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Archives for December 2010

Reinstalled Art at “New” BMFA: My Irreverent Slideshow (and video)

Light Fright: Great view of Washington's horse. Not-so-great view of George.(This photo was taken without flash.)With all this talk lately about Museums 2.0 and "apps," I've been inspired to inaugurate CultureGrrl 2.0 with a new technological innovation. (Well, it's new for me, anyway, but I'm a late adopter.) I'm also pleased to note that Arianna Huffington's much discussed (above-linked) "Museums 2.0" column has now been transformed by Copy Editing 1.0. (The gaffes that I noted in my post about Huff's post have now been corrected.)By now, … [Read more...]

BlogBack: Bill Ivey, Former NEA Chairman, on the “Hide/Seek” Flap (plus NPG&#146s “unlisted” video)

William IveyBill Ivey, director of Vanderbilt University's Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy and chairman, from 1998 to 2001, of the National Endowment for the Arts, defends my criticized take on the "Hide/Seek" show at the National Portrait Gallery:I believe that the display of value-challenging art in publically-funded environments can never be executed without some willingness to compromise. Those who take absolutist positions often seem to have something other than a happy outcome in mind, as inflammatory language only … [Read more...]

Huffington&#146s Post: Are “Museums 2.0” a No-Go? UPDATED TWICE

Arianna HuffingtonArianna Huffington's art-related post on her eponymous news-and-commentary website has been lighting up links around the art blogosphere, partly because people are pleasantly surprised that this new-media titan cares enough about museums to write about them.In her post, Museums 2.0: What Happens When Great Art Meets New Media?, Arianna argues:The danger of social media becoming the point of social media---connection for connection's sake, connection to no end---is one museum's [sic] need to particularly guard against.Where are … [Read more...]

Hits and Misses: NY Times as House Organ for the Met

Cézanne, "Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory," 1891, Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe journalistic benefits and pitfalls of the NY Times' de facto status as house organ for the Metropolitan Museum have recently been demonstrated not only by what the newspaper has published (yet another Met-related scoop, thanks to privileged treatment from the museum) but also, much more problematically, by what it hasn't published."Philip IV," the painting that the Times, in last week's front-page story, breathlessly described as a "vindicated" Velázquez, I … [Read more...]

Met&#146s Lackluster Velázquez Rediscovery: “Exceptionally High Quality”?

I was sufficiently excited by the NY Times' front-page treatment last Monday of the Metropolitan Museum's second recently "rediscovered" Velázquez to rush right over to see it the next day.The rest of the world, apparently, was in no such hurry:Velázquez, "Philip IV," probably 1624, installed to the left of the glass door In fact, aside from handing the story to Carol Vogel of the Times, the Met itself seems to be in no great rush to tout its "vindicated Velázquez" (as the Times' headline has dubbed it). No press release has been issued at this … [Read more...]

BlogBacks: The Twitterati and David Ross on “Hide/Seek”

David Ross, chairman, MFA in Art Practice, School of Visual Arts, New YorkThe twitterati have been piling on me (retweeting an ARTnews magazine tweet), over one comment in CultureGrrl's Friday post that took issue with Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post. He had called for the resignation of the Secretary of the Smithsonian over the "Hide/Seek" affair and stated that G. Wayne Clough's decision to remove David Wojnarovicz's video from the National Portrait Gallery's show had "ignited fury in the museum world."I had responded:While some … [Read more...]

Roy Neuberger, Mega-Collector and Museum Patron, Dies UPDATED

Roy Neuberger, receiving National Medal of Arts from President Bush in 2007Roy Neuberger, who greatly enriched major museums with works from his pioneering American contemporary art collection, died yesterday at the age of 107. In 1974 he inaugurated the Neuberger Museum at Purchase College, New York, with a donation of 108 works and a mandate to support the work of contemporary artists. Here's his official bio, released by the his eponymous museum: In 1928...Mr. Neuberger seized upon his guiding principle: to support living artists by … [Read more...]

WaPo Kennicott&#146s Bad Call on Clough&#146s Call: Seeing “Hide/Seek” in Black/White UPDATED

Philip Kennicott, Washington Post culture critic [UPDATE: In my original post, I neglected to link to Kennicott's article.] Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post jumps off the deep end of irrationality today by calling for the resignation of Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough over his decision to remove David Wojnarovicz's "A Fire in My Belly" from the National Portrait Gallery's "Hide/Seek" exhibition. This debatable removal of one clip---which even Kennicott describes as "an unfinished work that was not among Wojnarowicz's … [Read more...]

News Blackout: Whitney Downtown&#146s Not-Ready-for-Primetime Fly-Through Video

The Whitney Museum's entertaining fly-through video of its planned new downtown facility, presented Monday by director Adam Weinberg to the Art and Institutions Committee of Manhattan Community Board 2, was a big hit yesterday on CultureGrrl (and, presumably, also on Curbed). It was posted to YouTube (and available for embedding on other websites) by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.Now, anyone who tries to view that video sees this:If you click on the arrow, you'll see, "This video has been removed by the user."I feel … [Read more...]

MeTube: Outdoors Ramble Around the Expanded BMFA—Part II

The tripartite façade of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' new Norman Foster-designed wingIn yesterday's video of my hike around the perimeter of the old and new Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I left you hanging when things were starting to get interesting---at the emergence, around the east corner of the original building's façade, of a view of the new Norman Foster-designed wing for the Art of the Americas.Let's now continue our journey and parse the architecture. We'll end our tour with a view of the splendid-looking building that the museum has … [Read more...]

