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'I'm not here to defend art': Third-party plans progress for Calgary public art – LiveWire Calgary



This abstract sculpture by Katie Ohe commemorates the first settlers in the area now known as Bankview. BRODIE THOMAS / For LiveWire Calgary

It started as an update on Calgary’s work towards a third-party public art body.

It turned into yet another debate about the merits of Calgary public art itself.

Councillors received an update during Wednesday’s Community and Protective Services committee meeting on the transition to an arms-length group to handle the city’s public art programming.

Jennifer Thompson, the City of Calgary’s manager of arts and culture said they were hoping to complete their efforts to do so by June. The pandemic put the squeeze on that.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we’ve had to adjust our timelines pretty significantly,” she told committee members.

Thompson said they’re mindful of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Calgary’s arts and culture sector.

“This time on has been created, again, trying to balance the impact of the art sector and potential bidders while working quickly to get individuals back to work and grow our local creative economy,” she said.

One of the challenges Thompson said is getting feedback from as many stakeholders as possible. There’s been some concern in the arts community that the external model isn’t the ideal path forward.

Thompson said they hope to be able to come back to council with an update and the final external public art proposal selected.

The update, though without specific recommendation, was received as information by a vote of 5-3.

‘What’s the value proposition?’

The direction to go down the road of an external operator of the city’s public art program was determined in November 2019.  Thompson provided an update on that work.

During the update, the question of available and future funding came up from Coun. Jeromy Farkas.

Coun. Farkas asked about the current accounts of Calgary’s public art program and how it would be funded in the future.

Thompson said the current one percent (of infrastructure spend) policy would be maintained.

(It’s one per cent for the portion up to $50 million and 0.5 per cent for the portion over $50 million. It’s capped at a total of $4 million for each capital project.)

Coun. Farkas questioned how much higher Calgarians’ utility rates are because of funding the public art program. Then he went into protecting emergency services.

“At a time when council’s cut fire and police budgets, can you speak please to the value proposition? How do you defend the spending time, money and effort on this?” Coun. Farkas asked.

He later said it was impossible to defend expending resources on this to constituents.

Thompson responded.

Jennifer Thompson, acting manager for arts and culture at the City of Calgary.

Calgary wants to be beautiful

Coun. Evan Woolley closed debate with an anecdote about he and Coun. Joe Magliocca having a conversation when they were first elected and conversations were surrounding the Giant Blue Ring along Deerfoot Trail and 96 Avenue.

Oil prices were high. Times were good, Coun. Woolley noted.

Woolley said at the time they were building the Rocky Ridge recreation facility, “which is just one of the cornerstone beautiful pieces of architecture in the north.”

“And I remember saying to Joe… ‘so should we reduce the architecture and the costs in building this beautiful building and just put up a box?,’” Woolley said.

“The answer, of course, and obviously was no we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t, because building a beautiful city is important to Calgarians.”

Earlier in the presentation, Thompson noted that creative industries in Calgary provided jobs for 24,000 people with $1.6 billion in labour income. It also contributed $2.1 billion directly to Calgary’s GDP.

That information is contained in a Conference Board of Canada report from 2019.

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Hamilton-born Kapwani Kiwanga wins France's top art prize for Flowers for Africa installation – The Globe and Mail



Kapwani Kiwanga’s installation Flowers for Africa: Union for South Africa at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg, 2017.


A Canadian expat has won France’s top art prize. Kapwani Kiwanga, who lives in Paris, won the Prix Marcel Duchamp Monday.

Kiwanga, who was born in Hamilton and grew up in nearby Brantford, studied anthropology at McGill University in Montreal before establishing herself as a visual artist in France. Her work in installation, video, photography and sound art begins with documentary research and explores issues of society, place and colonialism.

Kapwani Kiwanga.


She won Canada’s $100,000 Sobey Art Prize in 2018 with a large installation that evoked the walls of prisons and hospitals. Her contribution to the Duchamp Prize exhibition is an installation entitled Flowers for Africa, a continuing project she began during a residency in Senegal in 2013. It evokes key moments in the history of African independence by recreating the floral bouquets that were placed on parade-viewing platforms or negotiating tables during diplomatic and national ceremonies.

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The Prix Marcel Duchamp was established in 2000 by the Association for the international diffusion of French art to identify the leading artists of the new generation in France and give them international exposure. Finalists are selected through a vote by the association’s members before a winner is chosen by an international jury.

The winner is awarded €35,000 (about $54,000), and several exhibition and professional development opportunities including participating in the group show dedicated to the four finalists at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This year, the other finalists included Alice Anderson, Hicham Berrada and Enrique Ramirez. All four artists’ work is on display at the Centre Pompidou until Jan. 4 while an exhibition of previous laureates is touring France to mark the prize’s 20th anniversary.

Find out what’s new on Canadian stages from Globe theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck in the weekly Nestruck on Theatre newsletter. Sign up today.

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Artprice by Condition of the Street Art market worldwide – Canada NewsWire



Street Art is a truly universal art that can be found everywhere – from Rio to Berlin – and whose place is changing very rapidly on the Art Market,” observes thierry Ehrmann, President and Founder of and its Artprice department. “It’s a market that took 15 years to consolidate and is at last reaching maturity. It now constitutes a segment in its own right, with its stars and its masterpieces… but also numerous editions, some more important than others… some more affordable than others.

Works ‘in circulation’

Street Art is by nature a work created in an urban environment. As soon as it leaves the street to be exhibited in a gallery or exchanged in an auction room, it necessarily loses a great deal of its essence. That said, there is quite clearly a fully fledged and dynamic Street Art market.

