an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

Archives for July 2012

BlogBack: Richard Doty, Smithsonian&#146s Senior Numismatics Curator, on the Recovery of Huntington&#146s Coins

Elena Stolyarik, the American Numismatic Society's collections manager, serving up a tray of recovered Huntington coins that had been sold in March by the Hispanic Society of AmericaPhoto by Lee RosenbaumRichard Doty, senior curator of numismatics for the Smithsonian Institution's National Numismatic Collection at the National Museum of American History, responds to A Visit to the ANS Vault: American Numismatic Society Sorts the Coins Recovered from the Dispersed Huntington Collection:I'm glad it turned out at least semi-okay. When something … [Read more...]

A Visit to the ANS Vault: American Numismatic Society Sorts the Coins Recovered from the Dispersed Huntington Collection (with video)

Public Access Restored: Visigothic coins from Archer Huntington's collection, sold in March by the Hispanic Society of America, now (thanks to a generous donor) back on long-term loan at American Numismatic Society Photo by Lee Rosenbaum Below is Part II of my CultureGrrl Video report on the American Numismatic Society's triumphal retrieval of more than half of the nearly 38,000 coins it had lost due to their deplorable disposal by their former owner, the Hispanic Society of America. The HSA had placed the coins on long-term loan at the … [Read more...]

News Flash (with video): American Numismatic Society Retrieves Another 9,000 Coins Sold by Hispanic Society

Ute Wartenberg Kagan, executive director, American Numismatic Society, in her New York office Photo by Lee Rosenbaum They've done it again! Last month, I broke the happy news that the American Numismatic Society (ANS) had retrieved about 10,000 of the 37,895 coins from Spain and Spanish-speaking countries that had been on loan to the ANS since 1949 from the Hispanic Society of America (HSA) and integrated with ANS's expansive collection. Now let's break some more happy news: The same anonymous benefactor who purchased the first … [Read more...]

NY Times&#146 Roberta Smith in Denial: Her Improbable Action Plan for LA MOCA&#146s Deitch UPDATED

Roberta Smith, NY Times' co-chief art critic [UPDATE: Paul Schimmel, MOCA's departed chief curator, obliquely breaking his silence on the MOCA Mess, linked to this CultureGrrl post on Facebook and wrote this comment about what I wrote: "I am afraid this may be right."] Very late in the day, Roberta Smith, the NY Times' rightfully admired co-chief art critic, has finally turned her attention to the MOCA Mess in a well-meaning but illogical opinion piece---A Los Angeles Museum on Life-Support (online today, for tomorrow's paper). She starts … [Read more...]

MOCA Mess: Jeffrey Deitch Speaks! (via his museum&#146s blog); LA Times Editorializes

MOCA"s Geffen Contemporary facilityIn my last post on the MOCA Mess, I decried the "low profile" of Jeffrey Deitch, the museum's embattled and under-performing director, at a tumultuous time when confidence-inspiring leadership was desperately needed.I wrote:As the serious criticism relentlessly piles up from within MOCA's ranks and from outside commentators, MOCA needs to address this mushrooming crisis of confidence head-on. Director Jeffrey Deitch has kept a low profile throughout this firestorm, ceding his responsibility as the voice of the … [Read more...]

Bomford Bounces Back: Getty’s Ex-Acting Director Goes to Houston

David Bomford, incoming director of conservation, Houston Museum of Fine Arts David Bomford, a casualty of the J. Paul Getty Trust's regime change, had landed on his feet: He is returning to the U.S. and his first love, art restoration. Gary Tinterow, who has hit the ground running as the new director of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, today announced that Bomford would be the museum's new director of conservation, beginning in October. Last December, when he announced his intention to leave the Getty Museum (effective last Feb. 1), … [Read more...]

My Pollock&#146s a Croc, Plus the Continuing Saga of Iowa&#146s “Mural”

With all the talk lately about faux Pollocks, I'm acquiring one that I can wear!Call me tacky, but when I an e-mail hit my inbox today from the Pollock-Krasner House, trumpeting a "special limited edition [!?!] of Crocs' signature clog, printed with details of the spattered colors on Pollock's studio floor," I ordered a pair. After all, my $39.99 (plus shipping) helps support a worthy cause, since the Stony Brook University-operated former home of the Abstract Expressionist couple gets royalties from the sales. If, like me, you once got a … [Read more...]