Agnes Gund Named to National Council on the Arts

Agnes Gund, while sitting opposite Marina Abramović at the Museum of Modern ArtPhoto: Marco AnelliWith President Obama's announcement today that he is nominating Agnes Gund to the National Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts will have at least one member on its advisory body with substantial visual arts creds. Gund is president emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art, as well as a major art collector and philanthropist. (Phoenix Art Museum director James Ballinger's term on the council expires this year. Gund's, if approved by … [Read more...]

MeTube: Outdoors Ramble Around the Expanded BMFA—Part I

Entrance to BMFA's 1981 I.M. Pei-designed West Wing, now open only for groups and handicapped visitorsNow that you've flown through the planned Downtown Whitney, it's time to hike around the vast perimeter of the completed (at least for now) Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which last month opened its 121,307-square-foot, Norman Foster-designed Art of the Americas Wing. As CultureGrrl readers may remember, I did a U-turn on the highway during my fall-folliage trip to the press preview for the BMFA's expansion, because our home-hospice nurse called … [Read more...]

Wanna Glide Through Renzo Piano&#146s New Whitney Downtown? UPDATED

Now you can!Architect Renzo Piano's rendering of the planned new Whitney DowntownListen to Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg narrate the video below, giving a preview of the brave new Whitney. (Groundbreaking: May 24) The clip was produced despite Renzo Piano's usual distaste for fly-throughs, Weinberg told the local Community Board on Monday. He confided that the floors will be wood (not studio-style concrete, as they appear below). The ceilings will also be different.These cavernous spaces look suitable for monumental works, but we can … [Read more...]

Just Posted: My New Huffington Post “Hide/Seek” Piece

Dept. of Damage Control---Has anyone noticed the unfortunate similarity in these two logos? Let the sunshine in!My second Huffington Post opinion piece (here's the first) on the "Hide/Seek" controversy---"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": A Useful Policy for the "Hide/Seek" Show at National Portrait Gallery---argues that over-the-top words and actions of the defenders of David Wojnarovicz's (curator-altered) video make sense only if they want to provoke an equal and opposite reaction, touching off a full-blown Culture War. What I didn't say in my latest … [Read more...]

BlogBacks: Curator Katz on His Video Alterations; CultureGrrl Readers on Gay-Themed Museum Shows

Jonathan Katz, co-curator of the National Portrait Gallery's hot-button show, responds to "Hide/Seek" Flap: "Silence = Death (but so does intemperate rhetoric):While I can in no way object to your excoriating me for my rhetoric, I can and will object to your sly rhetorical shift from critiquing my passion to insinuating that I did a kind of curatorial violence to David Wojnarowicz's work. The film existed in a 13-minute version and a 7-minute version--neither definitive. In short, I edited an unfinished piece, one that might have assumed a very … [Read more...]

Transparency Gap: Minneapolis Institute Refuses to Discuss Greek Hot Pot

Left: A Polaroid from the files of convicted antiquities trafficker Giacomo Medici of dirt-encrusted Athenian Red-figure volute krater, attributed to the Methyse Painter, 460-450 B.C. Right: Photo of the spiffed-up krater, Minneapolis Institute of ArtsAs CultureGrrl readers may remember, Kaywin Feldman, director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, recently shot off a letter to the editor of the NY Times, taking exception to the paper's Repatriating Tut editorial that criticized museums' … [Read more...]

Boston MeTube: My BMFA Hanukkah with Curator George Shackelford

When you enter the vast, sunlit Shapiro Family Courtyard (above) in the new Norman Foster-designed wing of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, you can walk straight back to the entrance of the new Art of the Americas wing......or turn to your right, to enter Art of the Ancient World:...or turn left to the Art of Europe:Under the radar in the excitement over the opening of the museum's much anticipated Art of the Americas wing is the renovation and reinstallation that has just begun in the European galleries. George Shackelford, chair of the … [Read more...]

“Hide/Seek” Flap: “Silence = Death” (but so does intemperate rhetoric)

Act Up (Gran Fury), "Neon Sign (Silence = Death)" from "Let the Record Show," 1987, New MuseumThere was a moment when I cringed while sitting in the NY Public Library's auditorium beside the National Portrait Gallery's director, Martin Sullivan, listening to his curators discuss the NPG's controversial "Hide/Seek" show. It was a supremely quotable moment that I didn't manage to capture on video, nor did I publish those comments in this post. I had recoiled because it seemed to me that far from serving the cause of furthering exhibitions on gay … [Read more...]

MeTube: Curators and Director Discuss “Hide/Seek” Controversy in NYC

Martin Sullivan, director of National Portrait Gallery, sitting next to me at NY Public Library discussion of "Hide/Seek" (to his left, NY Times art writer Kate Taylor, clutching her laptop) I don't have a nose for news. News has a nose for me! While I sat second-row-center in the New York Public Library's auditorium, waiting for the start of last night's discussion about "Hide/Seek"---the exhibition and the controversy---who should happen to sit down next to me but Martin Sullivan, the man at the center of this firestorm. The director of … [Read more...]

MeTube: Rose Art Museum (and its former director) in Recovery Mode

Friday brought the news that Michael Rush, whose embattled directorship at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University ended on June 30, 2009, has landed firmly on his feet as the newly appointed founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, scheduled to open in 2012. The university's president, Lou Anna Simon, described Rush as the "essential missing piece" for the new facility, complementing its deep-pocketed, eponymous sponsors and world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid.Michael Rush, founding director, … [Read more...]

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