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DIA Can Play Hardball Too


As the city of Detroit goes through U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking approval of its exit strategy -- which includes the "grand bargain" that will save the Detroit Institute of Arts from having sell any works of art -- some creditors have been obstructing the way. One, so far, bond insurer Syncora, has cut a deal with the city, agreeing to the plan in exchange for a $50 million payoff (to be raised in a bond issue), plus leases on the tunnel linking Detroit and Windsor, Canada, and a parking garage. Another billion-dollar creditor, insurer FGIC, … [Read more...]

More Triumphs And Woes For Frank Gehry


He's called (by some) the most important architect working today, which is debatable, but there's no question that Frank Gehry is one of the world's most innovative and creative architects. In the U.S., he's still having trouble with the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, despite a revision in his design delivered earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, In the revised design, Gehry's Los Angeles-based team eliminated two large, metal tapestries on the sides of the memorial park, along with some large columns. One long, stainless … [Read more...]

Here’s What Art Museums Need: A Selfie Ban


That's not my idea, just in case you were rolling your eyes. It's the brainstorm of U.K. Arts Council chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette; my only concern is the limit he placed on it -- one hour a day.  Just kidding.  But Bazalgette has a point. Neither he nor I are against photography in museums; I take my own photos all the time in museums. Most of the time, what other people are doing doesn't bother me a whit. But you see those photos of the Mona Lisa gallery at the Louvre (as at left), with some people riding piggyback on others to get a … [Read more...]

Matisse Cut-Outs, Records, And Making Art Seem Scarce


Back in late June, the Museum of Modern Art bought a quarter-page ad on page 2 of the Weekend section of The New York Times; it ran the full length of the left edge. It caught my eye because it announced that timed tickets were on sale as of that day for Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, which opens on Oct. 12. The ad did not, btw, list prices for the tickets -- just the web address for purchases -- but MoMA simply charges general admission for exhibitions, with no added tab. General adult admission is $25. At the time, I thought it was a bit … [Read more...]

Answer to the Ever-Present False Dichotomy About Museums


It's very trendy these days to insist that museums should be visitor-centered, not art-centered. Most recently, I was called on the carpet yet again for suggesting that art comes first, but not just that; in fact, someone I do not know accused me a restarting the culture wars when I wrote here about the Portland Art Museum's Parklandia. The blog post was called "The Value of Museum Selfies." I'm not going to provide the link, partly because the writer misconstrues and mixes up ideas illogically and uses as justification for selfies that they … [Read more...]

What’s New About the New Greek Galleries at MFA?


Do people learn more at art museums when chronology governs a display or when a thematic narrative rules? It's a perennial question, and traditionally many museums with extensive collections answer it with the former because, with a broad, deep array of art in a particular category, they can. Less well-endowed collections have often gone the thematic route simply because they can't do a civilization or a period justice with their skimpy (or gap-filled) holdings. But not always. Lately more museums are going narrative because they thing … [Read more...]

Crystal Bridges: The Anti-Whitney-Biennial


Saturday is the day. That's when the art world, which has been wondering what Don Bacigalupi, president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and assistant curator Chad Alligood have been seeing for the better part of 2013 and much of 2014 on their search for underappreciated artists, will find out. That's when the museum unveils State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now -- their selections. It is definitely an unconventional ride through art in America. I say that even though I haven't seen the show, though the press preview was … [Read more...]

More Dueling On the Corcoran Gallery


All this month, the National Gallery of Art announced on Sept. 5, "NGA Corcoran offers free admission and tours, Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the month of September, several exciting exhibitions and special installations are on view at NGA Corcoran before it closes for renovation in October." As a result, the NGA says in a press release, "Free Admission at NGA Corcoran has quadrupled attendance." And to add to the good feelings it is trying to create, the NGA said, "Admission will remain free of charge when NGA … [Read more...]

And Now: The Answers To Who Said That


In my last post, I provided some quotes, thanks to Artspace, that could be attributed to four important critics as a back-to-school time test. And here are the answers: Clement Greenberg “I would not deny being one of those critics who educate themselves in public.” “Everyone dislikes technical criticism of painting; and there’s no other decent kind. What’s wanted is horseshit. And the horseshit is so easy to write brilliantly, but I shan’t.” Harold Rosenberg “The new American painting is not ‘pure’ art, since the extrusion of … [Read more...]

Back-To-School Time: A Test


Since its September, it's a good time to reflect on what we know and what we don't know. So here’s a test: Who said these things about art? “Whenever there appears an art that is truly new and original, the men who denounce it first and loudest are artists.” “There is no ‘pure art,’ unconditioned by experience; all fantasy and formal construction, even the random scribbling of the hand, are shaped by experience and by nonaesthetic concerns.” “I would not deny being one of those critics who educate themselves in public.” “What … [Read more...]

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