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The Fisher Folly: SFMoMA’s Bad Deal

We’ve never known exactly the details of the deal that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art made in 2009 with the Fisher family to get its collection (better described, actually, as access to the family’s collection–at first for 25 years and later changed to 100 years). And we still don’t. But an article by […]

George Goldner: Nothing If Not Opinionated–And Entertaining

It’s not quite The Car Guys, but an exchange at a recent symposium at the Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting* has tickled a couple of people I know, who mentioned it to me. It’s called Philippe de Montebello Interviews George Goldner and it’s about Golder’s career buying drawings at the Getty and, ahem, the […]

Since We’re Voting, There’s This Artistic Conundrum

Lest you think I have no sense of fun from my last post, which chastised the Indianapolis Museum of Art for outsourcing its exhibition planning to the public, I thought I would mention an instance where I think engaging the public is fine. It has been taking place at the Royal Academy since mid-March, in […]

Indy Decides to Outsource Exhibition Decisions

For the last few years, the Indianapolis Museum of Art has, it seems to me, been on a crazy trajectory. As soon as it does something smart, it turns around and undermines itself. Now it seems to be hitting a new low.  Not content to anger its local constituency in 2014-15 by attempting to charge $18 […]

“Unfinished” Business: Reflections As the Met Breuer Opens to Public

In my experience, whenever a critic writes a review, some observations have to be left out. There’s no room; they don’t fit thematically without great, leaping transitions, or some other reason intrudes. Maybe they are fleeting thoughts, worth sharing in conversation but not meant for a written review. Those tidbits are what I plan to […]

Miles To Go: The Met Breuer’s Unspoken Task

The Metropolitan Museum* put on a show for the press last week at a briefing on the Met Breuer. It took place, oddly (for the Met) in a black gallery in the main museum building and over cocktails at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Tom Campbell, Sheena Wagstaff, Jeff Rosenheim (photography) and Limor Tomor (performances) spoke. I […]

Acquisitions In the Air–and In Reality

For some reason I cannot fathom, I’ve been receiving many press releases lately about museum acquisitions, by gift or purchase, and in one case, about a wonderful gift to make acquisitions. I hope they keep coming! Let’s look at them in reverse chronological order: This morning came news that the Art Institute of Chicago received more […]

Contemporary Art and the Met–Digging for Nuggets

In this week’s New Yorker magazine, Calvin Tomkins has his crack at explaining the fraught past relationship between the Metropolitan Museum of Art* and contemporary art and plans for the future in an article headlined The Met and the Now. It is a feel-good article, all but a puff piece. Think of it as an […]

What To Put On the Wall, Along With the Art

The perennially quotidian but important issue of museum labels has cropped up into several conversations I’ve had lately. That put me, for the most part, in mind of some quotes from an artist, none other than that conceptual artist and sometime prankster John Baldessari. There’s little questions that some museums have dumbed down their labels […]

A Fitting and Fun Christmas Art Initiative

Many American museums ignore Christmas–except for the cards and gifts they sell in their shops and, sometimes, secular decorations. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn today of a new effort at the National Gallery in London. Home, as you all know, to one of the greatest painting collections in the world, all dating from […]

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