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Archives for September 2011

The Bronx Says Thonx: Kimmelman Invades My Borough

Michael Kimmelman's new Twitter logo photoFrom the refined cultural capitals of Europe to the gritty, unkempt South Bronx? Who would've thunk it?I'm a Bronxite, born and raised---grew up there (in what's now considered part of the South Bronx) and was schooled there (thanks, Bronx Science), until I left our fourth-floor walk-up apartment on the evocatively named Echo Place to head for college in Ithaca, NY. There I discovered that it's possible to wander around at all hours in one's neighborhood (the Cornell campus) without feeling a constant … [Read more...]

Confidence Killer: Broken Links for VIP Art Fair’s “Augmented Platform”

The VIP Art Fair, which fizzled in its inaugural online outing last January, because its online platform was dysfunctional, is trying again: "VIP 2.0" will come to a computer near you on Feb. 3-8, with "major systems upgrades, adding substantial server and bandwidth resources," according to the announcement that just landed in my inbox. "Significant load testing makes us confident [emphasis added] we'll meet peak demand, delivering a flawless, content-rich experience for our exhibitors and visitors."I'm feeling less "confident," though, after … [Read more...]

Clyfford Still Museum’s Sloppy Stewardship: Denver Post Article, City Council Video

Clyfford's auction adventureIf the City of Denver and officials of its Clyfford Still Museum believe that the controversy over their decision to monetize four works from the estate of the artist's widow will quickly die down, Kyle MacMillan, the Denver Post's art critic, is out to prove them wrong. What's more, an online video (not mentioned by the Post) of a Denver City Council committee meeting demonstrates how delusional the city and its museum have been (and continue to be) in their business plan and their handling of the artistic legacy … [Read more...]

Q&A with Carmine Branagan: National Academy Resurrected after Near-Death Experience, Director Unrepentant

Carmine Branagan, director of the National Academy, stands her ground in front of Asher B. Durand's "The Morning of Life," 1840. I wish the National Academy Museum a secure and productive future. And I'm delighted that it is finally back in business, having reopened in its Beaux Arts Huntington Mansion on Sept. 16. (I spoke very briefly Friday about its rebirth on WNYC's All Things Considered.) The Academy had been closed since July 2010 for renovation, under the auspices of architect Jane Stageberg, who stars in a CultureGrrl Video at the … [Read more...]

Part II: Boston MFA Purchases Caillebotte’s Male Nude, Denudes its Permanent Collection

Gustave Caillebotte, "Man at His Bath," 1884 Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (which has acquired it)[Part I is here.]The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is not alone in succumbing to the temptation of "trading up" by liquidating museum-quality works to buy other works deemed more important to the collection. Many have done it; the Museum of Modern Art has done it repeatedly---most notably in acquiring van Gogh's celebrated "Portrait of Joseph Roulin."Boston, which is about to sell eight works from its collection to fund its purchase of … [Read more...]

Homepage Update: Folk Art Museum’s Detailed Report on Its Good-News Day

Currently on display at American Folk Art Museum: "Star of Bethlehem with Satellite Stars Quilt," artist unidentified, possibly Pennsylvania,1930-1950In my post earlier today on the rescue of the American Folk Art Museum (with an update on the Ford Foundation's support here), I stated that its administration's "first order of business" should be updating the museum's website "with an announcement of the good news on its homepage and some information about its plans, going forward."Now that's happened. Here's an excerpt from acting director … [Read more...]

American Folk Art Museum Rescue: Ford Foundation Details Its Support

This just in (in response to my query) from the Ford Foundation:The Ford Foundation is making a one-year, $500,000 grant to the American Folk Art Museum to help secure a strong and vibrant future for this vital New York cultural institution. Our grant will provide support for museum operations, strategic planning, and innovative efforts to ensure that new and diverse audiences access the museum's unparalleled collection. Folk art is a manifestation of the incredible diversity and spirit of America, and the American Folk Art Museum is a cultural … [Read more...]

Getty Gives Back Two More Objects to Greece; New Cooperation Agreement Signed UPDATED

Kinder, Gentler Cuno: James Cuno [left], President and CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust, striking a deal with Pavlos Yeroulanos, Greece's Minister of Culture and Tourism © J. Paul Getty Trust In 2006, when the Getty Trust announced its agreement to return a funerary wreath and a statue  to Greece, it also announced "plans for future collaboration" with that country's Ministry of Culture. This morning, the Getty announced that it will return two more objects to Greece and that the parties have signed a new "memorandum of understanding" that … [Read more...]

Time to Donate: American Folk Art Museum Rescued (for now)

[UPDATE: More details, here.]While there was serious talk of its folding, the American Folk Art Museum couldn't reasonably expect donors who care about its survival to step up to the plate.Now it can.Robin Pogrebin of the NY Times reports:The American Folk Art Museum on Wednesday evening decided to continue operating at its current location at Lincoln Square in Manhattan with the help of financial infusions from trustees and the Ford Foundation.... The museum will try to expand its loans to other New York City museums and to mount traveling … [Read more...]

Boston MFA Purchases Caillebotte’s Male Nude, Denudes its Permanent Collection—Part I

Gustave Caillebotte, "Man at His Bath," 1884, private collection Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (which has acquired it)[Part II is here.]The Boston Museum of Fine Arts this week announced its problematic plan to sell eight works (images below) at Sotheby's this November to fund the purchase of Caillebotte's "Man at His Bath" (above), a rare, nearly life-size Impressionist male nude. The museum's press release describes this candid post-ablution depiction as "one of the greatest works by artist" and "the first Impressionist nude to … [Read more...]

