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In soup vs. art, climate change protesters lose, says activist

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As It Happens7:05Attacking paintings with soup isn’t an effective way to fight climate change, says activist

Hurling soup or some sort of damaging food at famous paintings has a become a popular trend among climate activists hoping for a brighter future, but Lucy Whelan says those demonstrations aren’t actually having the impact those activists would hope.

“It’s a kind of spectacle and nothing has really been harmed,” Whelan, a climate activist herself, told Nil Köksal on As It Happens. “The problem with climate change right now is that so many people know it’s scary, but we’re quite complacent.”

In October, protesters Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland made headlines by throwing soup on Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers in London’s National Gallery. But the soup caused no discernible damage to the glass-covered painting.

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In an interview with As It Happens in October, Plummer said that the action she and Holland took was necessary in the shadow of the climate crises.

“Right now, there’s 33 million people displaced by floods in Pakistan. Thousands of people are dying of starvation in Somalia due to extreme famine from crop failure,” said Plummer.

This photo from Italian news agency Ansa, shows climate activists from Last Generation and a security guard by The Sower, an 1888 painting by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, after activists threw pea soup at it on Nov. 4. (ANSA/AFP/Getty Images)

“And it took two young people throwing soup at a painting to get more people talking about the climate crisis, [more than] the millions of lives have been destroyed by climate disasters.”

When Whelan first saw what Plummer and Holland had done, she was shocked. But she says, while she wholeheartedly agrees with the intention behind the protest, she feels it’s a lose-lose scenario.

“Either the soup or the acidic liquid that’s chosen is actually going to damage the artworks, in which case, I think that’s the tragedy. It makes the protesters look like hooligans who are not interested in preserving things for the future, which they obviously are,” said Whelan.

“Or it’s not going to damage the work … then what we have is something that looks shocking, but actually it just makes us all go, ‘Oh, it’s fine,’ …[which] is exactly the kind of thinking that we need to stop being quite so good at.”

Making a difference

Other famous pieces of art have been hit as well. In late October, mashed potatoes were chucked Claude Monet’s painting Les Meules, and someone smashed chocolate cake on a waxwork figure of King Charles.

In Canada, protesters with Stop Fracking Around, a group demanding an end to the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project, poured maple syrup onto Emily Carr’s 1934 painting Stumps and Sky at the Vancouver Art Gallery on November 12.

“Her painting Stumps and Sky … is a lament of ecological destruction and her art actually paid attention to Indigenous peoples. She cared about all that binds us to the world. She seemed just the wrong person,” said Whelan.

Protesters said they chose the painting because the fallen trees depicted the kind of environmental destruction they are trying to prevent. But Whelan says that instead, protesters should be more thoughtful about the pieces they target.

This photo provided to media from the group Stop Fracking Around shows Erin Fletcher, left, and Emily Kelsall, right, in front of the Emily Carr painting ‘Stumps and Sky,’ at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday, Nov. 12. (Stop Fracking Around)

“At least think about making some seriously disruptive attacks on art that celebrates consumption and economic growth,” said Whelan.

“I think we need to be more thoughtful, not more art historical, about about what is the target of activism.”

Whelan says she is on the protesters’ side. As a climate activist herself, she’s tried to make meaningful changes and taken part in protests.

She’s spoken to her local politicians in Cambridge, England, and talked with neighbours about how they can do things differently to protect the environment.

“There will be so many people watching attacks like this saying, ‘oh, I support action on climate change. I really do. But just not this not attacks on art.’ And I would encourage anyone who says that to make that real, to translate that into action,” said Whelan.

“If you do support action on climate change, [and] you don’t want to see it like this, contact your counselors, do something you do approve of. Walk the talk.”


Produced by Kate Swoger.

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Football and art come together in the first NFT exhibition of its kind

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–  The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s From Strike to Stroke exhibit features 64 FIFA World Cup match results in a unique man-machine collaboration

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 6, 2022 /CNW/ — The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) celebrates the art of the beautiful game in a unique exhibition at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. From Strike to Stroke features 64 NFTs by 32 artists from the competing nations, while Artificial Intelligence (AI) fuses the pieces from the contending two countries in each of the 64 matches into a unique piece based on the match outcome. The result will be a singular collection of one-of-a-kind NFTs created through a collaboration of man and machine. Strike to Stroke runs at the Msheireb Galleria Doha, Qatar until December 23.

Ithra, a cultural bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world, channels the world’s passion for football into its infatuation with the arts as the world comes together for the World Cup. The exhibition melds the man-made with the machine-made, and combines art, sport and technology in an innovative fashion.

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It features the work of 32 emerging and established artists, each tasked with creating a piece representing their country and using their respective team’s jersey colors. After each match, the AI-powered algorithm combines the artists’ creations with match statistics to generate unique pieces that represent each game. The collection will be a unique set of pieces presented as NFTs – non-fungible tokens. These cryptographic assets are based on blockchain technology, and created in a process similar to cryptocurrencies.

