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Archives for September 2008

Who Are the Highest-Salaried Art Museum Directors?

Number One: MoMA's director, Glenn LowryPatrick Cole in today's Bloomberg, citing this article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy (for which you'll need to purchase a day pass, if you don't subscribe), reports that the Museum of Modern Art's director, Glenn Lowry, was "the best-paid chief executive of a U.S. nonprofit art institution last year, with a total compensation package [including benefits and expense allowance] of $1.7 million in 2007."I did searches on "art," "gallery" and "museum," regarding salaries (not counting any other perks), and … [Read more...]

Museum of Arts and Design: An Irreverent Slideshow

Brad Cloepfil, architect of the Museum of Arts and Design (alias MAD)I've just learned a new tech trick. Click here to see my captioned slideshow of the Museum of Arts and Design. As you will see, both the museum and my slideshow have some foibles. I don't know why the photos look blurrier than they would if I merely posted them on the blog, and I can't eliminate the ad that appears on the top. The slideshow is hosted free on a website (not ArtsJournal) that inserts its own advertising. When you access the slideshow, you have to scroll down a … [Read more...]

Critical Meltdown: Ouroussoff Recommends Demolition for Cloepfil’s Just-Completed Museum of Arts and Design

Nicolai OuroussoffNY Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff, in his review for tomorrow's NY Times "Arts & Leisure" section (online today), demonstrates astoundingly meanspirited wrongheadedness: He puts the brand new Museum of Arts and Design at the end of his top-seven list of New York City buildings that he believes ought to be "candidates for demolition."It's time to demolish Ouroussoff.A previous Nicolai review bordered on critical malpractice: In May, he presumptuously instructed Renzo Piano to clad his new Whitney Downtown … [Read more...]

MoMA Conquers Curator-Devouring Second Floor, Makes Plans for Nouvel’s Mega-Tower CORRECTED

Alejandro Puente, "Everything Goes," 1968-70, New AcquisitionThe Museum of Modern Art's latest installation of contemporary works from its collection, Here is Every, has fallen below the critical radar. But it's the best of the five deployments of its contemporary forces since the Taniguchi-designed museum expansion opened almost four years ago. It's also the most visitor-friendly use of the cavernous second-floor gallery. All of this is largely due to the skills of the museum's overworked and estimable curator of drawings (and everything … [Read more...]

Art Revolt: Should the Queen’s Collection Be Liberated?

The Guardian's Jonathan JonesJonathan Jones, in his blog for the British Guardian newspaper, has a beef with the Queen.In his post today, Someone should rescue this royal loot (pegged to the upcoming Buckingham Palace exhibition, Bruegel to Rubens: Masters of Flemish Painting), he declares:The fact is, the exhibitions at the Queen's Gallery are just public relations. The whole place exists to justify a collection that makes no rational sense....How does it really add one iota to the prestige of the British monarchy to maintain an art collection … [Read more...]

G. Wayne Clough and the Problem of Smithsonian Donor Influence

G. Wayne Clough in his Georgia Tech daysA donor might want programming input---there is always going to be that element of nuance there. You have to understand the dangers and the possibilities.So said G. Wayne Clough, the new secretary of the Smithsonian, in his recent interview with the NY Times' Robin Pogrebin.The only "possibility" that can emerge from allowing patrons to influence museum programs is trouble, as the Smithsonian should well know by now after the many embarrassing controversies that ensued from allowing undue donor meddling. … [Read more...]

Guggenheim Anoints Armstrong; Peter Lewis Jabs Tom Krens UPDATED

Waiting to speak at yesterday's Guggenheim ribbon-cutting ceremoney, left to right: Tom Krens, Peter Lewis, Mayor Bloomberg, Jennifer Blei Stockman (Guggenheim board president)Both parts of the above headline are akin to "Dog Bites Man": They are so expected as to be hardly news at all. But for the record, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has just made the expected official announcement: Its board voted to appoint Richard Armstrong as its next director, effective Nov. 4. That means he'll be leaving his directorship of the Carnegie Museum of … [Read more...]

Audio’s Up: Listen to My WNYC Appraisal of the New Museum of Arts and Design

Here are my comments that were aired early this morning on New York Public Radio, which has more on its website, including a slideshow of objects. Click the arrow on the left. below, to listen now:There's one small way in which I wish I could fix what I said: In describing Michael Rakowitz's piece, "The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist (Recovered, Missing, Stolen Series)," which I found particularly engrossing, I mentioned both the Middle Eastern food labels that were incorporated into the objects that are part of the ensemble, and the OBJECT … [Read more...]

New York’s Banner Week for Museums: MAD, Whitney, Guggenheim

Jenny Holzer, "For the Guggenheim": one masterpiece meets anotherEverything's happening at once this week in the New York art museum world: ---The opening of the striking new facility for the Museum of Arts and Design (about which I will post more later). The ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Bloomberg is at 11:30 a.m. today. The museum opens to the public Saturday.---The expected easy approval at tomorrow's City Council meeting of the Whitney's downtown expansion project. That's the final step in the unusually opposition-free public review … [Read more...]

My New York Public Radio Commentary on the Museum of Arts and Design This Morning

Edward Durell Stone's 1964 Gallery of Modern Art, aka "The Lollipop Building"In the same spot on Columbus Circle, Brad Cloepfil's Museum of Arts and Design, aka "The 'H' Building," with CNN's offices behind it and Norman Foster's Hearst Tower beside itIf all goes according to plan, you can hear my impressions of the new Museum of Arts and Design this morning at about 6:46 a.m. on New York Public Radio, WNYC, 93.9 FM. Or you can listen to me live on the web here, by clicking the red arrow in the lefthand column. Architect Brad Cloepfil has … [Read more...]

