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Badly Bungled Philanthropy

2012 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2

The New York Philharmonic* just gave everyone a lesson in how not to fundraise. I am talking, of course, about the announcement that David Geffen has promised $100 million to the Phil for the renovation of Avery Fisher Hall.  There are two problems with this gift. First, the Phil's leadership seems to have been enchanted by that number, the same amount David Koch gave to rename the New York State Theater after himself five years ago. (And the same amount that Stephen Schwarzman gave to the New York Public Library before that, but that's … [Read more...]

The Coke Bottle And The High: Too Close For Comfort?

coca-cola

The commercialization and entertainmentization of art museums continues. The High Museum in Atlanta just stooped to mounting an exhibit titled The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100.  Atlanta is the birthplace of Coca-Cola and the company is probably a major benefactor of many organizations, including the High, in Atlanta. But still. I could not find, in a fairly quick search, how much money Coke gives to the High. But it may be substantial. Interestingly, the "vice chair-exhibitions" of the High's board of trustees is Michael Keough, … [Read more...]

MFA’s Gets A Load of Rothschild Loot

BBurr

Literally. Bettina Burr (known as Nina, pictured left)--the daughter of Baroness Bettina Looram de Rothschild, who reclaimed about 250 pieces of Nazi-looted art from Austria after it passed a new restitution law in 1998--has donated 186 objects to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The trove, which includes jewelry, jeweled boxes, furniture, prints, drawings, miniatures, paintings and rare books, is most of what remains that had been passed down to her and her relatives from her ancestors in the Austrian Rothschild family. The great collectors … [Read more...]

Can There Be Too Many Museums?

imrs

In a controversial move, Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser last week killed plans to open an Institute of Contemporary Expression at a disused, rodent-infested, leaky-roofed historic school in the city's northwest quadrant. Predictably, she was pummeled by critics, some of whom say she would rather have a commercial venture in that space (which is protected and cannot be razed). It may be that politics influenced her decision, but a look--at least from afar--at the dynamics give me pause too. Sometimes, there can be too many museums--if … [Read more...]

About The Future…

It's going to be hard for me to push the "Publish" button on this post. Blogging is a bit of an obsession for me--or, rather, became one after I started RCA in March. 2009, at the invitation of Doug McLennan. Since then, I've posted virtually once every weekday, and sometimes more often. Sometime, even when I was on vacation. I went away, on vacation to India,  on Jan. 18 and since I returned late on Feb. 4, I've tried to plow through all the relevant art-world things that happened in those 18 days. I still haven't finished reading emails, … [Read more...]

I’m Away…

I'm taking a winter vacation, and am unlikely to have the opportunity to post new items here until my return. If I do have access to a computer, and see something amidst the art and culture I'll be seeing, I may add something from time to time. If not, I'll be back on Real Clear Arts around Feb. 6. … [Read more...]

Monumental Art Undertaking in Saudi Arabia: Needs Partners

SaudiCenter

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, which just partnered with LACMA. The Center, pictured below, hasn't received much national press in the U.S. (though apparently it held a meeting with the press at Art Dubai). It's a venture of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned global petroleum and chemicals giant of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At its founding, it had American oil companies as partners, but no more (they're not listed in "History" on the website, … [Read more...]

The Story Behind LACMA’s Saudi Partnership

damascusroom3

Press releases often provoke more questions than they answer. That was certainly the case when one from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art issued one on Jan. 6 about its new collaboration with Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. It said that LACMA and the Center: are pleased to announce that the Center will exhibit more than 130 highlights of Islamic art from LACMA’s renowned collection on the occasion of the Center’s opening. The installation will include works of art from an area extending from southern Spain to … [Read more...]

The Heard Museum Loses Its Director To…

JPepperHenry

More musical chairs. The other day the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa announced that it had hired James Pepper Henry as its new executive director; he starts Mar. 30. Pepper Henry (at right) has a lot of experience with Native American art. Before the Heard, he had been director of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, associate director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, founding director of the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Okla.; interim curator of American Indian Art at the Portland Art Museum; gallery director at the … [Read more...]

“Provocative Intervention” In Dulwich’s Galleries

Made in China

The other day, the Dulwich Picture Gallery announced a 2015 program with "an intervention in the Gallery’s permanent collection offering a provocative challenge to the public." And what could that be? Rather provocatively, it's an exhibition called Made in China, and it's described this way in the press release, as ...a unique intervention that questions the significance and value of the ‘original’ work of art. ‘Made in China: A Doug Fishbone Project’ (10 February–26 July 2015), will see one of the paintings in Dulwich’s collection removed … [Read more...]

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