Motor-City Woes: Detroit Institute of Arts Seeks Tri-County Property Levy CORRECTED

Detroit Institute of ArtsDesperate times call for desperate measures. I would ordinarily question a museum's trying to circumvent the usual government taxation and appropriation process, as the Detroit Institute of Arts now seems to be doing. DIA has launched a campaign seeking voter approval on Aug. 7 of a three-county (Wayne, Macomb and Oakland, which is the state's wealthiest), 10-year "millage"---essentially a property tax of one-hundredth of one percent (.0001) of a home's assessed valuation per year (i.e., $20 for a $200,000 home). … [Read more...]

Grrl at Work: CultureGrrl Juggling Electronic Paraphernalia at Whitney&#146s Kusama Preview

I'm a sucker for Jill Krementz's photographic portraits of me. This time, she caught me at a Whitney Museum press preview, in the act of preparing my blog post on the Kusama retrospective. These were originally posted in Jill's NY Social Diary photo essay about Kusama at the Whitney: Juggling my trusty Bic pen, discontinued Panasonic Lumix camera, Sony voice recorder and non-polka dotted, non-Louis Vuitton handbag (Hair by Gino)On left, "Remember that Thou Must Die," 1975, Chiba City Museum, Japan (Yikes, Jill! Did you have to pick that … [Read more...]

Kimerly Rorschach Named to Become Seattle Art Museum&#146s Director (and remains AAMD president)

Kimerly Rorschach, incoming director of Seattle Art MuseumNo sooner had the Association of Art Museum Directors tweeted about its president Kimerly Rorschach's love of North Carolina (where she is founding director of the Rafael Viñoly-designed Nasher Museum, Duke University, which opened in 2005) than the Seattle Art Museum announced that she would become its new director this fall. Although she is switching horses, Rorschach will ride on as AAMD's president. SAM's last female director, Mimi Gardner Gates, was also an AAMD president. Gates was … [Read more...]

Hugh Hardy&#146s Lincoln Center Theater: NY Times&#146 Kimmelman Finally Reviews Architecture!

Lincoln Center's new Claire Tow Theater---the small glass box atop the larger Vivian Beaumont Theater, at the end of the reflecting pool (with the Henry Moores). Metropolitan Opera House is on left.Photo © by Francis Dzikowski / EstoIt shouldn't be big news when the NY Times' architecture critic composes a straightforward architecture review that appraises a signficant new cultural facility in Manhattan.But Michael Kimmelman's thumbs-up for architect Hugh Hardy's spare, elegantly functional new Claire Tow Theater in Lincoln Center qualifies as … [Read more...]

Artist Power! Kruger, Opie Join Baldessari in Protest-Resignations from LA MOCA&#146s Board UPDATED

[UPDATE: The last remaining artist on MOCA's board, Ed Ruscha, has now also departed.] The LA Times keeps coming up with daily dispatches about the MOCA mess. Having reported on Friday about artist John Baldessari's protest resignation from the museum's board, it followed up yesterday with news of two more artist-trustee departures---Barbara Kruger and Catherine Opie. In today's LA Times, arts reporter Jori Finkel has published the full text of Kruger and Opie's eloquent, poignant joint letter of resignation from MOCA's board. Here are … [Read more...]

John Baldessari, Defecting MOCA Trustee, on the Tone-Deafness of Jeffrey Deitch

MOCA's Saturday Night FeverIn his LA Times piece today---MOCA's Board Exits Pile Up---on the defections from the ranks of LA MOCA's trustees, the indispensable Mike Boehm quotes artist John Baldessari on his reasons for resigning from the museum's board: "To live with my conscience, I just had to do it," Baldessari said in an interview Thursday after e-mailing his decision to MOCA. He said his reasons include the recent ouster of respected chief curator Paul Schimmel and news this week that the pop-cultural slant the museum has taken under … [Read more...]