From Strike to Stroke includes artists who have never created NFTs and NFT artists who had not worked within traditional fine art.

“The passion shared by football fans for the love of the beautiful game can be tangential to the passion shared by art aesthetes,” said Dr. Shurooq Amin in her curator’s brief to the exhibition. “By connecting 32 artists from both the traditional and digital arenas, Ithra not only bridges the gap between Web2 to Web3, and between football and art, but furthermore between human and machine, as the artists collaborate with AI generation technology to create unique NFTs that combine art, football and technology.”

Visit www.striketostroke.com.

Images and exhibition catalogue can be found here.

For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit www.ithra.com.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1961775/Ithra_World_Cup_NFTs.jpg

SOURCE King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra)

For further information: Media contacts: Nour Aldajani, [email protected], +966-583268120, Nora Al Harthi, [email protected], Domia Abdi, [email protected], Hadeel Eisa, [email protected]

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Richard Serra’s art installation hard to miss in Qatar desert, once you get there

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Depending on the direction you approach, you see only part of the art. As you get closer, the dark plates get bigger and bigger and you get to see all four.The Canadian Press

Art stands tall in the desert some 75 kilometres northwest of Doha.

You need a rugged vehicle and no small resolve to find it, given signage is almost non-existent. The last few kilometres take time as you cross the desert on a slightly flattened but irregular path well away from the closest blacktop. Proceed with caution.

But East-West/West-East by American sculptor Richard Serra is worth the effort.

Completed in 2014, the installation comprises four giant steel plates – the outer two stand 16.7 metres high and the inner two 14.7 metres – and span more than a kilometre. Slightly different in height, to compensate for the difference in ground level, they line up like enormous fence posts in the barren desert flanked by gypsum plateaus at some points.

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If not the middle of nowhere, it’s well on the way.

Possibly the last place on earth you’d expect to see “one of the most significant artists of his generation,” as Serra is dubbed by the Gagosian Gallery which has showcased his work in both New York and France.

“Taking art to the people,” is how Qatar Museums, the country’s arts and culture arm, explains it.

Depending on the direction you approach, you see only part of the art. As you get closer, the dark plates get bigger and bigger and you get to see all four.

“After the perceptual bombardment of Doha, with its architecture dominated by idiosyncratic shapes and kitschy facades, the sensuous experience prompted by the rigorous abstraction of the (desert) sculpture is at once bracing and sensitizing,” wrote Artforum magazine.

“Serra reminds the viewer, like 19th-century German Romantic artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, of man’s frailty in the face of nature’s omnipotence,” added Numero magazine.

For non art-critics, imagine the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey on steroids and times four in the desert. Stand next to one and you feel like an ant – a very hot ant under the blazing Qatari sun.

You’ll also likely be alone, albeit under review from what seemed like security in a nearby pickup truck.

The 84-year-old Serra, who worked in steel mills during college, is known for his large-scale abstract steel sculptures.

There is another in Doha itself. A sculpture called 7 – the number seven has spiritual significance in Islamic culture – was commissioned by Qatar Museums.

Built out of seven steel plates, it faces the sea at MIA Park, adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art.

Like a billionaire stocking his mansion with objets d’art, the government of Qatar has dug deep into its oil-filled coffers to decorate the country with world-class art.

There are big-ticket art works all over.

In 2013, Qatar Museums Authority head Sheikha al-Mayassa al-Thani, the daughter of the emir of Qatar, was listed atop ArtReview magazine’s annual Power 100 list “on account of her organization’s vast purchasing power and willingness to spend at a rate estimated to be US$1-billion a year – in order to get top works of art for its Doha museums,” ArtReview said.

Le Pouce, a giant golden thumb by French artist Cesar Baldaccini, is front and centre in Doha’s Souq Waqif market. French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ Maman, a giant spider that can also be found outside Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada, stands inside the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC), which doubles as the World Cup’s main press centre.

Another edition of Maman, one of seven, was sold for US$32-million by Christie’s in 2019.

“The Miraculous Journey” by English artist Damien Hirst is hard to miss outside Sidra Medicine centre just down the street from the QNCC. The 14 monumental bronze sculptures chronicle the gestation of a fetus inside a uterus, from conception to birth – ending with a statue of a 14-metre-tall anatomically correct baby boy.

–-

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022

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Combine Art Fair Returns to Griffin Art Projects for Its Second Year

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Glenn Lewis, Photograph of Marilyn Monroe #2, Taken in 1953. Printed by Taki Bluesinger, signed and dated by the artist. Copyright stamp on reverse. Ilford Galerie fibre paper, archival finish, 20×16″, $800

Combine Art Fair returns to North Van’s Griffin Art Projects for the second year, December 8-11. Participating galleries include Vancouver-based Unit 17, Mónica Reyes Gallery, Wil Aballe Projects and – all the way from Montreal – first-timers, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau. Another new addition: a book fair where you can peruse exhibition catalogues, limited publications, and more.

