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At The Philbrook: Retrospective For A No-Longer-Needed Exhibition

1954_12_Press

This Sunday, the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa opens what I think should be a fascinating show: IMPACT: The Philbrook Indian Annual. It's a retrospective on the competition the Philbrook held for 33 years, from 1946 to 1979, open to Native American artists. The museum says that Over the years nearly 1,000 artists from 200 Native American communities entered almost 4,000 works of art for judging, exhibition, awards, and sale. The Philbrook Indian Annual played a pivotal role in the definition of twentieth-century Native American fine art … [Read more...]

Clyfford Still Museum Revisited

PH-613, 1942

Life is constricted, to some extent, for all single-artist museums--and more than most at the Clyfford Still Museum. As decreed by the artist, it can never exhibit works by any other artist and it can't have a restaurant or auditorium, among other things. Yet almost about three years ago, in November, 2011, it opened in Denver. When I received a press release a while back announcing its tenth special exhibition, opening this coming Friday--The War Begins: Clyfford Still's Paths to Abstraction--I thought it was time to check in and see how it … [Read more...]

Another Corcoran Outrage: The Archives

Grieving Canova lion by David Mordini

If you thought everything about the future of the Corcoran Art Gallery was parsed and settled, much to the dismay of its students, faculty, curators and various formers in all three categories, think again. There's another outrage. The Corcoran's archives, which relate its entire 145-year history, are slated to be broken up. Any archivist will tell you that, more important than the possibly wonderful individual items, it's the whole of an archive that matters most to the historical record. Indeed, the Corcoran archives contain "all … [Read more...]

“Sculpture Victorious,” Yes, But In What Way?

DameAlice

I was recently at the Yale Center for British Art, where Sculpture Victorious: Art in the Age of Invention, 1837-1901, is on view through Nov. 30. It's a fascinating exhibition in many respects, bringing together a very diverse assemblage of objects from a very diverse group of lenders. Looking at one piece, an idealized, imaginary portrait of the first earl of Winchester borrowed from the House of Lords, Michael Hatt, an art history professor at the University of Warwick who is one of three curators of the show, said to me: “It is a mix of … [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...]

What’s New About the New Greek Galleries at MFA?

Menander

Do people learn more at art museums when chronology governs a display or when a thematic narrative rules? It's a perennial question, and traditionally many museums with extensive collections answer it with the former because, with a broad, deep array of art in a particular category, they can. Less well-endowed collections have often gone the thematic route simply because they can't do a civilization or a period justice with their skimpy (or gap-filled) holdings. But not always. Lately more museums are going narrative because they thing … [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...]

China: Museum-Building Slows Down

798ArtZone

China is still building museums like a maniacal child erecting skyscrapers with Legos -- but the rate has now slowed from one a day last year to one every three days, according to Cathy Giangrande, the co-author (with Miriam Clifford and Antony White) of  the new Chinese Museums Association Guide, which updates their 2009 book China: Museums. The Sinosphere blog of The New York Times just did a Q&A with Giangrande. In it, she reveals some noteworthy thoughts -- or updates on what we know. To wit: "In terms of content, one of the … [Read more...]

First View: A Pre-Opening At The Clark

Academic

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has set its Grand Re-opening for July 4, but since last week, director Michael Conforti and his team have been showing it off to the press, officials of other museums, donors and other powers-that-be. I was there last Friday afternoon, with much of the other press (but I did not stay for the evening festivities or for the Saturday events). The project started with a master plan in 2001, and involved other openings and changes over the years -- which I am not going to relate here. At the moment, … [Read more...]

Why The Morgan’s Roger Wieck Is A Surprising Proselytizer

R.Wieck

Anecdotally, we think we know that interest in "older art" is waning, and a smaller pool of those anecdotes suggest that it's partly because of their subject matter. In this increasingly secular age, religious subjects -- and some historical subjects -- seem to be of less interest to some art-lovers and collectors. When a story or a symbol is involved -- even as simple as a lily, representing purity, or a fish, for Christ -- people miss the significance. In 2009, The Art Newspaper wrote about this problem, and how the Victoria and Albert Museum … [Read more...]

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