Rose Grows: Christopher Bedford of the Wexner Named Brandeis Museum’s New Director UPDATED

Christopher Bedford, incoming director of the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis At long last, Brandeis University's resurgent Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA, has named a new permanent director, according to Bill Burger, Brandeis' associate vice president for communications: Christopher Bedford, chief curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio since late 2008, is a British citizen with an intriguing track record of contemporary art exhibitions, as evidenced by this excerpt from his bio on the Wexner's … [Read more...]

Kusama-rama: Spotty at the Whitney (with video)

Kusamania: Lifelike Yayoi Kusama mannequin in window of Louis Vuitton flagship store, Fifth Avenue, New York. (LV sponsored the Whitney's show and collaborated with Kusama on an extensive, expensive product line.)Photo by Lee RosenbaumKusama avatar's glossy, tacky LV handbag: $3,650Photo by Lee RosenbaumThe return of the resolutely unconventional, relentlessly self-promoting Yayoi Kusama, 83, to New York, the scene of her greatest notoriety and best work, is a mixed blessing. To me, the evidence of the pieces in the Whitney Museum's … [Read more...]

Did Leon Black Buy Munch’s “The Scream”?

Leon Black The Wall Street Journal's Kelly Crow reported online yesterday that anonymous sources informed her that Leon Black was the buyer of Munch's "The Scream." The 1895 pastel sold at Sotheby's on May 2 for $119.92 million, the record auction price for any work of art. Black, listed in the current issue of ARTnews as one of the world's top 10 collectors, is founder, chairman, and CEO of Apollo Global Management, an alternative asset management firm. He sits on the boards of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and … [Read more...]

Dorothy Kosinski, Phillips Collection&#146s Director, Named to National Council on the Humanities (plus some musings on NEA)

Dorothy Kosinski, in front of Helen Frankenthaler's "Canyon," 1965Photo: © Mary Noble OursIt's not uncommon for art museum directors and visual artists to be named to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body to the National Endowment for the Arts, which reviews NEA's grants, guidelines and initiatives. (James Ballinger, director of the Phoenix Art Museum is currently one of the NCA's 19 members, who also include lesser-known visual artist Barbara Ernst Prey (scroll down), who was a George W. Bush appointee.It's news, though, when an … [Read more...]

Memo Re: Harold Holzer—Metropolitan Museum Seeking New Head of Communications, Marketing, Visitor Services

Harold Holzer: Downsized job descriptionHarold Holzer, the Metropolitan Museum's veteran senior vice president for external affairs, is not in the habit of publicizing director Tom Campbell's and president Emily Rafferty's internal staff memos. But he apparently got authorization to release this one, which just landed in numerous inboxes (including mine): THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART Interdepartmental Memorandum To: All Staff From: Thomas P. Campbell and Emily K. Rafferty Re: New Roles in … [Read more...]

Eli Broad Becomes LA MOCA Spokesperson: Seeking “Cost-Effective” Exhibitions

Eli Broad In all my years covering museums, I've never heard the kind of rhetoric applied to museum practices that Eli Broad employs in his Op-Ed piece for tomorrow's LA Times (online today). I've also never seen a "life trustee," who is not even a voting member of the museum's board, become the sole spokesperson for that institution during a time of crisis. Today, the LA Times published Broad's comments in an interview with Mike Boehm. Eli explained the "forced resignation" [as Boehm termed it] of chief curator Paul Schimmel this … [Read more...]

Fiscal Fizzle: Jeffrey Deitch&#146s MOCA Fundraising

Jeffrey Deitch As I mentioned in my KCRW radio commentary, Jeffrey Deitch was hired as director of LA MOCA (effective June 1, 2010) to be a game-changer. It's important to remember, though, that there was nothing wrong with MOCA's curatorial game as it existed under previous director Jeremy Strick. MOCA's exhibition program was already widely esteemed and shows organized by its curators regularly traveled to important venues. It was the financial game that desperately needed changing. Deitch, a prominent New York dealer, was expected to … [Read more...]

an ArtsJournal blog