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Ethics 101 For Dealers: Deaccessioning

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Are dealers are "accessories" to an ethical violation if they agree to sell works of art for museums, like the Delaware Art Museum (pictured below), that are selling to raise money for capital or operational purposes? Accessories to criminal acts may, after all, be guilty of an infraction. That's the underlying question, but not my point, in a short piece I wrote, published today, on a  a new(ish) website based in London and with an international audience, mainly of art and antiques dealers. The site, Art Antiques Design, was started by a … [Read more...]

Name The Best Four Hudson River School Paintings — To Go On Stamps

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On Monday, the Nelson-Atkins Museum announced that its wonderful Grand Canyon painting by Thomas Moran, from 1912, would grace a Forever stamp as part of an homage to the Hudson River School of artists -- it's one of four tributes. What are the other three paintings? (I got no other press notices.) Were the other three museums, as the Post Office would choose only from works held in the public domain, mum on the honor? Guess so. But I looked it up. As you can well imagine, the other three artists in this series are Thomas Cole, Asher B. … [Read more...]

Corcoran Case: Over. “Painful.” But Necessary, Alas?

Corcoran Gallery via AP

Judge rules that mergers can proceed, a headline about the Corcoran Gallery of Art cy pres case would say. But the decision, D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Okun made, he said, was "painful." That's sort of how I have felt from the beginning: it's a bad situation and it's pretty hard to dream up a way to save the Corcoran as it was. The Corcoran's troubles and management/governance, or lack thereof, had simply got too bad, and the Corcoran was damaged goods. I never believed in the plan of Wayne Reynolds to save it; in the long run, I … [Read more...]

Museum-Goers Say The Darndest Things

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Remember the old Art Linkletter "House Party" TV show feature, "Kids Say the Darndest Things"? Linkletter would interview kids and they would provide answers that boggled the mind, either because they were funny or poignant. I couldn't help think of it yesterday, after a visit to the Metropolitan Museum.* Among the exhibits I visited was Garry Winogrand, which consists of "more than 175 of the artist's iconic images, a trove of unseen prints, and even Winogrand’s famed series of photographs made at the Metropolitan Museum in 1969 when the … [Read more...]

About That Stolen Guercino

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This is just plain bad: Last week, a painting titled Madonna with the Saints John the Evangelist and Gregory Thaumaturgus (1639) was stolen from a church in Modena, Italy. Not only was the church alarm system in active, but also the Baroque masterpiece wasn't insured. It's a big painting -- 10 ft. by 6 ft. -- and reports say it was stolen in its frame, with speculation that the theft was "ordered" by a private collector because a work of this size and renown would be hard ever to resell openly. Unless, speculated the Telegraph in London, it … [Read more...]

Take Control of The Tate, With A Robot, After Dark

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If an interactive experience with art is all the rage these days -- and to some people it is -- the latest project (I don't know what else to call it) at the Tate in London is both in vogue and new. I think -- at least I've not heard of anything like this. It's called After Dark and it just won the inaugural IK Prize, which is going to be awarded annually by the Tate to a project that "celebrates digital creativity and seeks to widen access to art through the application of digital technology." (That's per the press release.) After … [Read more...]

Watching Art Be Made

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Many people love going behind the scenes -- and many art museums now offer some sort of occasion or event to do so. Next week, if you're in Washington, the Freer-Sackler will let us all in on the installation of Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, who is representing her country at the Venice Biennale next year. I was struck by the photos the Freer* sent me, and so decided to share them here, along with some of the information in the press release announcing the Aug. 18-21 installation. For her installation, Shiota -- based in Berlin -- "will … [Read more...]

“I did my best work there.”

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"There" is East Hampton, Long Island, and the speaker is Robert Motherwell. The period he's talking about is on view in an exhibition that opened on Saturday at the Guild Hall in East Hampton: Robert Motherwell: The East Hampton Years, 1944-1952. While in East Hampton, Motherwell lived and worked in a house and studio designed by Pierre Chareau, the inimitable French architect. A show devoted to the paintings Motherwell made during those remarkable years has never been mounted. Focusing on two dozen important works from seventeen major museums … [Read more...]

Ask The Curator: The Secret Life Of Cezanne’s Apples

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So far, The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne, a "ground-breaking" special exhibition at the Barnes Foundation, has been getting good reviews. The Wall Street Journal's review called it "small but select" and concluded: Although it offers only a taste of the bountiful feast Cézanne's paintings as a whole at the Barnes provide, "The World Is an Apple" allows one to scrutinize the artist's still lifes in illuminating isolation from the work of his peers, and to appreciate how the artist's powerful, painterly sensations could … [Read more...]

The Future Of Art Book Publishing Is Here

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Wow! Today I had a look at the first digital-only publication of the Museum of Modern Art,* and I can really see -- even after only a short time of experimentation -- how much digital technology can do for art books. The book, Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, comes in iPad or PDF form. Here's the official description, from the press release: Edited by Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, MoMA, and Blair Hartzell, independent art historian and curator, it embraces the innovative features … [Read more...]

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