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Archives for September 2016

Wilsey or Won’t She? FAMSF’s Board Head Defies Regime Change (plus: Albright-Knox name change)

Now she's a board chair, not president. But whatever names you call her, it appears that Diane ("Dede") Wilsey has out-maneuvered the proponents of regime change at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The smartest move in this continuing chess game comes from Max Hollein, FAMSF's new director, who (in conformance with professional guidelines [p. 5] for art museum directors) has rightly assumed the CEO position that was previously held by Wilsey: When asked by the San Francisco Chronicle's Phil Matier and Andy Ross if he "expected less … [Read more...]

Tech Crash at Metropolitan Museum: “Digital Underground” Buried? UPDATED

While I've been distracted from blogging by mainstream-media assignments (one completed, the other in process), I've been itching to weigh in on several important museum developments. Let's start with Metropolitan Museum President Daniel Weiss' tough-love strategies to address the shocking financial crisis that he inherited. Museum digerati may disagree, but I welcome the indications (not yet confirmed to me by the museum's press office) that the money-saving cutbacks may include the closing of the museum's run-amok MediaLab, which I've … [Read more...]

“Polemical History Lesson”: Illustrated Companion to my WSJ Piece on the Brooklyn Museum’s American Rehang

There's a difference between displaying political art and politicizing art. As I argue in A Polemical History Lesson, my piece in today's Wall Street Journal, the Brooklyn Museum's rehang and reinterpretation of its American art collection crosses that line, fixating on everything that's shameful or elitist about our country's past. Other critics have praised the new interpretive spin for eschewing American "triumphalism." But after a while, I began to feel that I was intended to hang my head in shame, rather than revel in the verve of our … [Read more...]

Adulated Adjaye: Acclaimed in DC, Under-the-Radar in NYC (with video) UPDATED

While there's been widespread critical acclaim for David Adjaye's $540-million (including installation of displays) National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington (opening Saturday), few New Yorkers have heard of, let alone visited, his $84.7-million, 13-story Sugar Hill Project, commissioned by Broadway Housing Communities in Harlem: Photos by Lee Rosenbaum I toured the project about a year ago, when its ambitious Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling was about to open, and got to chat with the architect, … [Read more...]

Carmen Herrera, 101-Year-Old Overnight Success, Gets Her Whitney Close-Up (with video)

Given her centenarian status, I was astonished by the Whitney Museum's decision to schedule its Carmen Herrera show to open more than a year after the Whitney had unveiled its new facility. I felt the show should have been fast-tracked at all costs, to increase the odds that this doggedly persistent, under-recognized artist would live to see it. Happily, Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight (to Jan. 2), did not turn out to be a memorial exhibition: The feisty artist, now 101, is still working and at last getting some very belated adulation. … [Read more...]

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