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The art world responds to Russian invasion of Ukraine by canceling shows and cutting ties – CNN



Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

Stage curtains are closing, art exhibitions are being halted and performers are being replaced. Over the past week, major cultural players worldwide — including some within Russia — have reacted to the invasion of Ukraine by canceling shows and applying pressure to the country’s art institutions. So far, more than 500,000 refugees have fled Ukraine as the Kremlin continues its assault on the country’s most populated cities, including the capital, Kyiv.

While much of the focus has turned to sanctions meant to cripple Russia’s economy, the country’s cultural influence is also being curtailed. Russia will no longer be represented at major international events like the Venice Biennale and the televised music competition, Eurovision. Artists and performers, from Iggy Pop to Franz Ferdinand, are also canceling shows in the country, while those who have expressed support for President Vladmir Putin are being shunned. In Germany, the Russian chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, Valery Gergiev, was fired for his refusal to condemn the war or Putin, with whom he has close ties, according to a statement from Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter.

Cultural institutions are also under growing pressure to cut ties with Russian oligarchs. British parliamentarian Chris Bryant has called on UK gallery group Tate to revoke the honorary member status of Russian billionaire and Putin associate Viktor Vekselberg, as reported by the Guardian, though a spokesperson for the Tate told CNN that he donated seven years earlier and “there is no ongoing connection,” adding that there are “no UK sanctions on any of Tate’s supporters.”
Ukraine’s minister of culture, Oleksandr Tkachenko, has joined a group of Ukrainian artists, gallery owners, actors, musicians and film directors in demanding stronger, sweeping cultural sanctions. They have signed a petition calling on international institutions to cancel cultural partnerships with the Russian Federation, sever relationships with Russian nationals sitting on advisory boards and ban Russian participation in major art events, including Art Basel and the Cannes Film Festival.

“The Russian Federation is a rogue state,” reads the petition. “Russian culture, when used as propaganda, is toxic! Don’t be an accomplice!”

But some are cautioning against culturally isolating all Russians over the war. Raimundas Malašauskas, who was set to curate the Russian pavilion at April’s Venice Biennale, pulled out of the event, but said he doesn’t want the art world to turn its back on Russian artists.

“I explicitly oppose the current assault and subjugation commanded by Russia. I also believe that people from Russia should not be bullied or cast away solely due to their country’s oppressive policies and actions,” he said in a statement on his website. “I want to avoid flat-falling divisions, and instead advocate for multi-leveled forms of solidarity where there are international forums for art and artists from Russia to express the freedom that they can’t express at home.”

Below are some of the ways that artists, cultural organizations and institutions are reacting to the war in Ukraine.

Russia will be absent from the Venice Biennale

The Russian pavilion at Venice Biennale.

The Russian pavilion at Venice Biennale. Credit: Marco Cappelletti

When Malašauskas and Russian artists Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov resigned from participating in the Venice Biennale, they effectively canceled the Russian Federation’s representation at one of the biggest and most prestigious art gatherings in the world.

The Russian pavilion, designed by architect Alexey Shchusev, has been a permanent fixture in Venice Giardini since 1914, opening its doors every two years to showcase the work of some of the country’s most important contemporary artists.

In a statement, the Biennale expressed its “complete solidarity for this noble act of courage.” Savchenkov, who works in sculpture, installation and performance art, meanwhile wrote on Instagram that “there is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles, when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters and when Russian protesters are getting silenced.”
The Ukrainian pavilion is unlikely to open this year either, with an official statement on Instagram explaining that all work on the exhibition has ceased.

The Metropolitan Opera won’t work with pro-Putin artists

A view of Lincoln Plaza with the Metropolitan Opera House in the center on April 06, 2021 in New York City.

A view of Lincoln Plaza with the Metropolitan Opera House in the center on April 06, 2021 in New York City. Credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

The most famous opera house in the US, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, announced on Sunday that it will not work with Russian artists or organizations that support President Vladimir Putin until the country’s invasion of Ukraine ends.
“While we believe strongly in the warm friendship and cultural exchange that has long existed between the artists and artistic institutions of Russia and the United States, we can no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him — not until the invasion and killing has been stopped, order has been restored and restitutions have been made,” said Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, in a video message shared to Facebook.

