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Archives for May 2012

Weiwei in Washington? Hirshhorn Applies for Ai’s Visa to Attend His Exhibition

Mami Kataoka, chief curator, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and originator of "Ai Weiwei: According to What?" (coming Oct. 7 to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden) Photo by Lee Rosenbaum The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, which is currently displaying Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals in its sculpture garden, has applied for a visa to allow the Chinese dissident artist to assist in the installation and to attend the opening of the survey exhibition, Ai Weiwei: According to What?, Oct. 7-Feb. 24. In response to my recent query, the museum said … [Read more...]

Iran Pollock Update: Back at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art

Jackson Pollock, "Mural on Indian Red Ground," 1950, Tehran Museum of Contemporary ArtOn Friday I reported that the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art's Pollock masterpiece, "Mural on Indian Red Ground," 1950, having returned from a Pollock retrospective in Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan, was being held by Iran's customs service because of what Agence France-Presse reported as an "undeclared debt" allegedly owed to the government by cultural authorities.Now this just in from Helen Harrison, director of the the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, … [Read more...]

Ticketing Glitch: Barnes Foundation Apologizes to Visitors for Chaotic Opening UPDATED WITH PHOTO

Entry doors from the Light Court to the Barnes Foundation's galleries  during the less crowded press preview. Below: Reader's photo taken during an overbooked day.Photo by Lee RosenbaumI'll let the Barnes Foundation's own Facebook page entry, posted yesterday, speak for itself:Dear Patrons, It has been brought to our attention [didn't they observe it firsthand?] that many of you had a less than ideal first experience at the Barnes. Due to a glitch in our ticketing system, our [free-admission] visiting hours were overbooked, resulting in … [Read more...]

Iran’s Pollock Masterpiece Seized Upon Return from Japan UPDATED

Exhibition catalogue page for the star attraction of Japan's recent Jackson Pollock: A Centennial Retrospective Photos by Lee Rosenbaum. Video by Helen Harrison [UPDATE: here] Usually, when a loaned masterpiece gets returned unscathed, all is well. But in yet another blow to cultural exchange, a highly important Jackson Pollock, "Mural on Indian Red Ground," 1950, although arriving safely in Iran after having been loaned to two Japanese museums by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, did not make it back to its home museum. In a … [Read more...]

Critical Reverence for the New Barnes Foundation, Plus My Irreverent Photo Essay (and video)

The celebrated Matisse "Dance" mural in the Barnes Foundation's main gallery, obscured by modern lighting fixtures. (A better view can be had from the balcony on the upper level.) [More on the Barnes, here, here and here.] I'm coming to terms with the fact that mine is a minority view regarding the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. My downbeat mourning is out of step with the manic acclaim from major critics (except for Lance Esplund, who published a scathing, astute review on Bloomberg today, joining me and LA Times writers … [Read more...]

My Huffington Post Piece: “Bogus Barnes Foundation: Fake Galleries, Phony Populism”

Dark night of the BarnesPhoto by Lee RosenbaumI've already touched on some aspects of my reaction to the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, here and here. But I've saved my lead piece---Bogus Barnes Foundation: Fake Galleries, Phony Populism---for the more widely read Huffington Post. It's just gone up this evening on the site.So take an early look at my exploration of how the new Barnes has not only betrayed the core value of museums ("to defend the glory of the original against the taint of the spurious"), but has also failed, thus far, … [Read more...]

“Opera News” Kerfuffle: Reviews Will Continue (but are there strictures?)

For those who have been following the fracas over Opera News' decision to stop reviewing Metropolitan Opera productions, this just in from the Met's press office:Opera News Will Continue to Review Metropolitan Opera Productions In view of the outpouring of reaction [my links, not theirs] from opera fans about the recent decision to discontinue Met performance reviews in Opera News, the Met has decided to reverse this new editorial policy. From their postings on the internet, it is abundantly clear that opera fans would miss reading reviews … [Read more...]

Rorschach Test: New AAMD President Takes Office Amidst Foreign-Loan Controversy

Kimerly Rorschach, incoming president of the Association of Art Museum DirectorsThere's going to be no honeymoon period for the new president of the Association of Art Museum Directors. Kim Rorschach, the director of the Nasher Museum, Duke University, takes the reigns from Peabody Essex Museum director Dan Monroe at the association's annual meeting, now in progress in Chicago. AAMD was a prime mover in crafting a now controversial bill, passed by the House and pending in the Senate, that would strengthen the longstanding principle that … [Read more...]

Federal Court Finds California Resale Royalties Act Unconstitutional

Overthrowing Royalty: Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen The U.S. District Court, Central District of California, struck down the California Resale Royalties Act (CRRA) on Thursday, saying that it violated the U.S. Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause. This handed a victory to Sotheby's and Christie's, which had sought dismissal of lawsuits brought against them by several artists (including Chuck Close) and estates of artists (including Sam Francis). The plaintiffs were seeking royalty payments that they said were owed to them by the auction … [Read more...]

MeTube: Scenes (and thoughts) from the Barnes Foundation’s Preview

Top of the Barnes (behind Philadelphia's Free Library): Green roof on the right. Gallery mock-ups on the left, where monitors measure the sunlight and help regulate the lighting in the galleries below. In the middle, a cantilevered light box (now renamed a "canopy") that admits filtered and diffused illumination into the sprawling event space below. Entrance to the facility is on the far right, at the opposite side of the building from the gallery wing.All photos by Lee RosenbaumToday was dedication day at the new Barnes Foundation in … [Read more...]

