The remodel of the Native North American Hall is overdue (at any natural history museum), and it’s vital. The hall hasn’t changed since its inception in the 1950s, and it’s a mess. How will the Field Museum do it right? “The renovations are taking place under the guidance of a robust advisory committee made up of contemporary Native American tribal leaders, scholars, artists, historical society representatives, and cultural caretakers.” (And it won’t remain stuck in time for 65+ years, either.) – Chicago Reader
The museum, in Dakar, is pan-African and also includes works from the Caribbean. A UNESCO official said, “This museum is a response to the aspirations of African children to better understand their memory and other cultures. It is also an important step towards the realization of an Africa with a strong cultural identity.” – AfricaNews
A Malaysian financier siphoned millions of dollars and then bought everything from a $250 million yacht to a see-through grand piano. “It is one of the largest international kleptocracy cases the United States has ever pursued.It is so expansive that just tracking down, retrieving and maintaining the loot has become a complex multinational operation in itself.” – The New York Times
Even its name is a bit of a challenge, but there was far worse in its history. Did a five-year, $73-million remodel change things? Part of the problem: “Most of the collection of over 120,000 items comes from Congo, collected in colonial-era military campaigns, or by missionaries and scientific explorers.” – The New York Times
Borrowing against art poses specific problems because of its portability, its heterogeneous nature and difficulty in establishing a reliable price. And yet, according to a report published last year by Deloitte and ArtTactic, in 2017 the global total of loans outstanding against art was eye-popping: between $17bn and $20bn. – The Art Newspaper
“When both PS1 and the MoMA [headquarters] staged parts of a Bruce Nauman show, for example, the handlers in Manhattan, full-time members of the museum staff with benefits, were paid as much as $47 an hour. The top rate in Queens was $30 an hour. … The disparity led the art handlers in Queens, who do not receive health insurance or other benefits, to begin demonstrating outside the museum last month.” — New York Times
“Opening in 2021 on the[National Museum of American History’s] first floor, the Molina Family Latino Gallery will feature bilingual exhibits exploring the history and contributions of American Latinos.” — Washington Post
Which country is this? On a per capita basis, Laos, on which the U.S. dropped 2 million tons of explosives between 1964 and 1973 in an attempt to destroy North Vietnamese military supply lines. “A new generation of artists from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic are emerging, following decades of isolation in the orbit of the Soviet empire. The economy is growing rapidly, and the country is opening up.” — The Guardian
With a new announcement about gallery expansion seeming to hit the art-industry newswire every day, it can be vexing to try to visualize just how physically large even one major dealer is in 2018, let alone how that dealer compares to some of their closest peers. – Artnet
“The Castle was a jewel in its heyday, but it has been falling into disrepair for years and is now mainly an office building, providing space for about 200 employees. … Last year, there was an electrical fire; the year before that, stones fell off its exterior. And this fall, an outbreak of mold — not the first — forced the evacuation of more than 30 employees. … Meanwhile, the institution has focused on dozens of other projects at its 19 museums, research centers and zoo,” including several renovations and the building of two museums from scratch. — Washington Post
“Anish Kapoor reached an out-of-court settlement yesterday in a dispute with the National Rifle Association over its use of an image of his Chicago sculpture Cloud Gate (2004)” — aka “The Bean” — “in a promotional video. An agreement has been reached to remove the image from the video.” — The Art Newspaper
The Art Gallery of Ontario raised $651,183, or about half the $1.3-million target it had set to buy the property. But we will still get to appreciate the artwork after the Toronto gallery decided to dip into existing funds.
The need to assess sales tax is now dictated by what is known as an “economic nexus”, meaning that if a vendor’s sales reach a certain threshold (which varies by state), then it has enough of an economic presence there to justify the need to pay taxes. What could prove most problematic for dealers is that many states define the nexus differently. – The Art Newspaper
“The Pitt Rivers has more than 300,000 objects in its collection, many of which were ‘acquired’ by colonial functionaries, missionaries and anthropologists in the heyday of the British empire. … Keenly aware of its problematic origins, the Pitt Rivers, like many museums, engages ‘originating communities’ – in the museum-world lingo – to allow them to reclaim the narrative around their objects. Last month, [elder Samwell] Nangiria, with four other Maasai from Tanzania and Kenya, and help from the Oxford-based NGO InsightShare, returned to do so.” — The Guardian
“The ruling by the Court of Cassation was handed down Monday after a long battle over the ancient Greek bronze, which was found by Italian fishermen off the Adriatic coast in 1964 and purchased by the Getty in the UK for almost $4m in 1977. The court was rejecting the Getty’s appeal of a ruling in June by a lower court in Pesaro stating that the statue must be returned.” — The Art Newspaper
Bridgit, “a series of short clips filmed on an iPhone featuring the Scottish countryside from a train window, a T-shirt on a radiator and a cat pawing at a lamp has helped Charlotte Prodger win the 2018 Turner prize. … The Glasgow-based artist has been making moving-image works for 20 years and is on many contemporary art radars, but she is far from being well known.” — The Guardian
What counts as a problematic work tends, loosely, to be anything explicitly sexually suggestive, some nudes, those with religious subject matter and politically engaged works that might be construed as criticising the Chinese regime. A foreign exhibitor at one of the fairs says anonymously that they were not allowed to bring a work that joked about global trade and Chinese manufacturing. Works by Georg Baselitz and Francis Bacon, proposed by international galleries were apparently among those turned down this year.
