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Archives for October 2012

AFA Museum Funding Panel: Tom Campbell, Ari Wiseman on Donor Influence (or lack thereof)

Left to right at last Wednesday's all-star panel on museum funding: Thomas Campbell, Maxwell Anderson (moderator), Ari Wiseman Photo by Lee Rosenbaum [We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for my Twitter feed's Hurricane Sandy updates (with photos), from my perch atop the New Jersey Palisades, overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan---here, here and here. At this writing, I'm hearing a lot of crashing, and our lights have twice flickered.] In yesterday's NY Times special section on "Fine Arts & Exhibits" (which, I … [Read more...]

Vandal Vanity: Art Crime Pays for Alleged Attacker of Menil&#146s Picasso

Screenshot from a visitor's video showing last June's defacement of the Menil Collection's Picasso, "Woman in a Red Armchair," 1929, still in conservationIf he wanted to encourage copycat vandalism, James Perez, owner of Cueto James Art Gallery in Houston, could have done no better than to give a one-man show to the suspect in the attack on the Menil Collection's Picasso.In addition to giving the alleged graffitist the attention he craves, Perez is getting national publicity for his own gallery, thanks to this execrable enterprise. The … [Read more...]

Museum Funding Conundrums: Tom Campbell of Metropolitan Museum Leads All-Star Cast (with video)

Left to right: Mariët Westermann, Thomas Campbell, Maxwell Anderson, Ari Wiseman, James Bildner, Melissa ChiuPhoto by Lee RosenbaumA self-acknowledged New York-centric panel of major museum officials and experts in cultural philanthropy engaged last night in an illuminating, wide-ranging discussion pegged to the topic of Art Museum Funding at the Crossroads. I distilled highlights from more than an hour and a half of musings to produce a 12-minute CultureGrrl Video, below. Organized by the American Federation of Arts, in association with the … [Read more...]

NY Times “Styles” Over Substance: Giving LA MOCA&#146s Jeffrey Deitch More Than His Due

Jeffrey Deitch poolside at his Hollywood houseScreenshot from Jeffrey Deitch Takes Hollywood, a video on The Curve, LA MOCA's blogGuy Trebay's long Jeffrey Deitch-friendly piece, which landed inconguously on the front page of last week's NY Times "SundayStyles" section, hasn't been dignified with a link on the paper's Art and Design web page. That could be for good reason: The arts page commonly does include culture-related links from other sections of the paper (such as coverage on the news pages of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's … [Read more...]

My Q&A with Luke Syson: Reinventing the Met&#146s Decorative Arts Displays (plus a glimpse of “Bernini”)

Two veteran "newcomers" (to their current institutions), meeting at Metropolitan Museum's Lehman Wing during the Bernini show's press previewLeft: Luke Syson, Metropolitan Museum's new curator in charge of European sculpture and decorative artsRight: George Shackelford, Kimbell Art Museum's new deputy directorPhoto by Lee RosenbaumWe haven't heard much about what Luke Syson is up to at the Metropolitan Museum, where he arrived last January as the new curator in charge of European sculpture and decorative arts, filling the former position of Ian … [Read more...]

Kunsthal Rotterdam Theft: Where Were the Guards? (plus director&#146s statement)

Among the Missing: Matisse, "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune" ("The Reader in White and Yellow"), 1919, Triton FoundationWhere were the guards? Apparently there weren't any.By now you've no doubt seen some of the numerous reports and speculative commentary regarding yesterday's 3 a.m. theft of seven Impressionist, modern and contemporary works that were among over 150 pieces in a loan exhibition at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, drawn exclusively from the Triton Foundation. The display "marks the very first public showing of the carefully and lovingly … [Read more...]

Mitt Romney on Charitable Deductions: A $25,000 Cap?

