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Letters Oct. 31: Art installation; restaurant servers; big spending – Times Colonist

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Who owns an art installation?

Re: “Anti-police acronym removed from Bastion Square mural, replaced with ­censorship message,” Oct. 29.

As an artist I want to start off by saying, I support public art to the fullest. Public art can be controversial. It can enhance our community and open us up to dialogue. I need to say I was greatly upset over the completed art installation at Bastion Square pertaining to injustices towards Black and Indigenous people.

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The idea of surreptitiously encrypting the acronym ACAB into a piece of commissioned public art is both insulting and offensive to the public and the police. I have sold a number of pieces both my own and commissioned work. I could not imagine incorporating a political message of my belief into a piece of commissioned work, without the knowledge of the purchaser. It would be unprofessional, as well as morally unethical.

I was angered to read that the artists responsible for the work were involved in “weeks of negotiations with the city” as to how to deal with the offensive acronym. The solution to cover the letter “S” and include a lengthy notation that criticizes the city for silencing their voices seems to be almost as offensive.

I have been fortunate enough to purchase a few pieces of original art in my lifetime. Since I bought and paid for them, they belong to me. I can do whatever I wish with them.

It is my understanding that since the city owns this installation, the city should not really have to consult with anyone as to what happens with the piece. I feel that for all the good intentions on the part of the city to support public art, the cost and time taken has ended up as a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. In the end, the greater message of “More Justice, More Peace” seems to have been lost to everyone.

Rod MacPherson
Saanich

Restaurant servers, wear your masks

When eating out we find that in some places not all of the staff members wear masks. The person directing us to a table might keep at a suitable distance.

However, often the person serving the meal does not wear a mask and is usually standing a foot or two away, is above us, and talking. Not good.

I have asked why no mask and been told that it is up to the individual server to decide.

It should be mandatory that at least the server wears a mask. Better yet, keep it simple and make it mandatory that masks be worn by everyone in all indoor facilities dealing with the public.

Roger Nield
Victoria

Pandemic will have lingering impact

Let’s take a moment to cheer on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Before COVID-19 he had already set a milestone in increasing Canada’s debt per capita (inflation adjusted) more than any prime minister outside the Great Depression of the 1930s and the two world wars, sadly stealing that honour from his father. With COVID he now has an open field to surpass those PMs who merely had to deal with world wars or global depressions.

So while COVID will pass, we are assured the suffering will continue for generations to come.

Scott Clark
Victoria

Limit cannabis to limit the virus

The authorities have strictly reduced access to bars and nightclubs to an essential minimum. Extended stays assisted by alcohol reduce inhibitions and allow the untested positives to spread the virus.

How does freely available cannabis enhance our drive to get the better of this pandemic? The answer is: It doesn’t.

Leonhard Braunizer
Brentwood Bay

A bridge would help at Kelly Road crossing

Congratulations to Colwood in pressing for a bridge on the Galloping Goose Trail and Wale Road.

I find that crossing the Island Highway by bike to be not so much a challenge at the proposed site as it is at Kelly Road and the Veterans Memorial Parkway, which requires two major street crossings versus the one.

Please consider one more key crossing site.

Larry Maydonik
James Bay

SEND US YOUR LETTERS

• Email letters to: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd.

Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

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Irina Antonova, head of top Moscow art museum, dies at 98 – The Record (New Westminster)

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MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia’s top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments.

Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world’s longest-serving director of a major art museum.

As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide.

She also was very active in promoting the museum’s treasures to the public.

Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.”

Antonova will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions.

The Associated Press


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Art world star gives back by buying work of the undiscovered – Bowen Island Undercurrent

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NEW YORK — Painter Guy Stanley Philoche, a star in the New York art world, had wanted to treat himself to a fancy watch after a hugely successful gallery show. Then the pandemic hit, and he feared for all the struggling artists who haven’t been so lucky.

So he gave up his $15,000 Rolex dreams and went on a different kind of buying spree, putting out a call on Instagram in late March to any artist anywhere who had creations to sell. The submissions rolled in, hundreds at a time.

He’s spent about $60,000 so far with plans to continue as long as he can, and Philoche’s own patrons have taken notice and asked him to make purchases on their behalf as well.

“It’s about artists helping artists,” said the 43-year-old Philoche, who came to America from Haiti with his family at age 3, nearly nothing to their names.

“I’m not a rich man,” he said, “but I owe a big debt to the art world. Art saved my life, and I made a promise to myself that once I made it, to always buy from artists who hadn’t gotten their big break.”

Philoche has a budget, seeking out works in the $300 to $500 range. He buys only what he loves, from as far away as London and as close as the studio next to his in East Harlem. An abstract mixed-media piece by Michael Shannon, his studio neighbour, was his first purchase, leading Philoche to include him and others he’s discovered in an upcoming group gallery show.

About half the artists Philoche has chosen are people he knows, many in New York. The others sent him direct messages on Instagram with sample work in hopes of being picked.

Philoche, who went to art school in Connecticut where his family settled, has lined the walls of his tiny apartment with his Philoche Collection During Covid, ranging from graffiti-inspired work and portraiture to pop art and a huge pistol done in bright yellow, red and blue paint.

Philoche’s own work goes for up to $125,000 a piece. During a recent interview at his studio, he slid out from storage large canvases from his breakthrough, Mark Rothko-esque abstract Untitled Series and a collection of female nudes with duct tape over their mouths. Often whimsical, he has also produced paintings inspired by Monopoly and other board games, as well as comics such as Charlie Brown.

Among his clients: Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Barclay Investments Inc., along with Uma Thurman, George Clooney and fellow artist Julian Schnabel.

Giving back isn’t something the affable Philoche just recently decided to do. Over his 20-plus year career, he has tried to stick to a simple rule to support other artists: Sell a painting, buy a painting. But it was a chance meeting with a friend and fellow artist who was anxious about the pandemic with a baby on the way that set him on his pandemic buying spree.

“I’m not on the first line, but my community was impacted as well,” he said. “It was just the right thing to do. I love waking up in my apartment every morning seeing the walls. There’s paintings on the floor, all over. Some of these people have never sold a painting in their life.”

His feisty French bulldog Picasso at his side, Philoche recalled his own meagre start in New York after he put himself through art school while working full-time as a bartender.

“People didn’t open the doors for me. I had to get into the room through the back door, or through the window,” he said with a laugh. “But now that I’m in the room, with a seat at the table, I have to open doors for these artists.”

Leanne Italie, The Associated Press

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Irina Antonova, head of top Moscow art museum, dies at 98 – Bowen Island Undercurrent

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MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia’s top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments.

Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world’s longest-serving director of a major art museum.

As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide.

She also was very active in promoting the museum’s treasures to the public.

Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.”

Antonova will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions.

The Associated Press


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