MeTube: The Long, Winding Road to the New Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia

I'll be en route back home today from my sojourn at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. It was, for me, a sad journey from the moment that I arrived at the new home for Albert Barnes' superlative collection of Impressionist, post-Impressionist and early modern art (among many more objects from world cultures).As you'll see in the video, below, access to an institution that purports to provide new accessibility to the masses (a dubious claim, given its $18 admission fee) is a convoluted trek past forbidding, stark walls that block views to … [Read more...]

MeTube with Helen Harrison: More on the Pollock-Orozco Show at Dartmouth

Part of the newly re-lit Orozco mural, "The Epic of American Civilization," at Dartmouth's Baker LibraryVery belatedly (and in haste, because I'm preparing for my imminent trip to see the new Philly Barnes), I wanted to fulfill my promise (scroll down) to elaborate on my Wall Street Journal piece of earlier this month---Becoming Jackson Pollock---by providing some related images, additional commentary, and a CultureGrrl Video, below."Men of Fire," the show I reviewed at the Hood Museum, Dartmouth, provides an needed counterweight to the … [Read more...]

Goshen’s Rudolph Building Gets Reprieve (plus my video from the legislative debate)

The Paul Rudolph-designed Orange County Government Center, now closed All photos by Lee Rosenbaum Having attended the Orange County Legislators' meeting last week, I now have a better understanding of the arguments on the pro-demolition side in the controversy over the Paul Rudolph-designed Orange County Government Center (OCGC) in Goshen, NY. At the end of lengthy discussion, including a public comment period and extensive legislative debate (excepted in my CultureGrrl Video, below), proponents of a knockdown garnered a narrow 11-10 … [Read more...]

Photo Op: My Jill Krementz Moment at Met’s Schiaparelli/Prada Preview (plus Philadelphia Museum news)

CultureGrrl awaiting remarks at the Metropolitan Museum's Prada/Schiaparelli preview Photo © Jill Krementz I admit it. I love it when roving photographer Jill Krementz takes my photo. (She is also responsible for my blog logo-photo at the upper right, taken at the Museum of Modern's Art's de Kooning retrospective.) This time, I'm in her New York Social Diary piece on the Met's press preview for its Prada/Schiaparelli show. You can see me (detail of that photo, above) just after the introductory images of some of the attending … [Read more...]

Bacon and Record Lichtenstein Top Sotheby’s Solid but Stolid Contemporary Sale

Lichtenstein, "Sleeping Girl," 1964, sold at Sotheby's tonight for $44.88 million, an auction record for the artistAs I had predicted (at the end of this post), the balance of power between the Big Two auction houses shifted at the contemporary sales this week (compared with last week's Impressionist/modern sales). It was all a matter of who had the best consignments.Sotheby's, which triumphed in its "Scream"-headlined sale last Wednesday, tonight phoned in a humdrum contemporary sale, compared with Christie's Rothko-ignited fireworks of the … [Read more...]

Semi-Retirement of Christopher Burge (plus museum-related news from Christie’s sale) CORRECTED

Christopher Burge, Christie's honorary chairman, as seen in the webcast of last night's auctionIt seems that Christie's won't have the services of last night's triumphant veteran auctioneer, Christopher Burge, at next fall's big evening sales of Impressionist/modern and contemporary art. In response to my request for further clarification about what Burge last night had called his "last outing," Christie's head of public relations, Toby Usnik, told me that the salesroom maestro "has not scheduled another auction for this year but we are certain … [Read more...]

Christie’s Manic Night: Rockefeller Rothko Supplanted by Pincus Rothko as Record-Holder

New Champion: Rothko, "Orange, Red, Yellow," 1961, $86.88 million, sold at Christie's Photo by Lee Rosenbaum, taken at the presale exhibition Forget about the Rockefeller Rothko. Now it's the Pincus Rothko (from the estate of collector David Pincus, the late Philadelphia menswear mogul) that holds the auction record not only for a Rothko but also for any work of contemporary art, at an astonishing $86.88 million. To my eyes, more than David Rockefeller's pretty pink, yellow and white confection, this pulsating red picture was everything … [Read more...]

Perils of Prada: Met’s Accident-Prone House-of-Mirrors Installation

Miuccia Prada (in yellow cap) chats with Metropolitan Museum director Tom Campbell (left), while the model for the title character of "The Devil Wears Prada," Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (wearing Prada, of course), looks on (at right), at today's press preview"My salvation was stumbling into fashion," says fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, resurrected from the grave (in the guise of actress Judy Davis) in the introductory gallery of the Metropolitan Museum's Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (May 10-Aug. 19). You too may … [Read more...]

My “Scream” Soundbite on Norwegian TV

You've seen me on Finnish TV (here and here). Now how about Norwegian TV? This clip, seen on an afternoon news program of Norway's TV2, was taken at Sotheby's on Apr. 27, at the press preview for the auction of Munch's "The Scream." My 16-seconds-of-fame (wherein I presciently predicted that "The Scream" would break the auction record for any work of art) begins at about 0.56:Now if only American TV interviewers found me as telegenic as Scandinavians apparently do! … [Read more...]

First Reviews of New Philly Barnes Are In: Philadelphia Inquirer, Vanity Fair

Inga Saffron, architecture critic, Philadelphia InquirerFirst reviews are always highly important. They are often very influential in setting the tone of the future conversation. And now the early reviews of the Barnes are in.The Philadelphia Inquirer was given an advance look and the finished facility, and flooded the zone with architecture writer Inga Saffron, cultural reporter Stephan Salisbury and art critic Edward Sozanski (here, here and here, respectively). As the newspaper of record for the Barnes Foundation's new home city, the … [Read more...]

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