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Archives for July 2010

Rose Blows: Rosenquist Pulls Out of Brandeis Commitment

Brandeis in the fallBrandeis University's embattled Rose Art Museum finds itself without a fall show...again.The Boston Globe reported today that James Rosenquist suddenly had second thoughts about supplying his works for a one-man show that had been hastily scheduled at the embattled museum after three other artists---Bill Viola, Eric Fischl and April Gornik---had abruptly pulled out of an exhibition of their works that had been scheduled to open in September. Their decision had been a gesture of protest against Brandeis' refusal to renounce … [Read more...]

“Portrait of Wally’s” Unveiling: Tearful, Joyful Reunion of Lea Bondi’s Descendants

The stage is set: Photo of Lea Bondi[More on the settlement, here and here.]The lobby of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York had the festive air of a Bar Mitzvah reception, sans liquor and hors d'oeuvres, with perhaps 50 farflung Bondis from all generations reuniting for the ceremony celebrating the $19-million settlement from the Leopold Museum, Vienna, to the heirs of Lea Bondi Jaray, the Austrian Jew from whom Egon Schiele's "Portrait of Wally" was wrongfully expropriated by the Nazis in 1939. Although aware of the dangers of staying … [Read more...]

Warhol’s Zero Minutes of Fame at Pittsburgh Airport (video) & Warhol Museum’s Most X-Rated Show

What did I do on my summer work-cation (which limited my posting last week)? I was part of a press group escorted by Tom Sokolowski, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, through a tour of his Downtown Pittsburgh institution: The most important temporary display, which Sokolowski left us with too little time to explore on our own, analyzed a match made in heaven (much more so than Picasso/Degas)—a show entitled Twisted Pair: Marcel Duchamp/Andy Warhol, curated by Matt Wrbican, the museum’s archivist. Included were a canny juxtaposition … [Read more...]

Deaccession Confusion: Mixed Messages from AAMD

Janet Landay, AAMD's executive director: Who's in charge here?This appears to be a case of the left side of the mouth not knowing what the right side is saying:As I reported on Monday, Kaywin Feldman, the new president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, stated in her July President's Message, posted on AAMD's website, that member institutions (including her own Minneapolis Institute of Arts) "are posting lists of objects to be [emphasis added] deaccessioned on their websites." In other words, the public would get a heads-up in advance … [Read more...]

BlogBack: Minneapolis Institute of Arts on Deaccession Transparency

Anne-Marie Wagener, director of press and PR at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), responds to AAMD Tweets Again: President Feldman's Inaugural Missive:Just to let you know that you are correct in saying that the MIA does not have any deaccessions posted online. That's because we do not currently have any deaccessions in the queue. In Kaywin's letter she did say that the MIA, along with other museums, will post lists of deaccessioned objects in future and that's exactly the process we're in now. We have a Collections Development Plan … [Read more...]

AAMD Tweets (again): President Feldman’s Inaugural Missive UPDATED

Kaywin FeldmanHaving dipped its toes into the roiling social-media waters with its AAMDIndy tweets (which chronicled last month's annual meeting), the Association of Art Museum Directors recently launched a permanent MuseumDirectors page on Twitter. At this writing, it features only one substantive tweet---a link to Kaywin Feldman's first president's letter. That missive includes an important nugget of information that was news to me. Feldman writes:Many museums, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where I work, are posting lists of … [Read more...]

“Portrait of Wally” Freed: $19-Million Settlement to Nazi Victim’s Heirs

Egon Schiele, "Portrait of Wally," 1912It's getting to be a familiar scenario: After years of legal wrangling, a cultural-property dispute gets settled in favor of the claimants, right on the brink of the trial date. It happened last year, when the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum settled with the heirs of Paul and Elsa von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the Nazi-era owners of two major Picassos---MoMA's "Boy Leading a Horse" and the Guggenheim's "Le Moulin de la Galette."And now Herrick, Feinstein, a preeminent law firm in restitution … [Read more...]

“The Gross Clinic’s” Startling Restoration: Before-and-After Photos of Eakins’ Masterpiece CLARIFIED

[CLARIFICATION: Due to the Philadelphia Museum's inaccurate characterizations of the images that it originally sent me, my comparative analysis, below, of "The Gross Clinic," before and after conservation, is in error. For my clarifying post, with the correct before-and-after images, please go here.]This is going to take some getting used to.Thomas Eakins' celebrated "The Gross Clinic," purchased jointly for $68 million in 2007 by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, is being returned to public view on … [Read more...]

HuffPuff: My Further Matisse Musings for the Huffington Post

Over at HuffPost Arts, I've amplified a bit on my recent CultureGrrl post about the Museum of Modern Art's new Matisse show. I included a couple of additional photos and quoted from the conclusion of curator John Elderfield's remarks to the press, which got cut off at the end of my CultureGrrl Video.When I opened my July 26 issue of the New Yorker today, I was amused to find Peter Schjeldahl's review of the show accompanied by a huge, across-the-fold image of the same painting that I had caught him staring at during the press preview:Schjeldahl … [Read more...]

Rose Blows: Protest Withdrawal by Three Artists from Brandeis Museum’s Fall Show

On the Outskirts: The Rose Art Museum on the Brandeis campus mapLast Wednesday I reported that Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum had suddenly subbed a Rosenquist exhibition for its previously announced fall show, "Atmospheric Conditions," which was to have featured works by Bill Viola, Eric Fischl and April Gornik. The museum's website had said (and still says, at this writing) that the original show was postponed due to "scheduling conflicts." I suggested last week that this development was "perhaps another sympton of [the Rose's] … [Read more...]

