit will showcase the works of painters, animators and there will be murals paired with music produced by local and international entertainers.

“People can walk up and down the street, check out the murals, see the magic of the augmented reality but at the same time listen to this music that’s made by local musicians,” Jesuino said.

This is the first time the art will all be held within the one community for viewing.

“You can do a walk and see all 10, all 11 murals in one go, within 40 minutes you can see them all,” said Jesuino. 

Uii Savage, an emerging artist in Calgary did the animating art for the exhibition.

Augmented art

“I’m really pleasantly happy with it, this is my first-time being part of the festival, so I am someone who works alone, I don’t really work collaboratively but this was a really great experience to work with other people,” Savage said.

Savage created 3D hands that reach out from the branches of the mural and coming together to hold each other which brings attention to the importance of human contact and how it’s missed during the pandemic.

Inglewood resident Dawn Warner was highly impressed by the artistry on display.

“It was just amazing, I’ve never seen anything like that in a picture in my life, like a bunch of hands were moving coming in to the picture, it was really cool,” said Warner.

Participants can download the free Augle app onto their phones to get involved with the interactive element of the exhibit.

The Northern Reflections exhibition is a part of a large winter art festival, Chinook Blast, taking place throughout the city from Feb. 11-28.

With files from Ty Rothermal

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Art Beat: Rogue Arts Festival goes virtual on Saturday – Coast Reporter

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The music and cultural gathering that is the Rogue Arts Festival was among the many arts cancellations last summer, thanks to the pandemic. But the funkiest annual festival on the Coast is bringing last summer’s planned lineup of acts back for a mini-fest this weekend, online. “We are thrilled to be able to showcase a diverse sampling of 2020 Rogue Fest artists while remembering the volunteers, vendors, staff and supporters that have made us who we are today,” Rogue Fest said in a Facebook post. On Saturday, Jan. 23, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. you can catch Bits of String, Disco Funeral, Parlour Panther, Sadé Awele, Sarah Noni, Stephen Hamm, and Tetrahedron. “Hosted by the ever-awesome Ndidi Cascade.” Go to roguefest.ca for details on the performers and information on how to link up on Saturday afternoon.

Tracing Footsteps

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Also online this weekend is an opening reception, art exhibit, and meet-the-artist session all in one. On Sunday, Jan. 24, Sechelt artist Lynda Manson presents Tracing Footsteps, a collection of paintings based on sketches by her uncle, Bruce Black, who was killed in action in the Second World War. Manson will show Black’s sketches made while he was off-duty in the U.K., her re-imagined and elaborated takes on them, plus other works related to the theme. Proceeds from the exhibition will go to the bursary fund of the Sunshine Coast branch of the Canadian Federation of University Women. Tickets are $10 at eventbrite.ca or at cfuwsc.org.

Arts grants

The pandemic has been just as hard on the arts community as other parts of the community and economy since early 2020, so the B.C. government has come up with a new grant program to help out. “Together with the arts sector, we are working hard to make sure that dancers, writers, painters and other artists can continue being resilient and finding innovative ways to keep creating through COVID-19,” B.C. Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Melanie Mark said in a news release. The ministry has created a new, $500,000 Pivot for Individuals program through the BC Arts Council. B.C. residents can apply for up to $12,000 to learn new skills or adapt their practices. The program is available to professional artists and cultural workers, including: dancers and choreographers; visual artists; writers; actors; multi-media artists; and arts administrators. To learn more, go to bcartscouncil.ca and follow the links.

Due to the pandemic, all listed live events are subject to change. Check ahead. Space is limited in Art Beat but please let us know about your events at arts@coastreporter.net

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President Biden Picks Oval Office Art, Inauguration Spotlights Paintings, and More: Morning Links from January 21, 2021 – ARTnews

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To receive Morning Links in your inbox every weekday, sign up for our Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter.

