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In Conversation With French Art Gallery Owner, Nathalie Obadia – Forbes

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Nathalie Obadia, founder of her eponymous gallery with spaces in Paris and Brussels representing artists such as Fiona Rae, Laure Prouvost, Benoît Maire, Valérie Belin, Fabrice Hyber, Roland Flexner, Lorna Simpson, Sarkis, Manuel Ocampo, Wang Keping and Xu Zhen, discusses the pros and cons of online art fairs.

During the age of COVID-19, do you believe we’ll see more online art fairs worldwide in the future?

Online fairs were very important last year, but we already feel a weariness. Collectors do not visit all online viewing rooms. Some collectors said they are already tired of it. Since the ’60s, fairs and their success rely on the possibility to gather galleries, collectors, curators, press and artists. Nothing will change the physical perception of a work and meeting all the different actors of the art world. If in 2021, international art fairs cannot be organized, there will be less online visits. Nevertheless, it will strengthen local business in galleries in New York, Paris and London.

How has the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns worldwide affected the way in which you support your artists, collectors, curators and visitors, instituting new online content?

Until now and since March, we are lucky as this period went well. We sold several artworks online and at the gallery thanks to loyal collectors. We will have to adapt to a longer, and therefore structural change: less travels, less art fairs, less exhibitions of non-European artists, as they cannot come to France. We will focus on artists living in Europe.

What was the percentage of your online sales in 2019 versus 2020?

Our online sales grew by 30 % in 2020 compared to 2019.

Will you continue to participate in as many art fairs as before (whether physical or digital), or reduce the number?

Of course we will participate in fewer art fairs in 2021, as fewer art fairs will occur. Nevertheless, we will work on the French and Belgian markets, which are stronger than people are used to admitting. We will participate in international and strategic art fairs if they aren’t canceled, such as Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Basel Miami and more. Moreover, we will participate for the first time at Asia Now, which is a small and specialized fair in Paris that takes place the same week as FIAC contemporary art fair. 

Why did you decide to participate in the physical edition of Art Paris 2020 last September, after the fair had been postponed then canceled?

Nothing will replace a meeting at a booth and a collector looking at an artwork. Nothing replaces an exchange, a spontaneous discussion in front of a work or around art. It is also an opportunity to meet many people that we have not seen for months. We were very happy about Art Paris, which was a test. We learned to work wearing a mask for 10 hours and to recognize our collectors despite that. We concluded more than 20 sales, mostly to French collectors. That is a good sign and means that we have collectors in France despite what we usually hear. A third of our sales were made to new collectors. 

How has your vision of the future of the art world changed? Does COVID-19 spell the end of massive physical art fairs, or do you believe that they will be able to survive now and in the future and remain relevant?

Already before the pandemic, there was a sign of the system of fairs running out of steam: too many, too large. On one hand, we saw the big global international fairs like the three Art Basels, the three Friezes and the FIAC being organized, and already the energies of some of these big fairs were starting to run out because too many exhibitors put forward globalized international art. On the other hand, smaller boutique fairs like Art Genève, or more specialized like African art in 1-54, are becoming more interesting and will now perhaps be those that will be possible to organize and that will have more visitors.

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Admiral Art McDonald steps aside as defence chief amid investigation – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Admiral Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped down as chief of the defence staff as he is investigated on unspecific allegations.

Sajjan says in a release that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is doing the investigation.

Sajjan says he takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and continues to take strong action on any allegation of misconduct that is brought forward “no matter the rank, no matter the position.”

Sajjan says as of Wednesday he has appointed Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre as acting chief of the defence staff.

He says he will have no further comment at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Military investigators are probing allegations of sexual misconduct against Eyre’s predecessor, Gen. Jonathan Vance.

More to come.

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Canada's top military commander Art McDonald steps aside after investigation launched into misconduct – CBC.ca

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Canada’s new top military commander Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped aside as he is investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service on unspecified misconduct allegations.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan posted a statement online at just after 11 p.m. Wednesday stating he was informed of the situation and takes allegations of misconduct seriously.

“As I have stated, I take all allegations of misconduct seriously and continue to take strong action on any allegation of misconduct that is brought forward,” wrote Sajjan in a statement. “No matter the rank, no matter the position.”

Sajjan did not reveal the details of the allegations and said he will not comment further because the investigation is ongoing.

He has appointed Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre as acting chief of the defence staff. Lt-Gen. Eyre is currently the commander of the army. 

This latest development comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding the former chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance, who is also under investigation by the military’s National Investigation Service after allegations — first reported by Global News — that Vance had an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate. 

McDonald appointed in December 

The investigation is looking into whether the former top military commander violated the code of service discipline or any laws were broken. 

McDonald was appointed to the role on Dec. 23, and he assumed command on Jan. 14, marking the official transfer of command of the Canadian Armed Forces from Vance to McDonald.

McDonald apologized earlier this month after a public backlash erupted when he posted a photo online about the importance of diversity. However, the photo depicted eight white, male colleagues sitting around a conference table with one woman on a screen in the background. 

“It’s true: the leadership of the CAF is, and historically has been, predominantly male and white. That needs to change,” McDonald tweeted.

“We need to reflect Canada’s diversity at all levels. We must work to eliminate systemic racism and dismantle the barriers to career advancement that exist. We are there in mindset but know there is still a lot of work to do, and we are committed to doing it.”

McDonald commanded the Royal Canadian Navy from 2019 to 2021.

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Sci-fi exhibition opening at Richmond Art Gallery in April – Richmond News

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Richmond Art Gallery (RAG) is partnering with Richmond-based Cinevolution Media Arts Society for a sci-fi exhibition on the ideas of intimacy, presence and cultural memories.

The exhibition titled Union, created by Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber, will headline Cinevolution Media Arts Society’s annual flagship event, Digital Carnival Z starting April. 24.

The exhibit takes place in the year 3000, when the nation state has collapsed and physical contact and living spaces have been affected by a viral air pollutant.

Union is about two beings discovering their ancestral memories through the longing for touch and rituals practiced in their post-apocalyptic wedding ceremony,” reads the event’s website.

According to the RAG, the exhibit will feature an extended reality component – real and virtual environments generated by computer technology – as well as a performance, sculptures and sound and video installations.

“Drawing on parallels between our world and the speculative future while working through the artists’ diasporic identifies, Union is a potent critique of modern surveillance capitalism, but also a gesture towards hope through the generative possibilities of intimacy, performativity and presence,” says the RAG exhibition page.

Union will be exhibited at the art gallery from April 24 to June 5.

For more information, visit RichmondArtGallery.com

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