Last year, we heard that the Met had deficits. It pushed people out, cut its budget, and instituted a terrible $25 admission fee for tourists. I’m not given to amnesia, so I’m having a hard time squaring a need to reduce deficits, an unprecedented admission fee, a $70 million gallery redo, and that second baby behemoth, a $600 million new contemporary and modern wing. – National Review
“When you walk through an exhibition in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, every step you take is part of a deliberate design that takes you from piece to piece in just the right way. And it all starts with a dollhouse-like version of the gallery and teeny-tiny art replicas called ‘chips.’ In this episode [of Slate‘s podcast Working], Jordan Weissman talks to Lana Hum and Mack Cole-Edelsack, director and senior design manager, respectively, of MoMA’s exhibition design and production department.” (audio) — Slate
“Heading into their fourth and fifth decades, deep into midlife architectural crises, needing face-lifts, they’re now vulnerable and back again in the public eye, eliciting concern and attracting a second look — and sympathy — even from people who never liked them. But will these loved-hated structures be saved, and should they?” Joseph Giovannini considers the question. — New York Times
“The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, which owns what is perhaps Vermeer’s best-known masterpiece, Girl With a Pearl Earring, has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture in Paris to build an augmented-reality app that creates a virtual museum featuring all of the artist’s works” — even The Concert, the Vermeer that was stolen in the 1990 robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. — New York Times
Ron English, who bought Slave Labour for $730,000, said he was going to whitewash it to protest the idea that street art can be bought and sold. That didn’t work so well: “‘My phone has not stopped ringing,’ he said, listing off the various offers and ideas that he has since fielded. Whitewash the mural at my gallery, one person said. Charge admission, someone else suggested. Do it on pay-per-view, advised a third.”
Whoa: “Researchers preparing for an exhibition on Victorian attitudes to childhood, called Seen and Heard, have found that Connie Gilchrist, the forgotten young musician in painter Frederic Leighton’s canvas entitled *The Music Lesson, was once the toast of England and appeared in many Christmas pantomimes in the West End of London as well as in countless burlesque shows” – oh, and she ended up as the Countess of Orkney. Not bad for a child born in a horrific Victorian slum.
The painting, which sold at auction for £3.4 million, was the first one created in open air by the British artist. The arts minister: “It has so much significance for artistic and historical reasons that it is right that we do all we can to save this masterpiece for the benefit of the nation.”
The statue will be installed in 2020, and it’s the first in a planned series that came about after “the city’s reviews of its statues — an effort to toss out ‘symbols of hate’ — and the creation of She Built NYC, an initiative to create more statues of women.”
Afro-surrealist artist – and Ferguson documentarian – Damon Davis says, “We need to be able to imagine the world as we want to see it. … It can’t solely be based on anger because you’ll burn out.”
Or rather the art market in London that depends on Russian money: “New realities have restrained oligarchical excess. Over the past five years, the West has imposed a barrage of sanctions on Russia, including asset freezes and travel bans, tied to its incursions into Ukraine, interference in elections, and the attempted assassination of a former spy in Britain.” – The New York Times
The Hirshhorn Museum has an artwork that is generated and powered by visitors’ fingerprints and heart rates. Cool, right? But what about the data collected by this piece? Are you willing to just “give” away your fingerprint?
“There is beauty here in exactly the way that Kant meant the word, a beauty that comes from the pleasure of looking at designs that ‘mean nothing on their own.’ … The problem is that … Aboriginal artists aren’t working with anything like a Kantian conception of a free play of the faculties and they have, in the vast majority of cases, no interest in the idea of abstraction as that idea emerged in … painting in the 20th century.”
While it undoubtedly generates interest, what is actually gained from watching conservators working? Conservation has become an increasingly painstaking and intricate process, in which the conservator might sit for hours peering through a binocular microscope making, at the most, small twitching movements with a cotton swab or scalpel, or entering extensive documentation of observations on a computer. This has limited appeal for a visitor.