The aim of this boutique fair is to offer fresh perspectives on contemporary art and collecting – whether you’re a veteran art collector or are simply interested in art and considering buying your first piece. Combine is a chance to view work by emerging and established artists, and chat with the gallerists who represent them.

Expect to see work by Inuk artist, Shuvinai Ashoona (whose work was at this year’s Venice Biennale), emerging artist, Manuel Mathieu (his new solo show opens in Miami next year), Métis artist and writer, Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill (recent exhibitions include at the Venice Biennale and The Museum of Modern Art in New York), and Governor General Award winner, Glenn Lewis; plus Chantal Gibson, Maggee Day, and many more.

Sure, you can visit these galleries anytime (although it’s a bit more of a trek to visit Galerie Hugues Charbonneau), but the nice thing about the art fair format is that it allows you to visit all five galleries in one go, while also meeting the gallerists and asking questions in a convivial environment. In fact, they encourage it!

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Participating galleries will be exhibiting a diverse range of work from their artists. However, we asked each Vancouver-based gallery to name just one work they’ll be showing (around the $1000 price point), as well as one tip for first-time art fair goers. (What’s “okay” to ask? What’s not “okay”?) Read on to find out…

Wil Aballe, Director, WAAP

For his recommendation, Aballe shares that he will have a suite of 11 vintage prints of Marilyn Monroe, taken in 1953 by Glenn Lewis, for $800 each (an example of one is pictured above).

“So the story goes, Glenn, who is now 87 and a Governor-General Award winner, was in his last year in high school at the time, working as a dishwasher in the kitchen of the Banff Springs Hotel. He had just received his first ever camera, a brownie, gifted by his mother. Marilyn was filming, and the day before the photographs were taken, she stepped in a gopher hole and injured her ankle. These photos were taken the next day on her day off, but oddly the pictures feature a Mountie, Marilyn in a canoe, and Mt Rundle in the background. These fibre prints are the last that Glenn and I are aware of to be available; so while theoretically printed in an edition of 75, there are much fewer copies out there and these are the last few. In the mid-20th century, many vintage photographs by well known photographers are open editions and these have not affected the value they can have, as collectors mostly care about whether the print was signed/stamped and printed within the artist’s lifetime.”

Tip for the first time fair-goer:

“To not be intimidated, and to look with curiosity and use the opportunity of Combine to get the broadest sense of what art can be. I am open to any questions anyone sincerely wants to know about, so ask away!”

Terrence P.R. Turner, Wish Me Luck (fingers crossed), Black powder coated cut-out aluminum wall sculpture, 12×5.5 ×1/8″, Edition of 25, $950

Mónica Reyes Gallery is thrilled to be bringing this artwork – a wall sculpture by Terrence Turner – to the fair, that is both fun and affordable.

Tip for the first time fair-goer:

“Ask where the artist is from, or how old are they, as these questions help us tell the viewer more in terms of the artist’s CV — whether or not they are up-and-coming, where they have studied, and what shows they have been included in that may be helping their careers and notoriety. “What’s the inspiration behind the work?” is also a very good question to ask.”
“I can only think of one question [not to ask]: “Are you the artist?” This is a solid no-no. We are the art dealers that represent the artists; we are the ones who exhibit their works, take them on the road, connect them with our audience, and help them place their work in private, corporate and institutions at large. Our role is different.”

Tobin Gibson, Director, Unit 17

Tristan Unrau, Idol 2, 2021, Bronze, 9×5×9cm, Edition of 3, $1,500 (excluding hand painted, modular plinth)

While most works on view from major museum artists including Anne Low, Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, and Tristan Unrau, range from $6,000-$30,000, there will be a gem of a bronze sculpture on view by Unrau from the artist’s 2021 exhibition at Unit 17, False Idols.

Tip for the first time fair-goer:

“This fair is unlike any other, in that it’s a boutique event. I would say to people who are not used to fairs to take a chance and ask the pressing questions that come to mind. All gallerists are extremely approachable and interested in conversation with a range of participants in the visual arts. Also, look at the didactic information. It can give a lot of information without needing to ask a question, persay. Another tip is to always inquire about a payment plan. Galleries more than ever are open to accepting sales that are paid out each month over a set period of time.”


While visiting Combine at the Griffin Projects Residency space, be sure to pop in next door to Griffin’s main exhibition space to see Allegories of the Present, by renowned visual artist, Stan Douglas, who represented Canada at this year’s Venice Biennale, (closing Dec. 11, 2022). The exhibition brings together photographic works from the 1990s to the present, primarily concerned with architectural and social spaces, to produce what Douglas calls, ‘allegories of the present.’ Guided tours led by Griffin Art Projects’ Indigenous Curatorial Assistant, Emmett Hanly, take place on Sunday afternoons. Sign up here.


Combine Art Fair dates and hours:

Thursday, Dec. 8 | 5-7pm, followed by a public opening reception from 7-9pm
Fri-Sun, Dec. 9-11 | 12-5pm
Admission is free.


Griffin Art Projects Residency
1180 Welch St.
Griffin Art Projects
1174 Welch Street, North Vancouver

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