This means that the Met will likely freeze its relationship with Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, whose co-production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” is currently planned for next year. Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, who was set to play the title role in Puccini’s “Turandot” at the Met later this spring, might also have been affected, though she has now pulled out of all scheduled performances, according to a statement from the Zurich Opera House, where she was scheduled to perform this month.

On Saturday, Netrebko wrote on social media that she is “opposed to this war,” but “not a political person.” The Zurich Opera House described her post as a “positive development,” but her inability to “distance herself further from Vladimir Putin” was incompatible with its own “decisive condemnation” of the Russian president’s actions.

Artists and museums cancel exhibitions in Russia

People are seen by "The End - Venezia" (2009) by artist Ragnar Kjartansson at the GES-2 House of Culture in Bolotnaya Embankment.

People are seen by “The End – Venezia” (2009) by artist Ragnar Kjartansson at the GES-2 House of Culture in Bolotnaya Embankment. Credit: Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS/Getty Images

Contemporary Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, who is known for performance works and video installations that reflect the human condition, has pulled his exhibition at Moscow’s new GEC-2 museum. Speaking to CNN via email, he cited the bravery of local Russian artists who have canceled their own shows in response to the war.

“I was following the(ir) example… which is way more dangerous than my cozy stand here in Iceland,” he said.

Kjartansson, who in 2009 became the youngest artist to represent Iceland at the Venice Biennale, has exhibited at Tate Modern in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He believes that artists, curators, collectors and institutions must “consider every move” in order to “stand by” Ukraine and stand “against Putin’s regime,” but called for artists themselves to be protected from boycotts.

“Boycott Russian collectors who do not publicly oppose Putin… not Russian artists, (except) those very few that support Putin,” he said. “Support Ukrainian artists with residencies in safe countries (and) exhibition platforms, and (do) the same for Russian artists from the opposition.”

Meanwhile, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, founded by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Russian American art collector Dasha Zhukova, announced that it has postponed all exhibitions until the invasion of Ukraine has ended. This includes halting shows that were already underway, including the work of German artist Anne Imhof and British artist Helen Marten. “We cannot support the illusion of normality when such events are taking place,” reads a statement on the museum’s website.

Eurovision bars Russia from competing

Russia's Manizha performs during the first semi-final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, on May 18, 2021.

Russia’s Manizha performs during the first semi-final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, on May 18, 2021. Credit: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images

Less than a day after the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it would allow Russia to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, a popular televised music competition, the organization reversed course. This May, no performers representing the country will be allowed to compete, the EBU confirmed in o a statement released on Friday.

“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” read the statement.

Russia had yet to select an act to perform on its behalf at the annual competition, which was watched by 183 million people last year.

UK distances itself from Russian ballet

Dancers Artem Ovcharenko and Anna Tikhomirova during a photo call ahead of  performances by the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall.

Dancers Artem Ovcharenko and Anna Tikhomirova during a photo call ahead of performances by the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall. Credit: Ian West/PA Images/Getty Images

The UK’s Royal Opera House (ROH) has canceled a residency by Moscow’s famed Bolshoi Ballet company. The residency had been scheduled for this summer and was in the “final stages” of planning, according to a statement provided to CNN. A spokesperson for the ROH said: “Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, the season cannot now go ahead.”

The Bolshoi Ballet is one of the oldest ballet companies in the world, responsible for the first ever production of “Swan Lake,” among others. But its status as one of the country’s greatest cultural symbols is complicated by its entanglement with the Russian government.
The company’s former artistic director Alexei Ratmansky, who is now an artist-in residence at the American Ballet Theatre, had been working on a new performance for his former company in Moscow when Russia invaded Ukraine. The Russian-born choreographer, who was raised in Kyiv, has since departed for New York with his entire creative team, according to the New York Times.

“I was absolutely torn between creation, love and desperation,” he told the Times of his decision to leave. Ratmansky’s new ballet was supposed to open March 30, but has been postponed indefinitely.

