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Major News from All Over: Eli Broad, LA MOCA, Cleveland Repatriations, New Manager of Italy’s Museums


If figures that on my birthday, when I wanted to blog lite, there are more major news stories than candles on my cake. (Well, not quite.) I may flesh out some of these later.

But for now:

Bloomberg and the NY Times (on the web only) both report that collector Eli Broad has changed his mind about not opening a museum of his own.

readers will remember that shortly before the opening of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Broad issued a press release, stating:

We have developed a new paradigm by creating a common collection [to be loaned out widely to museums] at The Broad Art Foundation. We would expect that other major collectors might choose a similar route, rather than creating their own museum or donating works to one or several museums.

I guess the paradigm didn’t shift after all.

What I’m still trying to find out is whether Broad has also changed his mind about another important statement he made at the time (reported in my Wall Street Journal article last February about the opening of BCAM):

During our conversation, Mr. Broad responded with an unequivocal “yes”
to my question about whether he would allow BCAM to keep works from his
collection on display for as long as it wished.

—LA MOCA, perhaps this country’s most prescient and perceptive promulgator of the new, apparently has more curatorial than financial acumen. Mike Boehm reports in today’s LA Times that this preeminent contemporary art institution been going through its money faster than you can say “Murakami,” and is now in dire straits. Director Jeremy Strick, according to Boehm, “would not disclose more recent financial figures” than those in the 2007 tax return.

Someone needs to bail this place out (and put better business management in place): Like AIG, it’s too big (and too important) to fail. But if (as Strick declared) they want an infusion of city funds, they need to provide full public disclosure about their current financial position.

—This press release just in from the Cleveland Museum:

After nearly two years of discussions, the Cleveland Museum of Art has agreed to transfer 14 works from its antiquities collection to the Italian Ministry….The Italian Ministry has agreed to loan a similar number of works of equal aesthetic and historical significance from its State collections for study and display in Cleveland.

The two parties have also agreed to organize cooperatively at least one exhibition and create a close association between the Cleveland museum and a cultural institution in Italy for curatorial and research exchanges in areas such as conservation and exhibition design and planning. Discussions between the Cleveland Museum of Art and Italy are anticipated to continue in the coming months to finalize these arrangements prior to the transfer of any objects to Italy

….Sandro Bondi, Minister for Cultural Assets and Activities, and [Timothy] Rub [Cleveland’s director] reached the agreement today at a meeting in Rome and expressed their mutual hope for the success of these collaborative endeavors.

Here’s the list of objects. (Images can be found here.)

Sicilian Plastic Vase in the Form of a Pig, Sicily, provincial Greece, 5th Century BC (ca. 425 BC)

Donkey-Head Rhyton, Greece, 5th Century BC (ca. 475 BC)

Warrior, Sardinia, 9th-8th Century BC (900-700 BC)

Apulian Volute-Krater, Darius Painter (Italian) (ca. 330 BC)

Red-Figure Duck Askos, Italy, probably Chiusi (ancient Clusium), Etruscan, 4th century BC (ca. 350 BC)

Campanian Bird Askos, South Italy, northern Campania, late 4th-ealy 3rd Century BC (ca. 310-280 BC)

Apulian or Campanian Red-Figure Lid with Bowl, South Italy, Apulia, 4th Century BC

Apulian Gnathia Flat-Bodied Epichysis, Italy, Middle Gnathia, 4th Century BC (340-320 BC)

Apulian Gnathia Round-Bellied Epichysis, Italy, Middle Gnathia, 4th Century BC (ca. 340-320 BC)

Apulian Gnathia Lekythos, Italy, Middle Gnathia, 4th Century BC (340-330 BC)

Campanian Red-Figure Acorn Lekythos, South Italy, Campania, 4th Century BC (ca. 350-320 BC)

Column Krater, Greece, Late Early Corinthian-Early Middle Corinthian (ca. 600-590 BC)

Bracelet, pair, Italy, Etruscan, 6th Century BC

Processional Cross, Italian, 14th c AD

—Speaking of Italy, the France-based Art Tribune today reports that an appeal has been sent to international art scholars to express opposition to a plan to exploit Italian museum collections as cash cows (the rent-a-Louvre model), to be implemented by Mario Resca, who has been appointed to the new position of “super manager” for the nation’s museums. The Art Tribune reports that Resca, a friend of Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was “head of McDonald’s
Italy (yes, the hamburger chain) until 2007 and…has since directed
a gambling casino. He of course has no knowledge or experience in
museums or art history.”

an ArtsJournal blog