Donor Intent Violation: Sotheby’s to Auction Denver’s Four Clyfford Stills on Nov. 9

Why am I not surprised? This just hit my inbox from Sotheby's:Sotheby's is delighted to announce that four masterworks by the celebrated American Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still will headline the Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. The paintings come from the Estate of Patricia Still and are being sold by the City and County of Denver. They are expected to realize a combined total in excess of $50 million, and are being sold to further support the endowment of the new Clyfford Still Museum, which is scheduled to … [Read more...]

9/11 Memorial Photo Essay: Dispiriting Design, Stark Ambiance

A visitor making a rubbing last week at the 9/11 MemorialAll photos, unless otherwise noted, by Lee Rosenbaum The 9/11 Memorial, on the site of the Twin Towers catastrophe, had a big buildup. But my visit there last week (as shown in the video at the end of this post) was a big letdown.A sense of "spiritual uplift" may be too much to ask of any 9/11 memorial. It was that quality that Eric Gibson, appraising the finished project in last Thursday's Wall Street Journal, said he found lacking. Ground Zero will probably always remain a somber … [Read more...]

Changes at CultureGrrl (again): Elaine de Kooning and Me (and blogroll additions)

Photo © by Jill KrementzSomehow, gremlins (or hackers?) have caused the original version of this post, published early yesterday, to vanish. So, for the record, I'll summarize what I then wrote.The headline refers to the de Kooning painting behind me ("Seated Woman," c. 1940, Philadelphia Museum of Art), a portrait of Elaine Fried, to become Mrs. de Kooning three years later.The "changes" mentioned in the headline refer, in part, to my new CultureGrrl logo-photo, above (and in my middle column), which I'm gratefully using, courtesy of … [Read more...]

Roberta Smith Throws Weight Behind Rescuing the American Folk Art Museum

Roberta Smith, NY Times art critic Better late than never. NY Times art critic Roberta Smith has officially joined the Save the American Folk Art Museum campaign, with a powerful opinion piece (not in today's paper but online now)---As Folk Art Museum Teeters, a Grave Loss Looms. Roberta ends her piece this way: The transfer and dispersal of the collection should be fought to the bitter end, with every ounce of passion and ingenuity that the museum and its supporters can muster. New York, so fabulously full of so many kinds of refined … [Read more...]

Minneapolis Finally Agrees to Return Hot Pot to Italy (plus the Getty’s new Greek vase)

LEFT: A Polaroid from the files of convicted antiquities trafficker Giacomo Medici of a dirt-encrusted Athenian red-figure volute krater, attributed to the Methyse Painter, 460-450 B.C.RIGHT: Photo of the same krater, restored, at the Minneapolis Institute of ArtsWhat took Minneapolis so long?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which since 2005 has known and publicly acknowledged that the past history of its Athenian red-figure volute krater seemed dicey, has finally gotten around to concluding that it should be relinquished to Italy.In a press … [Read more...]

Barnes Foundation Sets Opening Date in Philadelphia

Shattered Legacy: The Barnes Foundation's fragmented new logo, unveiled on its new websiteAt a press conference yesterday, the Barnes Foundation announced that it would open its new Philadelphia facility to the public on May 19. It has also launched a new website. Advance reservations to visit the museum will be accepted beginning Mar. 1. Members can reserve beginning Feb. 1 and get free admission (after paying the membership fee---a minimum of $90). There will be an additional charge for parking in the Barnes' lot.What will be the admission … [Read more...]

A Bent for Rentals? Stephanie Wiles, New Director of Cornell’s Johnson Museum

Rear view of Cornell University's I.M. Pei-designed Johnson Museum of Art, with its new, mostly underground addition (still in construction), at left Photo by Lee Rosenbaum When I told you yesterday about the new addition to Cornell University's Johnson Museum of Art (designed by the I.M. Pei firm and opening Oct. 15), I didn't mention that it's been without a permanent director since June, when long-time director Franklin Robinson retired. This just in: Stephanie Wiles, director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College since … [Read more...]

First Look: Rem Koolhaas’ Architecture for Architects at Cornell University (with video)

Cornell University's new Milstein Hall for architecture studies, designed by Rem Koolhaas All photos (unless otherwise noted) by Lee Rosenbaum It's not entirely finished yet and it's been under the radar in terms of press coverage. But Rem Koolhaas' new Milstein Hall, tucked behind the Arts Quad at Cornell University, has opened for the new school year, providing much needed studio space and meeting areas for students in Cornell University's architecture program. This highly anticipated 47,000-square-foot facility is part of a sudden … [Read more...]

Dept. of Crass 9/11 Promotions: New Yorker Magazine’s Commercial Exploitation

I wouldn't have expected this of the New Yorker.There's been a lot of talk about how to properly commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11, without improperly exploiting it commercially. To my mind, this promotion from the New Yorker, usually an arbiter of good taste, crossed the line into skin-crawl territory: At least they're designating a token 10% of net proceeds from this "special edition" of prints, bearing the image of the New Yorker's Sept. 24, 2001 cover, to benefit the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. In an inadeqate exercise of … [Read more...]

Back-to-School: Art History Department Rankings, Harvard Arts Detractors (plus my flood-challenged Cornell trip)

The new art season is not quite upon us, but the new academic season is. I was incommunicado yesterday while making my way through the flooded Mohawk Valley (and avoiding my usual route through the Susquehanna Valley, where roads were washed out) to get to my alma mater, Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. I'll be seeing some of the starchitects' additions to the campus, while my husband (whom I met in college), is busily planning his next class reunion.I'll have more to say after I return home, assuming I can navigate through the still … [Read more...]

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