Performances by several other Russian ballet companies have also been affected, with shows by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia pulled in the English town of Northampton and a performance of Swan Lake by the Royal Moscow Ballet called off in Dublin, Ireland.

The European Film Academy boycotts Russian films

The Ukranian Film Academy has set up a public petition calling for the international boycott of Russian cinema, including showings on the international film circuit. The European Film Academy (EFA) has responded in support, saying it will exclude Russian entries from the European Film Awards.
“The European Film Academy remains a place to support and unite all filmmakers who share our belief in human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights,” the EFA said in a statement. “We acknowledge and appreciate those brave filmmakers in Russia who stand up against this war. But in view of a brutal and unjustified attack, we have to stand with our sisters and brothers in Ukraine whose lives are at risk.”

This story will be updated as developments happen.

Top image: The Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Swan Lake at The Royal Opera House on August 2, 2019 in London, England.

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Kirkland Lake museum asks for art donations to help fundraiser –



The Museum of Northern History in Kirkland Lake, Ont., is accepting people’s donated art pieces for its first Art From Your Attic fundraiser.

The idea behind the event is to give new life to artwork that might be collecting dust in people’s attics or basements, all while raising funds for the museum.

“Ideally, we’ll be looking at locally painted artwork or locally represented artwork,” said Kaitlyn McKay, the museum’s supervisor. 

“Mining paintings are always kind of a top tier item around here, but for us it’s mostly about artwork that people have valued for a long time that has kind of been sitting aside in an attic or in storage or people who just have too much of it and not enough space to store.”

The Museum of Northern History was founded in 1967 and moved to its current location in 1983.

McKay said the community doesn’t have an historical society, and the museum provides a link to the region’s history. That includes photos and artifacts from the groups that immigrated from Ukraine, Poland and Finland to found the community.

A ceramic plate painting by artist Cesar Forero, called ‘Birds in Flight’, is one of the art pieces donated for the Museum of Northern History’s Art From Your Attic Fundraiser. (Submitted by Kaitlyn McKay)

Money raised from the Art From Your Attic fundraiser will help the museum cover its operating expenses and upcoming projects, McKay said.

According to the museum’s Facebook page, donors can also choose to keep 20 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of their pieces.

People have until May 30 to donate pieces of art for the fundraiser. The fundraising event will take place from June 7 to July 3, 2022.

Up North5:59The Museum of the Northern History in Kirkland Lake wants those art treasures hiding in your attic

What’s hiding in your attic? That’s the question the Museum of the Northern History in Kirkland Lake is asking its community. They would like to turn your spring cleaning into fundraising for the museum. Museum supervisor Kaytlin McKay joined us with more details.

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‘Destiny 2’ Scrubbed These Season 17 Guardians From New Map Art – Forbes



We are just under ten days out from Destiny 2 launching season 17, and as of yet, it doesn’t even have a name, much less any clues about where the story is going from here, other than more generalized hints about year 5 buried in The Witch Queen.

We have gotten details about the Iron Banner rework and we know a new 3.0 element is coming, but even through that and some weapon reveals, we know absolutely nothing about the theme of the season, nor even the race it focuses on. Until now, maybe?

In an effort to keep everything as absurdly close to the vest as possible for as long as possible, Bungie actually went in and erase the above three Guardians from the art of the new PvP map, Disjunction, that was shown off in this week’s TWAB.

Here’s the original art:

And here’s the replacement:

No more Guardians. What are they hiding? Even blowing this up it’s pretty hard to tell, other than the fact that they are wearing new armor sets and wielding new weapons.

The biggest clue is the Hunter cloak, which many believe looks like it has Fallen symbols on the back. Looking up past Fallen symbols I will say that yes, it’s probably closest to that “style” of symbol, though I have not found any exact house matches. But between the symbols and the frayed edges, yes, I am at least some Fallen vibes as well. It doesn’t really look Cabal (we’ve gotten hints about Calus’ return) or Rasputin-based (we’ve gotten hints about Rasputin’s return).

This would make some amount of sense given that we have not had a Fallen-focused season since the actual Beyond Light expansion. Chosen was Cabal, Splicer was Vex (where Fallen were the good guys and we got Fallen armor), Risen was Scorn and Taken, Witch Queen was Hive and Scorn.