National Endowment’s City Design Grants: The Fallacy of “Great Outcomes”

Rendering of "Culture Shed," a planned new facility for the Hudson Yards redevelopment project on West Side of Manhattan Photo: Diller Scofidio + Renfro/The Rockwell Group In the latest manifestation of his "Art Works" campaign to promote the "arts as an economic engine," Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, yesterday announced 21 grants totaling $3 million awarded through NEA's Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th-anniversary initiative (MICD 25). The grants support "creative placemaking projects that … [Read more...]

MeTube: Elderfield and D’Alessandro Describe “Matisse: Radical Invention”

The Critic Sees: Peter Schjeldahl of the New Yorker ponders Matisse's celebrated "Blue Nude," 1907, from the Baltimore Museum's Cone Collection I felt about Matisse: Radical Invention (which opens to the public on Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art) much as I had felt a month ago about Picasso Looks at Degas (to Sept. 12 at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA). Both high-concept and well received shows were exhaustively researched over the course of five years, involving the close collaboration of a pair of highly respected … [Read more...]

Brandeis Names New President (who endorses Rent-a-Rose)

Frederick Lawrence, Brandeis University's next presidentBrandeis University last week announced the selection of its new president, Frederick Lawrence, George Washington University's Law School dean, who will succeed Jehuda  Reinharz on Jan. 1. Both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe immediately solicited Lawrence's views on the university's Rent-a-Rose plan---a scheme to monetize the Rose Art Museum's collection by renting it out to those willing to pay sums significant enough to help bail the university out of its serious financial … [Read more...]

New Huffington Post Arts Blogger: CultureGrrl

My Huffington blogger headshot (Where's Jill Krementz when I really need her?)Don't worry, art-lings. You will still find CultureGrrl in the same place and in the same irreverent form, on ArtsJournal. I'm just branching out.Some of you are already aware that the Huffington Post has recently added an arts page to its mix. They have invited me to be one of their bloggers, repurposing some of my CultureGrrl musings for a broader audience.My first foray as a Huffington blogger is a slightly reworked post on the dilemmas facing BP-sponsored art … [Read more...]

Single-Collector Museum Shows: CultureGrrl’s Seven Recommended Ethical Guidelines

In its first annual meeting tweeting, the Association of Art Museum Directors revealed on its AAMDIndy Twitter page that it was contemplating "clear protocols and guidelines" for "exhibition of private collections in museums" (likely inspired, in part, by the New Museum's recent controversial "Skin Fruit" show of Dakis Joannou's contemporary collection). Given the usually slow pace of AAMD's deliberations on such matters, I doubt we'll see such guidelines any time soon. And in light of AAMD's previous pronouncements, I have little doubt that … [Read more...]

MeTube: How Museums Influenced Concept for Gehry’s/Tilson Thomas’ Symphony Campus

Michael Tilson Thomas, left, and Frank Gehry, speaking at a recent New York press lunchThose of you who are not just art-lings but also sport-lings are riveted today by a Miami basketball story. But let's take a look at a another major Miami match-up: conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, architect Frank Gehry and the New World Symphony---an educational and performance organization that provides professional training for top graduates from music programs throughout the country. Seeing two photos of the conductor in today's NY Times "Weekend Arts" … [Read more...]

Met’s New Acquisition, New Curator: Late-Breaking News, Broken Late

"The Three Graces," Roman, Imperial period, 2nd century A.D., copy of Greek work from 2nd century B.C., displayed in the Metropolitan Museum's Greek and Roman sculpture courtBack on May 12, CultureGrrl broke some news that the Met has finally confirmed in a press release that hit my inbox very early today: An ancient Roman group statue of great importance and beauty---a depiction of the Three Graces of Greek mythology---has been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was announced today by Thomas P. Campbell, the Museum's … [Read more...]

CultureChat: Single-Collector Museum Shows

Let's get this party started!On its AAMDIndy Twitter page, the Association of Art Museum Directors listed this as one of the hot-button topics to be discussed at last month's annual meeting: Exhibition of private collections in museums: clear protocols and guidelines needed.Nothing more on this has emerged publicly since that meeting, but at least the need has been recognized and maybe will, eventually, be publicly addressed.Let's address it now: What are your views on shows like the recent "Skin Fruit" exhibition of Dakis Joannou's … [Read more...]

CultureChat Reminder: Today’s Live Online Chat at 3:30 p.m.

Please do join me today at 3:30 p.m. for our second online CultureChat: The topic is "Single-Collector Museum Shows"---the upsides and the pitfalls. I've described the kind of issues we''ll be discussing here. You can get an idea of the format of the chat by clicking the replay button for the first CultureChat. The technology is simple and similar to instant messaging: Just type your comments or questions in the box you'll see at the bottom of the page and click "Send." I decide what to post, and I can edit for grammar, coherence or civility, … [Read more...]

The Getty’s Mega-Purchase: $44.94-Million Turner at Sotheby’s UPDATED

J.M.W. Turner, "Modern Rome---Campo Vaccino," 1838-9, just purchased by the GettyIn an e-mail that just hit my inbox, the J. Paul Getty Museum wasted no time in announcing that it today purchased what it called "one of the greatest paintings by Turner to come on the market": "Modern Rome---Campo Vaccino," offered by Sotheby's, London, at today's just concluded evening sale of old masters and British painting. (The Getty's complete announcement is here.)Not reported by the museum was the purchase price---a whopping $44.94 million, an auction … [Read more...]

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