Screenshot of Mitt Romney as he spoke about "bringing down [tax] deductions" in last night's debate Mitt Romney's proposed federal funding cuts for Big Bird got mentioned by President Obama in last night's hotly contentious debate. The Republican's planned zeroing of the National Endowment Arts didn't come up. But there was one comment last night that did have direct bearing on the financial health of nonprofits, including cultural institutions. Romney said this: In terms of bringing down deductions, one way of doing that would be to … [Read more...]

City Review Process: First Look (with video) at Cornell&#146s Tech Campus and Thom Mayne&#146s Academic Building

Rendering of the planned first academic building of Cornell Tech, designed by architect Thom Mayne's firm, Morphosis. Dan Huttenlocher, dean of the new school, calls it "very 21st-century architecture" for "a 21st-century campus." This is a big week for Roosevelt Island (formerly Welfare Island), a scenic, underutilized site in the middle of New York City's East River. On Friday, the Louis Kahn-designed Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, at the southern tip of the island (reviewed by Bloomberg's James Russell here) will celebrate its … [Read more...]

D.C. Solution? Corcoran Reaches Out to the National Gallery and George Washington University

An iconic American sculpture not represented in National Gallery's collection: Hiram Powers, "The Greek Slave," modeled 1841-43, carved 1846 Corcoran Gallery of Art, gift of William Wilson Corcoran Photo by Lee Rosenbaum Trying to head off premature panic that the Corcoran will sell its Washington, D.C., historic home and decamp for more modern digs in the suburbs, the embattled institution issued this terse statement on Friday: The Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design is in conversation with both the National Gallery of … [Read more...]

Wroth About the Tate’s Rothko: Where Are the Guards?

"The Sleeping Guard," taken on a Saturday afternoon at a museum's entrance All photos by Lee Rosenbaum I briefly mentioned in an update to this post that an arrest has been made of a suspect in the defacement of one of the Tate Modern's Seagram Murals by Mark Rothko. The Tate has now confirmed to me that the affected painting was "Black on Maroon," 1958 (one of several with that name and title) but if you click the link to see its image, you will also see that it is still, at this writing, described on the museum's website as "on display at … [Read more...]

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman Downplays Importance of His Own Agency (with video)

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman, delivering opening remarks yesterday at an arts-education panel in Newark, NJPhoto by Lee RosenbaumMore than three years after becoming chairman of the what (if Mitt Romney is elected President) could be the lame-duck National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman still has foot-in-mouth disease. (You may still wince at the memory of his Peoria flub at the very beginning of his largely uncontroversial tenure at the federal arts agency.)Yesterday, when I briefly chatted with Rocco (after identifying myself and … [Read more...]

“Save the Corcoran” Issues No-Move Demand in Lawyer&#146s Letter

New owner's name here? (the Corcoran's entrance)Photo by Lee RosenbaumIn an implied threat of legal action, the ad hoc Save the Corcoran group yesterday sent a nine-page lawyer's letter to the leadership of the Corcoran Gallery of Art & College of Art + Design, demanding that the institution remain in Washington, DC, and alleging that it would be in violation of its founding charter if it moved out of the city and into the Metro DC suburbs. Such a move---possibly to Alexandria, VA---is being contemplated as one of several possible … [Read more...]

More on Tate&#146s Vandalized Rothko (plus update on Menil&#146s Defaced Picasso) UPDATED

Tate Modern's entrance: How did the Rothko vandal evade security and slip out the door?[More on this, here.]UPDATE: An arrest in this case has now reportedly been made [via].What I hate about journalistic coverage of "statement" crimes---deplorable acts undertaken to make dubious points---is that it bestows fame on the perpetrator, giving widespread, prominent exposure to his bizarre views.That's how the story is developing today, regarding yesterday's vandalism to one of Rothko's Seagram Murals at the Tate Modern. (I have linked to some of the … [Read more...]