Given that a portion of the Fallen are now our allies, this raises questions about which Fallen faction we might be fighting, and that circles back to some hints we’ve gotten that Eramis, the frozen leader of House Salvation whom we left chilling on a dock somewhere on Europa. There have been hints that we have not seen the last of her, so that could be where we’re heading this season.

But there’s a second theory. Other than the cloak, the only thing I can glean from this image is what appears to be a new Claymore style sword on the back of the Titan. I assume it’s not the same one from the 30th anniversary, as shots like these usually show off new gear. I am less sure what the weapon is on the back of the Warlock, some kind of primary, auto, pulse, scout, something like that. And it’s gold which is more…Cabal, but we’ll see. I do see other hints of Cabal-style design in these other sets, so who knows, maybe we are on the way to the Calus-based season after all. There have definitely been more hints about Calus’ return both this season and over the past year.

I’m reaching here, but it’s all we’ve got. I expect to see something concrete around reset on Tuesday.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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Judge for yourself: Man uses art to escape 'frenetic' period – BarrieToday



From a judge’s gavel to paint brushes, Barrie’s David Murphy has lived a unique life.

After a life spent mostly in a courtroom  first as a lawyer with a big Toronto law firm and eventually as a high court judge in the Cayman Islands  the 73-year-old is enjoying a simpler life these days spent mostly in his basement art studio. 

Born and raised in the city, Murphy says he has been painting for nearly 50 years, but it wasn’t until he started sneaking off to art classes once a week  while he was working in a large litigation firm in downtown Toronto in the 1980s  that he really began to love it.

“It sounds odd. It’s a time in your life where you’re probably the busiest, craziest and most frenetic in your career,” he tells BarrieToday. “I decided I wanted a diversion in law school and started copying Group of Seven paintings in oil just for fun.”

In 1989, Murphy moved to Hong Kong, where he spent the next seven years working as a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. And although he didn’t do a lot of painting during that time, he says he would find some time between classes to take the occasional class.

During that time, he experimented with watercolour and took classes in Chinese brush painting and art restoration. He also developed a research specialty in art law, published numerous scholarly articles on the subject, and lectured worldwide. He is also the author of a book on the legal aspects of the trade in Chinese art, published by Oxford University Press.

Murphy then moved to the Cayman Islands and spent the next four years as a high court judge, a career he admits left very little time for art.

In 2000, at the age of 51, Murphy retired and moved to Europe, where he once again picked up his paint brushes and started painting regularly. 

“I started doing a lot of shows and exhibitions in Malta,” he says, adding he always knew he’d return to Canada. 

Murphy, who returned to Barrie in 2013, says he has always been drawn to impressionists, and credits the famous Group of Seven for inspiring his own work. 

“When people think of impressionism, they typically think of European impressionist painters without really appreciating we had our own school of impressionist painters here in Canada with the Group of Seven who were fabulous,” he says. “I think it was meeting A.Y. Jackson that really inspired me (and) it was probably around that time I started really enjoying going to art galleries.

“Back in those days, McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg was just jammed with Group of Seven paintings. … It was just a visual feast back then and that obviously influenced me,” Murphy adds. 

Although most of his work over the years has featured landscapes and cityscapes almost entirely in oil, he says he has stepped outside of the box over the last few years and begun to move into abstracts using acrylic for a “change of pace.”

“Representational landscapes and cityscapes… that’s what I have done for decades, but not in a realistic style. I don’t like realistic art. I’d rather just take a photograph, so it’s impressionist,” he says.

An avid traveller, the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on that for Murphy. He says he found himself in his basement studio filling time in the winters.

“I decided to try something different. I started churning out a lot of abstracts… largely experimental and I think some of them are pretty good,” he says. “It’s really just a matter of putting together colour and shapes in a pleasing combination.

“I like to be spontaneous. I am not one of these artists that agonizes over something for weeks. I just like to do it and move on.”

Murphy’s work is on display as part of a new one-man exhibition for the entire month of May in the Falls Gallery at the Alton Mill Art Centre, located at 1402 Queen Street W., in Caledon. 

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