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Early Word On “Mr. Turner”–Movie, Good; Art, Bad

2014, MR. TURNER

Not too long ago, I was in a movie theater when up came a preview for a film called "Mr. Turner," which would be J.M.W. Tuner to RCA readers. I checked it out and discovered that it was set to open today (Oct. 31) in Britain (after being shown at at Cannes) and in the U.S. on Dec. 19. Early word: it's good. The movie focuses on the last 25 years of Turner's life, up until his death in 1851. Rated R, it's described this way: Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits … [Read more...]

Museums “Adapt To the Digital Age” But…


All in all, I thought the lead article in Sunday's NYTimes special section on the visual arts--Museums Morph Digitally--was good (it was written by my friend, Steve Lohr), though I wasn't crazy about the line that " museum curators and administrators of ...the importance of a social media strategy and a “digital first” mind-set." Maybe digital is second, but surely not first, except perhaps to promote their actual collections. Plus, the whole article did not once use the word "selfie," a bane of museums, imho. Except at the … [Read more...]

Brava to Two Brave Curators

Helen web large

My hat is off to Susan Leask, formerly curator of art at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, and to Helen Molesworth (below), new chief curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and formerly with the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Both had the courage to speak publicly--in fact, in Leask's case, to act publicly--to protest what some art museum directors are doing to undermine their jobs and, more important, their institutions. Yes, it's the latest discussion of the way some museums are trying to "engage" or … [Read more...]

AAMD On El Salvador: Let’s Try Licit Antiquities Market

Temple at Cihuatan Park

Full of frustration that a 27- year-old U.S.-El Salvador Memorandum of Understanding to stop looting of antiquities isn't working, the Association of Art Museum Directors recommended against renewal recently. Instead, the Association advocated the formation of a "licit" market in antiquities there. It would be taxed, and the proceeds would be "used to protect cultural sites and to encourage related employment by the local populations and the scientific exploration, storage and conservation of objects from those sites.” That's the gist of an … [Read more...]

Coming On Sunday: Frank Gehry’s Colorful Museum


In this week's Sunday New York Times, you'll find annual fall Fine Arts and Exhibitions section. It's full of stories about galleries, art and history museums, technology and the auction business. I didn't write any of them. I was more fascinated by the new Biomuseo in Panama, designed by Frank Gehry, which I mentioned here once before. It's Gehry's only building in Latin America and--seems to me--the only one in which he deploys bright colors as part of his design. They are crayon colors, and signal--to me at least--that this museum wants … [Read more...]

Neuberger Museum Changes Directors–Fast

Paola Morsiani

When Paola Morsiani  became director of the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College in summer 2012, she told The New York Times, referencing the 2010 death of Roy Neuberger: “The principal visionary originator of this institution has passed the baton on to us. On one side, we will continue his legacy, but it is my role to find the courage to initiate new ideas based on new needs.” It looks as if she could not find the right way to change, at least in the eyes of the Neuberger's trustees. Today, after I inquired about rumors that she had … [Read more...]

A Very Ambitious, Private, New Museum For Miami


Get ready for another real estate deal museum, this one in Miami. Somewhere on Biscayne Boulevard, art collector Gary Nader plans to build a museum for Latin American art. It doesn't yet have a site, but it has a design by Mexican architect Fernando Romero, a collection (600 modern and contemporary pieces Nader owns), and an exhibition program: The first year of programming will feature a retrospective of works by Fernando Botero and a Brazilian art exhibit, along with individual shows of works by Latin American masters Roberto Matta, Wifredo … [Read more...]

Once More Into the Storerooms >> Discoveries!


Now it's the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh's turn to find fantastic art works in its storerooms, as many other museums have done. Among the newly discovered pieces: a hand-painted enamel bowl with roundels of butterflies from the Yongzheng period, a “bizarre googly-eyed dragon bowl” and cinnabar lacquer panel (below right) from the Qianlong period, a ritual bronze from the Western Zhou period, a Gupta period Buddha head (at left), a gilded bronze Thai Buddha head and a Bamana Boli figure. Many are going into a reinstallation of the … [Read more...]

The Perelman-Gagosian Brawl


You may not be avid readers of the business section of The New York Times, so you may have missed an article in Sunday's paper headlined The Feud That's Shaking Gallery Walls. In it, Ron Perelman says, "Art is such a beautiful thing. But it’s been sullied by an ugly business. It needs to be fixed.” Do you find it strange that a man who's been buying and selling art for a very long time suddenly decides he's had enough or that he was had? After all, he willingly entered into the transaction he has now gone to court to protest. Here's the … [Read more...]

Detroit Institute Addresses Compensation Complaints


A short time ago, the Detroit Institute of Arts responded to the criticism that has kept it in the news for the wrong reasons this week--and threatened to undermine support for the millage tax that provides $23 million on operating support each year. Board chair Edward Gargaro signed the statement, which said that "unfortunately misunderstandings have occurred." Indeed. In a key paragraph, Gargaro promised to discuss the matter the public officials threatened to repeal the millage: We will continue to provide our community with exceptional … [Read more...]

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