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Too Much Contemporary? Too Little What Came Before?

That is a prospect we–American consumers of art exhibitions–face, and it is that subject and its consequences for our culture that I take up in an opinion piece published this morning on Aeon, the digital magazine that covers science, philosophy and society as well as the arts. The headline is Why does contemporary art make […]

Dan Weiss Announced As Met’s CEO: Initial Thoughts

My initial reaction to this morning’s announcement from the Metropolitan Museum*–that Daniel H. Weiss is now President and Chief Executive Officer, with the TBD director reporting to him–is skepticism. I’ve got nothing against Weiss. I don’t know him. But as a long-time student of corporate governance and museum governance, I don’t think this particular arrangement is […]

A Masterpiece That Needs More Attention

On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal published my latest entry in its Saturday Masterpiece column, about Enguerrand Quarton’s Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, and all I can say is that we picked the right artwork this time, for sure, based on the feedback I’ve received so far. Many people–not art historians, of course, but art lovers nonetheless–have told […]

Discovery At The National Gallery

While I was in London recently (returning before the latest terror attack, thank God), I stopped in at the National Gallery to see its marvelous exhibition, Michelangelo & Sebastiano, which–for the first time, apparently–united the work of these two artists. Michelangelo helped Sebastiano immensely, giving him ideas and even drawings, at least partly to win him […]

That Feast of St. Roch? It’s A Milestone in Contemporary Art

Tipped off by none other than Philippe de Montebello, who read my review of Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, I learned a fascinating fact about one of the pictures in the exhibition: Canaletto’s The Procession on the Feast Day of Saint Roch is a milestone for contemporary art. If you look closely at the painting, […]

Mistaken At The Getty, And Grateful About It

I’ve been out to the Getty twice in recent months, both times to see (and review) interesting, ambitious exhibitions–one piece, about Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe, will be in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal (and is online, in its slightly longer version, now), and the other, for Shimmer of Gold: Giovanni di Paolo in Renaissance Siena, […]

If This Can Happen at the Met and the British Museum…We Have A Big Problem

Two completely unrelated news items have prompted this post. It has become pretty clear of late that many people do not know how to behave (gosh, is that too old-fashioned a term, even?) in art museums. On May 4, the New York Post reported that celebs at the Met’s* recent Costume Institute gala had smoked […]

NY Historical Society’s Renovation Opens a Debate

Is more always better? Is it better when it comes to seeing art and artifacts? That’s the question I’ve been pondering since last week, when the New-York Historical Society* opened its new fourth floor. The renovated and recast floor includes a dazzling, two-level display of 100 Tiffany lamps (at left) and a gallery whose exhibitions […]

Sotheby’s Pumps A Nascent Market

It may have been just a matter of time: today Sotheby’s announced an inaugural sale of contemporary African art, saying that this market in recent years has undergone “a long-overdue correction.” Then the press release added, but “there’s still a considerable way to go towards addressing the underrepresentation of African artists, who account for just […]

Who Gets What? David Rockefeller’s Art Bequests

Of all his art interests, we have long known that the Museum of Modern Art came first for David Rockefeller, who died last month. But there were in his will a few other bequests for museums. MoMA is to receive $125 million overall; he had already begun giving MoMA annual $5 million installments to fulfill […]

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