NBC’s Art of NY Times Product Placement: Is Alec Baldwin the New Jeremy Piven?

It's a wrap: NY Times enveloped in NBC-TV adsNY Times subscribers awoke this morning to a strange hybrid on their doorsteps: Three of the five sections of the paper were encased in ads for NBC-TV's new season, which usurped both sides of each section's back page (as well as the page facing the inside back page) and flapped over to the front (above). In addition, the bottom of the front page of each section sported a large color-coordinated banner ad.Only Page One of the first section and Metro section were (mercifully) spared. But wait! Who's … [Read more...]

Press Conference Podcast: Tom Campbell’s Views on Antiquities and Contemporary Art at the Met

I've just returned from a full-day audio-editing workshop at my alma mater---Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism---so I couldn't restrain myself from bringing you these soundbites excerpted (and spliced together) from Tom Campbell's press conference that occurred the day after he was named to become the next director of the Metropolitan Museum.Here, he (sort of) addresses questions about two hot-button issues bedeviling the Met: the handling of antiquities controversies (my question) and the role of contemporary art at the museum … [Read more...]

Sid Bass and MoMA’s Dark Night of Van Gogh

Sid Bass, amateur art critic and MoMA vice chairman, at the press previewDo we really need another van Gogh show?If the show in question is Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night, opening Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art, the answer is probably no. Will it be a blockbuster? Probably yes.Nothwithstanding the fact that Roberta Smith in her favorable take on this focus exhibition (for today's NY Times) calls it "an anti-blockbuster," her review is, at this writing, Number One on the paper's "most e-mailed" list for arts stories. One assumes … [Read more...]

The Launch of Haunch of Venison: Museums Go Commercial

New York's new commercial gallery has some major museums in the bag. Memo to the Albright-Knox Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, Smith College Museum, Blanton Museum, Rose Art Museum, Neuberger Museum, Montclair Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Nasher Collection and Berkeley Art Museum: What are you thinking? The above-listed American museums, not to mention the Tate in London, and the Kröller-Müller in Otterlo, have lent their … [Read more...]

“Beautiful Inside My Wallet”: London Sunday Times, WSJ Have First and Last Words on Hirst Sales

The scene at Sotheby's, LondonNo matter what the NY Times and Bloomberg are telling you today, Damien Hirst's self-titled $200.75-million two-day auction, "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," did NOT achieve results that exceeded its presale estimate (notwithstanding what Sotheby's asserted in its postsale press release, dutifully echoed by many scribes). I've previously explained the results for Monday's evening sale, which fell within estimate but were reported otherwise. The day sales at Sotheby's, London, which evinced hardly any signs of … [Read more...]

Dead Shark Postmortem: Ramifications and Misinterpretations of the Hirst Auctions

Oliver Barker wielding the Hirst hammer yesterday at Sotheby'sThere are two widely held misconceptions about yesterday's Hirst auction: I had predicted in my last post that reporters would misleadingly claim that the auction had exceeded its presale estimate, because they would make the apples-to-oranges comparison between the sale total INCLUDING the buyer's premium and the total presale estimate, which predicts hammer total, NOT including the premium.What I hadn't foreseen is that Sotheby's itself, in its post-sale report, would promote the … [Read more...]

Hirst Auction a Paradigm-Smashing Success UPDATED

Peace Offering? "After the Flood," the final lot in today's Hirst saleWild whoops, mad applause (including claps from auctioneer Oliver Barker directed towards the deep-pocketed attendees). What more can one say?Sotheby's Hirst sale results are already online here, with the auction just concluded. The sale totaled $127.26 million (with buyer's premium); bidding on only nine of the 56 works fell below their presale estimates and only two of those failed to find a buyer. Apparently dead flies are an unpopular subject. Old cigarette butts are … [Read more...]

Sotheby’s Hirst Auction Off to Rip-Roaring Start UPDATED

Live-blogging the Sotheby's Hirst auction webcast. (I'm not taking the time now to convert to dollars.)"Thank you SO-O-O-O much!" the auctioneer exclaimed at the £8.5 million bid on the newly hatched Hirst shark, "Kingdom," that had been estimated at £4-6 million. The Black Sheep was less coveted, at £2.3 million (est. £2-3 million). The highest-estimated work and likely top lot in the ongoing sale, The Golden Calf (Lot 13 of 56) was knocked down at £9.2 million, within its £8-12 million estimate. The auction record for Hirst going into this … [Read more...]

NY Times Rewrites “Hirst Goes for Broke” Headline

Quick! Get me rewrite!That's what someone must have bellowed in the newsroom (or at Sotheby's) when they saw the headline on Carol Vogel's initial online version (on the International Herald Tribune's website) of her pre-Hirst auction piece, which I linked to a little after midnight today. By the time you read this, I would not be surprised if the IHT has taken down its original version---"Damien Hirst Goes for Broke at Sotheby's."Now the headline is: Up for Auction: Damien Hirst's Big New Risk in the IHT; Damien Hirst's Next Sensation: … [Read more...]

Hirst’s Audacious Auction: Coming to You Today, Live From London

Lot 9: Hirst's "Black Sheep" to the slaughter?Pass the formaldehyde and sacrifice your cows and sheep as propitiatory offerings to the capricious artworld gods. Today, apprehensive art-lings, is the day when Damien Hirst goes for broke and, some believe, may take the contemporary art market along with him.You can watch Slaughter on New Bond Street from the comfort of your own computer via Sotheby's live webcast, here at 2 p.m., New York time. (It's a 7 p.m. sale in London.)If I had linked to all the articles in the past several weeks that have … [Read more...]

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