The Headlines

PERFORMERS WERE THE STARS OF YESTERDAY’S INAUGURAL ACTIVITIES, with singers like Lady GagaJon Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen participating in the celebration of President Biden and Vice President Harris, and poet Amanda Gorman delivering an address that stole the show, but visual art is playing a symbolic role in the transition of power, as well. Washington Post reporter Annie Linskey and photographer Bill O’Leary got a look inside Biden’s Oval Office, and found that a portrait of Benjamin Franklin had taken the place of one of President Andrew Jackson (a favorite of President Trump). The presence of Franklin, who was an inventor, writer, scientist, and more (really a jack of all trades), is “intended to represent Biden’s interest in following science,” Linskey writes. Also present: busts of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, a moon rock, and a 1917 Childe Hassam flag painting that President Obama also displayed in the office. (Trump had it on view for a stretch, but eventually removed it.) As it happens, historian Jon Meacham, who’s known to have Biden’s ear, used another Hassam for the cover of his 2018 book, The Soul of America.

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PRESIDENTS CAN BORROW ART FROM THE SMITHSONIAN TO DECORATE the White House, as Smithsonian magazine detailed in 2009. Obama’s picks included pieces by Ed Ruscha and Glenn Ligon. It’s not known yet what the Bidens may have picked, but Alex Greenberger reported in ARTnews that First Lady Jill Biden did help select a landscape by the pioneering Black painter Robert Duncanson to serve as the official painting of the inaugural. The work is owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C., and its inclusion signals “a new administration with an insightful understanding of art’s potential power,” Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight writes in a column. It was not the only painting getting some special attention. Olaf Seltzer ’s 1927  painting Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea at the Great Falls of the Missouri, 1804 was printed in the inaugural’s official program, Tulsa World reports. It’s in the collection of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, and was just put on view yesterday in an exhibition called “Americans All!”

The Digest

One last Inauguration-related item: street artist Adrian Wilson was responsible for transforming a New York subway sign at 46th Street in Queens to read “46th Joe”—an image that spread quickly around the world. [Gothamist]

Collector Roberto Polo, a “financier whose roller-coaster career included a major art fraud scandal that landed him in prison,” is showcasing his holdings in new art spaces in Toledo, Spain, Raphael Minder reports. [The New York Times]

Australian artist Adrian Jones has died at the age of 63. The cause was pancreatic cancer. [ArtAsiaPacific]

Ruben Suykerbuyk has been tapped by the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to be its new curator of Old Masters . . . [Press Release]

. . . and collectors Laurens Vancrevel and Frida de Jong have donated a number of Surrealist paintings and publications to the museum. [The Art Newspaper]

The Hyundai automobile company is partnering with the digital-art group Rhizome on a series of projects, online and off. [Aju Business Daily]

Canon has launched a website that allows users to take photographs of space via satellite technology. [Hong Kong Tatler]

Since many art museums are closed in the United Kingdom amid lockdown restrictionsThe Guardian is taking a tour of their collections in a series of articles. Today’s focuses on a Rose Wylie work. [The Guardian]

The New York home that artist Sarah Sze shares with her family is stocked with art by Kara Walker, Richard Serra, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and many more. [Architectural Digest]

Musician and artist John Lurie is the subject of a new show, which “is like an apprenticeship with a crotchety bohemian Yoda,” James Poniewozik writes. [The New York Times]

Curator Robert Storr has a new compilation of essays out—and he is as pugnacious as ever in a new interview. [Artnet News]

The Kicker

Hong Kong–based artist Phoebe Hui Fong-wah has been working on a new project with curator Kwok Ying that has involved collaborating with NASA. Sadly, though, just when she was about to see moon dust at one of NASA’s buildings in Houston—she was in her hotel room there!—officials told her not to come, citing coronavirus precautions. “I basically refused to leave until Ying convinced me to fly back,” she tells the South China Morning Post. “I didn’t want to bullshit. I wanted to see moon dust myself. I was gutted. But, of course, we managed in the end with Zoom and emails.” [South China Morning Post]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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