The development of the market for Street Art seems to have learnt a lot from a number of other relatively recent art movements (Land Art for example). Street artists can record their interventions in public spaces with photography; they can also make small works or drawings or screenprints based on original street creations, or they can create a second body of paintings and original sculptures alongside their outdoor work. All of these ‘derivatives’ are now changing hands and lots end up in auction rooms… now forming a genuinely ‘deep’ market.

The 4 pillars of the market

Jean-Michel Basquiat left his mark on the streets of New York at the start of the 1980s, but did he remain a street artist all of his (short) life? Are his paintings and his drawings – worth millions of dollars – still part of Urban Art? In 2019, works by Jean-Michel Basquiat generated $130 million on the secondary market and those by Keith Haring totalled $42 million. These two major Contemporary artists remain generally associated with Street Art… but they are not in fact catalogued as such.

A similar ambiguity seems to apply to the more recent mega-phenomenon Kaws ($108 million in 2019) who has gradually moved away from his initial practice of Street Art over the course of his career. His paintings and sculptures, offered for sale by the most powerful Contemporary art galleries, have seduced a broad international market, particularly in Asia.

Flowing somewhat ironically against this trend there is of course the anonymous artist Banksy ($28 million in 2019) who voluntarily maintains his presence in urban spaces around the world.

15 years to create a structured market…

Nobody epitomises the rapid evolution of the Street Art market more than Banksy with his auction track record:

  • His first paintings were sold at auction in 2005
  • His auction turnover peaked just before the subprime crisis
  • 10 years of more or less regular turnover growth between 2010 and 2019
  • Exceptional resilience to the coronavirus crisis

With Banksy, the Street Art movement has undoubtedly found its figurehead and in the wake of the ‘Banksy phenomenon’, a whole market has emerged with three names that have become unavoidable: the French artist Invader ($4 million in 2019), the English artist Stik ($1 million) and the American artist Obey ($1 million), the latter who, alone, sold more than 700 lots at auction in 2019.

A dozen other street artists generate several tens of thousand of dollars a year each: Jonone, Mr Brainwash, Futura 2000, Vhils, JR, etc. But the markets of the bulk of street artists are still fragile. This is true even of relatively established artists like Ernest Pignon-Ernest, whose turnover usually averages around $50,000 per year.

Specialized sessions

In February 2008, Bonhams organized the first auction sale dedicated to Street Art in London. Soon afterwards, Phillips also offered a Contemporary & Urban Art session. But the subprime crisis and its repercussions halted the development of these sessions, and they were dropped by Phillips in 2009 and by Bonhams in 2013.

Artcurial also started its Urban Art sales in 2008 … and never abandoned them. The leading French auction house, which organized four Street Art sessions in 2019, now clearly dominates this niche market. In 2009, dedicated Street Art sales generated $10 million from 3,000 lots in auctions scattered between Europe and the USA: Digard and Cornette de Saint-Cyr in Paris, Tate Ward in London, Heritage in Dallas and Julien in Los Angeles.

An exciting market

Christie’s and Sotheby’s prefer to offer Street Art works in their catalogues, especially those of their most prestigious sales. In July 2020, Sotheby’s sold Banksy’s triptych Mediterranean Sea View (2017) for $2.9 million in an extraordinary sale entitled Rembrandt to Richter. Surrounded by such respected signatures, Banksy’s work was bound to elicit strong bidding.

Indeed, the sale of any Banksy work at a physical auction will always arouse interest since his Girl with Balloon (2006) self-destructed in 2018. In February 2020 at Artcurial, Raising the steaks (2001) – a photograph taken by Steve Lazarides but framed by Banksy himself –  reached $84,500. It was not impossible that Banksy had hidden another surprise in the work, which was duly accompanied by his PEST Control (certificate of authentication issued by the artist himself). 

Contact Artprice’s Econometrics Department for your questions relating to our indices and statistics, as well as for our Personalized Study Services: [email protected]

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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 740,000 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.

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There's an art behind these moves – Truck News



MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Musket Transport proved its capability in handling delicate shipments when it partnered with Blackwood Gallery to stage the 2018 art show, The Work of Wind: Air, Land, Sea.

The show was designed to raise awareness about climate change.

This year, the company is once again collaborating with the University of Toronto Mississauga’s (UTM) contemporary art centre to host another festival using the same installations, said Sophia Sniegowski, corporate communications officer at Musket.

The artworks require meticulous handling. (Photo: Musket)

She said the company will transport the artworks to the UTM campus, where the gallery plans to set up a temporary public art program that will run until fall 2023.

But moving the stuff from the artists’ workshops or storage to the site is not an easy task.

“There’s a lot of preparation in advance of moving these goods, particularly due to the type of art installations. They are large,” Sniegowski said.

Each installation requires meticulous handling, she said.

“They are transported in pieces and then reassembled on site. So, that’s how that would work.”

Blackwood has yet to announce an opening date for the exhibit.

Musket art move
Last fall, Musket transported Futurity Island to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. (Photo: Musket)

Last fall, Musket transported Futurity Island, a structure conceptualized as a space for acoustic experimentation, from its container terminal to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass.

“It was different because we actually utilized a trailer as opposed to a container due to the size and material,” Sniegowski said.

The installation was later brought back from MIT, and had been in storage until three weeks ago when Musket moved it to the UTM campus, she said. The cargo has yet to be unloaded because of delays caused by Covid-19.

Sniegowski said Musket is happy to support the Blackwood project.

“As a company, we prioritize community projects as well as the environment. This particular partnership crossed over into both areas,” she said.

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