an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise

A Good Show Spoiled

With the weather in New York still fine--and warmish--on Saturday, I ventured up to the New York Botanical Garden for FRIDA: Art, Garden, Life, one of the Garden's hybrid exhibitions that combines plants and paintings. This one, much like the Garden's 2012 exhibition titled Monet's Garden, offers about a dozen works of art, exhibited in the library building. Many more specimens of the plants Kahlo grew at her home, Casa Azul, on the outskirts of Mexico City, are there in the Garden's Conservatory. The show went on view on May 16 and remains … [Read more...]

What I Learned This Summer: Philadelphia

I've been visiting a lot of museums this summer, on more than my usual share of travels. Sometimes I've picked up ideas worth sharing--for example, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There, Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting--which runs only through Sept. 13, so hurry to see it--has been pulling in crowds. Tickets are timed for crowd control, though, so visitors can actually see the paintings--or could while I was there on a Tuesday in July. It's an excellent show that explicates how a dealer was … [Read more...]

A Museum Innovation With Legs–And Twists

Way back in September 2010, I applauded an innovative initiative by the Detroit Institute of Arts, but noted that I thought more could be made of it. Now, I learn these five years later, more has been done with the idea. At the time, the DIA was celebrating its 125th anniversary by putting up 40 framed, life-sized digital reproductions of works in its collection on street locations all around its four-county area. It was a big hit--the DIA has continued it ever since--so big that the Knight Foundation is putting $2 million into helping it … [Read more...]

Fun And Games In Art Museums

There is absolutely no point in saying something isn't offensive if you're not a member of the offended class, but let me say right off that I don't quite understand the uproar over letting visitors try on kimonos at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Yet that doesn't much matter here. I'm more puzzled over why museums like the MFA are offering dress-up opportunities in the name of audience engagement. Engagement with what? In case you have not heard, the MFA decided to have "Kimono Wednesdays" to teach visitors about Japonisme, the European … [Read more...]

Delaware Museum Sells More Art

The Delaware Art Museum issued a statement late yesterday saying that it had sold its beautiful Winslow Homer, Milking Time (at right), and a painting by Andrew Wyeth,  Arthur Cleveland, to pay off its debts. That makes four art works sold to pay for bad mistakes (overexpansion, imo) by the museum's board and administration. You'll remember that the museum has already auctioned off William Holman Hunt’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil, which fetched £2.5 million in London, and Alexander Calder's Black Crescent. The Calder was sold privately, … [Read more...]

The Broad Museum Answers Back

Several days ago, I asked here if any other art museums in the U.S. were spending as much money buying art as the Crystal Bridges Museum. I had added up the announced purchases over the past year or so by Crystal Bridges and it came to more than $150 million. I could think of only the Broad, which hasn't opened yet, as a contender. This morning, I received an email from the Broad announcing "more than 50 new artworks added to the Broad collection in anticipation of the September 20 opening." But I still think CB is spending more. That's … [Read more...]

Crystal Bridges Makes A Few Announcments

When it come to art purchases, there could  be a "Crystal Bridges" watch--it seems to me that the museum in Bentonville built largely with Alice Walton's and the Walton Family Foundation's money is spending more money buying art than another other U.S. museum currently open to the public. For a short item in tomorrow's New York Times that is now online (and is a better, longer version than what will be in the print version), I disclose five more big purchases: two sculptures (including Quarantania, at left) and two paintings by Louise … [Read more...]

The Brooklyn, The Whitney…Oh My! (Or, While I Was Away…)

I didn't actually post here at RCA that I would be away for about a week around the Memorial Day weekend, so I am sure that it looked as if I was perhaps speechless last week when major announcements came out from the Brooklyn Museum* and the Whitney Museum. I was simply AWOL--in Spain, actually, taking advantage of the strong dollar. I had a marvelous time viewing art in Madrid and nearby towns, and one visit is pertinent to those two aforementioned announcements. Not the Brooklyn release, which named Anne Pasternak as successor to … [Read more...]

The Shocking Cooper Hewitt, Part Two

Aside from the maltreatment of its beautiful historic building, which I wrote about here nearly three weeks ago, something else is deeply wrong with the new incarnation of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum: the display and the contextualization of the objects in the displays simply don't measure up to minimal standards. To be sure, visually they are often attractive. But frequently they are very dumbed down, witless and perhaps even misleading. I think the museum's leadership meant well; I really do. But I think they misjudged their … [Read more...]

The Shocking Cooper Hewitt

Many curtain-raisers for and reviews of the newly renovated and reconceived Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum have focused on its use of technology to make the museum interactive, participatory and therefore supposedly of more interest to young generations who are not satisfied with just looking. One recent Saturday, I finally made it to this new incarnation to see for myself. I didn't mind the interactive technology. I liked much of it. Some of it was fun to play with. At one station, I designed a lovely outdoor sculpture. I did not get … [Read more...]

an ArtsJournal blog