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The Shocking Cooper Hewitt

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Many curtain-raisers for and reviews of the newly renovated and reconceived Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum have focused on its use of technology to make the museum interactive, participatory and therefore supposedly of more interest to young generations who are not satisfied with just looking. One recent Saturday, I finally made it to this new incarnation to see for myself. I didn't mind the interactive technology. I liked much of it. Some of it was fun to play with. At one station, I designed a lovely outdoor sculpture. I did not get … [Read more...]

International Pop, World Pop, And Don’t Forget German Pop

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In today's Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times,  the Walker Art Center's new International Pop exhibit gets a good curtain-raiser. Randy Kennedy makes its case "not only that Pop was sprouting in countless homegrown versions around the world but also that the term itself has become too narrow to encompass the revolution in thinking it represented for a generation of artists." Pop was not, in other words, just an American invention with "a British offshoot." And this is the year, it seems, for that subject--the article also … [Read more...]

Breaking Now: The MFA Names A New Director

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And it's Matthew Teitelbaum, currently director of the Art Gallery of Ontario. If you read yesterday's post here, you'll know that's one down--of many museum director jobs open along the East coast--and many more to come. In fact, I hear that another I mentioned yesterday will be announcing in the next week, or ten days. Meanwhile, back to Teitelbaum: Teitelbaum was appointed Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in 1998 after having first joined the museum in 1993 as Chief Curator. With a vision to transform the Gallery into … [Read more...]

Another Opening, Another…

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I'm not talking about "Kiss Me, Kate" or another show. I'm talking about art museum directorships. Doreen Bolger, director of the Baltimore Museum of Art (pictured at right), just announced that she is retiring, effective June 15. That's not much notice. On March 19, Michael Conforti (at left) announced that he'd be retiring on Aug. 31 after 20 years as director of the Clark Art Institute. Up and down the East coast, at least, major directorships are open: the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Brooklyn … [Read more...]

A Giant Step Forward At The Met

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When I visited The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky at the Metropolitan Museum on Saturday afternoon, I was prepared to be delighted--and I was, in more ways than one. The Nelson-Atkins Museum, which co-curated the show with the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, had primed me for how beautiful it was going to be, sending along the catalogue as evidence when the show opened in Kansas City last fall. At the Met, the exhibit lived up to my great expectations. So many of these objects are stunningly beautiful. But from the very first … [Read more...]

The Whitney Tests the Market: $$$ And Hours

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The Whitney Museum announced it new admission charges and new hours this afternoon--and both will test the market. General admission will go up to $22, from $20, while seniors and students can get in for $18. That's no surprise, given the cost of erecting and moving to the new building downtown. And it's still less than the Guggenheim and MoMA, which both charge $25 for general admission. Interestingly, perhaps reinforcing its focus on the young, MoMA asks for $14 from students and $18 from seniors. The Gugg is like the Whitney, charging $18 … [Read more...]

Very Sad Breaking News

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I just received an email saying that Michael Rush, the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, had died after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Rush was also, of course, the director of the Rose Museum at Brandeis University when the president and trustees there tried to sell off its collection in 2009. Because he opposed that idea, Rush's contact was not renewed. Today's statement from MSU continued: “On behalf of the MSU community, I would like to express my deepest condolences to … [Read more...]

Menil Collection Starts Drawing Center

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Nearly 40 years after the creation of The Drawing Center in New York, the Menil Collection in Houston has broken ground on The Menil Drawing Institute (pictured below)--and I haven't seen any national publicity. Could it be that the subject is "drawings?" Not very sexy to most editors. It will be interesting to watch the Menil's trajectory. The two, New York and Houston, are a little different, as follows: The Drawing Center is the only fine arts institution in the U.S. to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and … [Read more...]

Crystal Bridges Reshuffles PostWar Galleries With 2014 Acquisitions

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The postwar and contemporary art galleries at the Crystal Bridges Museum have always been the weakest part of the collection, but steadily the museum has been filling out the collection. Sixteen acquisitions in this category, all made in 2014, were announced on Friday--I broke the news Thursday evening in a small item in The New York Times (scroll down; it's the last of four items)--valued at about $20 million. The works include Robert Rauschenberg's The Tower and three paintings and two works on paper by Helen Frankenthaler, including Seven … [Read more...]

Exhibitions To See This Spring

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As usual for the past few years, I also compiled a list of about 30 exhibitions at museums around the country that are on view now or will be on view this spring and summer for The New York Times's Museums special section. That's not so easy. I look at hundreds of exhibition descriptions and images, and I strive to choose a balance to appeal to many tastes. So there's always a mix of Old Masters (though few this year), 19th Century European, American, Asian and modern and contemporary art. Sometime I throw in a manuscript exhibit if there's … [Read more...]

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