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Once More Into the Storerooms >> Discoveries!

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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...]

A Question to Nobelist Kandel Reveals A Big Gap At the Met

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Last week, I was honored to sit opposite Nobel-prize winner/neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel at a small dinner. Kandel, seeking to understand how memory works, figured it out by studying its physiological basis in the cells of sea slugs. For that, he won the Nobel in 2000. More recently, he has turned some of his attention to art. In 2012, he published The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present. Kandel and his wife, Denise, go to museums a lot. "I would say art is our … [Read more...]

ArtPrize Matures: The People Vs. Experts

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In its sixth incarnation, ArtPrize--the open competition in which the public chooses the winners--is trying a new tack. Not only will experts also weigh in separately--as they have in the past--but also their choice will receive a grand award prize of equal size, $200,000, the same as the public. This is good, more about which in a minute. This year, ArtPrize has 1,536 artist entries, drawn from "51 countries and 42 U.S. states and territories, exhibiting work in 174 public venues throughout the city."  (That's down a bit from last year, … [Read more...]

Is This A “New” Piero della Franscesca? (Corrected)

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"New" works by Old Masters turn up all the time in places like Italy -- especially Italian churches. So it's not surprising perhaps that one of the latest discoveries took place in St. Anthony the Abbott Church in San Polo. There, a fresco -- some art historians say -- is at least partly by the hand of Piero della Francesca. San Polo is about a 165 miles to the north and west of  in the hills just above Arezzo, where Piero created his famous Legend of the True Cross frescoes. A few weeks back, the Italian press published articles, including … [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...]

Fourth of July Post

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The Morgan Library & Museum has put on display a rare first edition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” marking the 200th anniversary in 2014 of the origination of the famous anthem. And the Morgan is open today, until 5 p.m., in case you're looking for something to do in the rain. Also, it has its regular hours this weekend. Since it's a holiday, I'll quote completely from the Morgan's press release: Francis Scott Key’s poem, inspired by the sight of the flag defiantly flying over Fort McHenry after the British attack in September 1814, was … [Read more...]

Public Art: The Video And The Cathedral

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They're excited in San Antonio about a new video installation in their town called The Saga by a French artist named Xavier de Richemont. (How do I know? The Visit San Antonio website calls it a "world class video art installation.")  I thought I'd write briefly about it here because the piece is cast onto the facade of the 18th century San Fernando Cathedral, which is the seat of the archdiocese of San Antonio and a working church. The Saga has nothing to do with religion, though -- it's about the city's history, "the historical … [Read more...]

Delaware Deaccession Strategy: Sell Just Two Works?

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The London auction offering William Holman Hunt's Isabella and the Pot of Basil  from the Delaware Art Museum is a month away (June 17) but the catalogue is set to be released only on Monday. It's pretty clear why: the museum wanted to sell it privately, but Christie's couldn't come up with a buyer who would pay the required price. The painting carries an estimate of £5 to £8 million, or $8.4 to $13.4 million at today's exchange rates, according to an article in the Wilmington News Journal.  It adds that the catalogue for the Victorian, … [Read more...]

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