Can Museums Escape The Disturbing Trend Of Relentless Commercialization?

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“Nonprofit status subsidizes museums through the public tax code. The status was invented more than a century ago to foster diversity of independent thought, free from the narrow economic demands of business or the ideological commands of government. Today, that independence is being corrupted as the wall separating art museums from business activities is crumbling.”

Why The Smithsonian Is Wrong Not To Take Down Its Bill Cosby SHow

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“This isn’t about borrowing art from an unsavory rich guy; it’s about hosting an exhibition that celebrates the family life and character — “the personal importance of family to the collectors cannot be overstated,” reads one exhibition text — of a married man who by his own admission acquired Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with.”

Size Matters

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“For an artist, going big can be the most seductive of ego trips. But it can also offer an opportunity to disappear from view. Some large-scale works are boastful, whereas others are shaped by the lightest of touches; they are as likely to oppress as to inspire. But whatever the medium and whatever the message, there is no doubt that, when it comes to art at least, size really does matter.”

Detroit – Art’s New Wild West Frontier

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“Public art has long had a home in Detroit, with its expansive vacated spaces and ambitious class of D.I.Y. makers. But lately, the back-lot murals, pop-up sculpture parks and boundary-crossing performances are increasing, as old-guard artists find new outlets and resources, and younger artists arrive overflowing with ideas.”

America’s First Abstract Painter Was An Engineer Who’d Never Seen Modernist Art

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Manierre Dawson, “although not a household name, is increasingly recognized as the first American artist to work in a completely abstract mode. … He made his breakthrough to non-objective imagery prior to any exposure to modernist art. Instead, his innovation stemmed from his training and employment as a structural engineer.”

Why These Famous Artists Destroyed Their Own Work

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“There are countless instances of artists destroying their own work. If Louise Bourgeois disliked a small sculpture she’d been working on, she would simply shove it off the end of her kitchen table and watch it smash to smithereens.”

Report: Did Smithsonian Fail To Disclose Major Gift From Cosbys?

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WASHINGTON (Sept. 15, 2010) Lanier Phillips, left, Bill Cosby and Ed LeBaron pose for a picture before receiving the Lone Sailor Award at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The Lone Sailor award is presented to sea service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective civilian careers while continuing to exemplify the Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andrew Meyers/Released)

“Following last week’s news that the Smithsonian would stand by its much-criticized exhibition ‘Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue,’ which features a number of works from Bill and Camille Cosby’s personal collection, the Associated Press is now reporting that the Cosbys also gave the museum $716,000. As the report notes, that gift “virtually covers the entire cost” of the show.”

A Bubble That Can’t Burst (And That’s Okay): Peter Schjeldahl On Today’s Art Market

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“Today’s art craze is baked into the global economy – not a local cyclone but a climate change caused by belching emissions of excess money that won’t stop while the carbon of present mega-wealth holds out. That is, art prices can crash only as one piddling consequence of a planetary catastrophe. … Sensing that people will one day look back on this era as a freakish episode in cultural history, why not get a head start on viewing it that way? Detach and marvel.”

A Street Artist Spends A Year Inside Philly’s Giant Mural Machine

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RJ Rushmore: “A year inside of ‘Philadelphia’s community-engagement juggernaut'” – that’s the city’s famous Mural Arts Program – “has taught me a lot. It’s made me fall deeper in love with street art than ever before, and it’s also helped me to better understand the medium’s shortcomings. Here are a few observations.”

How The World’s Most Popular Tarot Deck Was Designed (In 1909) And Came To Market (In 1970)

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No, the set of cards most of us know doesn’t come from the Middle Ages. It’s “is a product of the intuitive thoughtfulness of an American-born occult scholar in late 19th century London, a British-born creative visual genius who studied art in New York City and lived in Jamaica, and a businessman whose first book was about coal mining techniques … These three people, essentially, are the only reason any of us know much of anything about tarot.”

How A Picasso Got To Be Worth $179 Million

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Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”) was born out of a rivalry between Picasso and Henri Matisse. But competition can evolve into adoration, and when Matisse died on November 3, 1954, Picasso embarked upon an ambitious form of mourning: He would make a series of 15 works in homage to Eugène Delacroix’s 1834 painting Les Femmes d’Alger, a work held in near-religious regard by the late artist.

Shepard Fairey’s Arrest In Detroit Suggests A New Era For Street Art

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“Fairey’s arrest, and his release, provides a window into the evolution of street art, its growing acceptance in American culture and the extent to which an old question, ‘Is it art or is it vandalism?’ now gets answered through new eyes. The social media and press attention that the Detroit incident received speaks to the artist’s fame, which is itself a marker of how street art has become part of the zeitgeist.”

Online Art Criticism Isn’t Working. So What Should Replace It?

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“In an economy where content is king, where digital marketplaces like Amazon promote writing (especially user-generated criticism, that holy grail of free content that instils value in a product without the company needing to pay or take responsibility for it), the role of criticism—to respond to the work—also includes responding to its marketplace and the way the market regulates what viewers are exposed to, even online.”

Greek Museums Forced To Close As Funding Runs Out

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“Major public cultural institutions in Greece are on the point of collapse, say leading Greek art professionals, as concerns mount that the country faces insolvency after 61% of the population rejected bailout proposals earlier this week made by international creditors.”

Hothouse Architecture – A Group Of Canada’s Top Architects Got Together In A Room And…

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“Take a crowd of Canada’s top architects, put them in a room and ask them to design a dense city neighbourhood – working with a 1,000-page book of rules and requirements. This was how the Canary District in Toronto, which will be the athletes’ village for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games this summer, was created.”

Italy’s Art Museums Get A Badly-Needed Shake-Up

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“In January this year, the ministry of culture announced an international competition to find energetic new manager-directors for 20 of the country’s most important state museums … For the first time ever, foreign candidates have been invited to apply, and fluency in business management, rather than Italian, is the main requirement.”

This Year’s ARTnews Top 200 Art Collectors

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“A surge in demand has pushed the art market into uncharted territory. Chinese collectors are increasingly formidable, with Wang Zhongjun (a new addition to the Top 200) picking up a Picasso for $30 million and Wang Jianlin (also on the list) buying a Monet for $20.4 million. But there are also plenty of new players coming in from all over the world, many of whom prefer to remain anonymous.”

Boston’s Museum Of Fine Arts Cancels “Kimono Wednesdays” After Protests

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The museum said it had hoped to create an “interactive experience,” helping museum goers appreciate the rich details, embroidery and fine materials of the garments. It said similar events took place when the painting, depicting a woman in a kimono, travelled throughout Japan for an exhibition. But protesters have held signs at the Boston museum’s events, calling them “racist” and “imperialist.”