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PERFORMERS WERE THE STARS OF YESTERDAY’S INAUGURAL ACTIVITIES, with singers like Lady Gaga, Jon 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.
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!”
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 restrictions, The Guardian is taking a tour of their collections in a series of articles. Today’s focuses on a Rose Wylie work. [The Guardian]
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]
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.
Admiral Art McDonald steps aside as defence chief amid investigation – CTV News
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.
Canada's top military commander Art McDonald steps aside after investigation launched into misconduct – CBC.ca
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.
Sci-fi exhibition opening at Richmond Art Gallery in April – Richmond News
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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