Rothko Seagram Mural Defaced; Visitor Snaps a Photo UPDATED

This is eerily and disturbingly reminiscent of last June's videoed Picasso attack at the Menil Collection (here and here). Reuters quoted a Tate spokesman saying this: There was an incident at Tate Modern [today, Sunday] in which a visitor defaced one of Rothko's Seagram Murals by applying a small area of black paint with a brush to the painting. Reuters also reports: Tim Wright wrote [my link, not theirs] on the Twitter micro-blogging site that he witnessed the incident and posted a photograph of the damaged canvas online. "Very … [Read more...]

Playing Favorites in “Black and White”: Guggenheim Refuses to Release Conservators’ Findings on Picasso’s “Woman Ironing”

Carmen Giménez, Guggenheim Museum's curator of 20th-century art, speaking at "Picasso Black and White" press preview On right: "Woman with Outstretched Arms," 1961, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Photo by Lee Rosenbaum At yesterday morning's press preview for the Guggenheim Museum's Picasso: Black and White (to Jan. 23), director Richard Armstrong informed the scribe tribe that one of the Guggenheim's most prized Picassos---its Blue Period "Woman Ironing," 1904, from the Thannhauser Collection---was conserved and technically analyzed in … [Read more...]

News Flash: Police Guard Phoenix&#146s Wright House; “Stand Still” Agreement Forestalls a Knock-Down

David and Gladys Wright House, 1950-52, designed by Frank Lloyd WrightPhoto from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's preservation petition We are not going to let them demolish that building!Brendan Mahoney, senior policy advisor to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, today made this unequivocal declaration to CultureGrrl, regarding the endangered Frank Lloyd Wright house (above) that the NY Times' Michael Kimmelman wrote about today for Page One.Mahoney told me that the city today negotiated a Stand Still Agreement with the developer---8081 … [Read more...]

MOCA&#146s “Attack” Press Release: Two New Trustees and a “Support[ive]” Board

Late this morning, this intriguing announcement landed in my inbox from LA MOCA:This seemed eminently newsworthy, especially since director Jeffrey Deitch had promised to the LA Times that he would beef up his battle-scarred board with "two significant new trustees...within days." (That was on Aug. 4.) I was even more interested in learning what the press release would say regarding the above assertion that "new and returning trustees reinforce board leadership and support museum direction."With alacrity, I clicked the "Download Press Release … [Read more...]

BlogBack: Executive Director of DC Preservation League on the Corcoran Filing

Worth Preserving: A staircase at the CorcoranPhoto by Lee RosenbaumRebecca Miller, executive director of the DC Preservation League, responds to Preservationist Battle: National Historic Places Designation Sought for Interior of Corcoran Gallery: Although I appreciate the coverage of our filing, I'm concerned by the perception that it was a hostile act. Your title, "Preservation Battle," insinuates that there is a war being waged between the Corcoran and the preservation community. The DC Preservation League has been very clear that our only … [Read more...]

Preservationist Battle: National Historic Places Designation Sought for Interior of Corcoran Gallery

"One Way" to the Corcoran Photo by Lee Rosenbaum When I visited the Corcoran Gallery during a brief sojourn in Washington two Saturdays ago, I was forcefully struck by how sadly inappropriate it would be for this grand, skylit art palace to be relegated to more mundane commercial purposes, as would likely happen if the financially pressed museum and school were to opt for the proposed sale of their historic home. To encourage preservation of this gem for the purpose for which it was intended, the DC Preservation League (DCPL) yesterday … [Read more...]

“National Arts & Humanities Month”: President Obama Reasserts His Arts Support

President Obama in the Oval Office (with a bronze on the left that looks inauspiciously like an "end of the trail" piece)Ordinarily I ignore Presidential (and Gubernatorial and Mayoral) proclamations as more ceremonial than substantive. But in this election year, with Mitt Romney repeatedly expressing his commitment to ax federal arts support, it's worth noting that in addition to designating October as "National Breast Cancer Awareness Month," "National Substance Abuse Prevention Month" and "National Domestic Violence Awareness Month" (among … [Read more...]

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