an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise

Fashion Attracts Record Visitors Everywhere


Winterthur, the great palace of American decorative Arts in Delaware, is suddenly the belle of the ball thanks to British fashion. And television. Since the March 1 opening of its Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit, some 550 visitors per day, on average, have been arriving, "exceeding all attendance records maintained since Winterthur opened in 1951," Liz Farrell, the museum spokeswoman says. Last year at this time, Winterthur was presenting a wonderful exhibit that I wrote about for The Wall Street Journal, Common Destinations: Maps in the … [Read more...]

Oddly, Bush’s Art Gives Reason To Cheer


I'm sure you all saw coverage of the exhibit showing portraits painted by former president George W. Bush. The show at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University was front page news, pictorially, in New York -- here in The New York Times and here in The Wall Street Journal -- and probably elsewhere too. It was criticized as amateurish by some -- most? -- and I don't disagree. So was Winston Churchill's art, but it was still interesting that he could as well as he did, given all the other things Churchill did so … [Read more...]

How Do We Feel About Killer Heels?


As the subject of an art exhibition, that is -- not on what to wear. That's the question I've been mulling since yesterday, when the Brooklyn Museum* sent out a press release announcing Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, which opens there in September. Fashion exhibits are popular these days, and many are fine considerations of costumes old and new. I've lauded some here, and panned others. With a name like Killer Heels, you know the marketing folks have been involved. That's not a bad thing, depending on how deep it goes. … [Read more...]

What’s So Good About Milwaukee?


I'm talking the Milwaukee Art Museum here, and the answer -- actually -- is a lot of things. Most people -- especially those outside the art world -- know the museum for its signature wing designed by Santiago Calatrava, the brise-soleil roofed Quadracci Pavilion (which I am happy to report -- unlike many high-profile museum buildings -- does not leak, according to Brady Roberts, the chief curator). But, as close readers of today's Wall Street Journal will see, I was there recently to see Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art. I liked … [Read more...]

Unconventional Partnerships: Let’s Have More


I've had occasion recently to review the forward exhibition schedules of museums across the country, and I've been noticing something: Many museums seem more open to partnering on exhibitions with a wider variety of "venues," as we sometimes term the locations of special exhibitions. In the old days, art museums operated almost always within their own strata of peers. The Metropolitan Museum* would work with, say, the Louvre or the Art Institute of Chicago, but not with, say, the Joslyn Museum in Omaha. The Joslyn had nothing that the Met … [Read more...]

The Best Artistic Response To “Monuments Men”


“The Monuments Men,” George Clooney's movie supposedly based on Robert Edsel's book (see this previous post for the real story-teller), is not doing well in the eyes of critics. The Washington Post's Philip Kennicott pretty much eviscerated it. Metacritic figured that, all told, movie critics rates it 52 out of 100. But of course, even before the movie made its debut, museums tried to figure out how to capitalize on the publicity it would get. Nothing wrong with that. Of those I've seen, I like what the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is doing … [Read more...]

Durer Vs. Rembrandt Vs. Cranach Vs…


It's a rare museum that does what the Städel Museum just did: like an auction house crowing about new record prices, it sent out a release with attendance figures for its recent exhibition, Albrecht Durer: His Art in Context -- and them compared them with previous monographic shows for other renowned artists. Some museums, as you know, refuse to share any exhibition numbers at all, which I think is silly. (Understandable, maybe, but still silly.) Anyway, back to the Durer: in 15 weeks on view, the exhibition ended last Sunday, Feb. 2 -- … [Read more...]

In This Exhibition, Technology Really Works


I was cleaning out photos on my cell phone this weekend when I realized I had never posted here about the fabulous exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum* called The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Some of Gaultier's designs are a bit over the top of me, so I wasn't quite sure I'd like the exhibition. I did, and not just for the clothes, though may of them are gorgeous. I liked the exhibition because it used technology to the viewer's advantage: it wasn't just an add-on; it actually conveyed meaning and … [Read more...]

Sleeper At The Met: Ink Art


Few people in the art world would say that contemporary Chinese art is underexposed, but Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, is a stunner and perhaps a sleeper at the Metropolitan Museum* just the same. Curator Maxwell Hearn has chosen well, I think, and better yet -- though this creates a problem or two -- has decided to install the show in the Met's permanent galleries for Chinese art. This encourages, perhaps even forces, visitors to view the show through a historical lens. The downside, the problem, occurs because the show is … [Read more...]

Second-Rate Or “One Of The Greatest Ever”?

Veronese's Martyrdom of Saint George

The artist in question is about to get an exhibition at the National Gallery (yes, I'm still inspired by goings-on in London) -- and he is Veronese. Apparently, when the NG bought Veronese's The Family of Darius before Alexander (below right) in 1857, it was accused of squandering money on "a second-rate specimen of a second-rate artist." Of course, we don't think of Veronese as second-rate today, though -- and I hate to say this, as I love his work -- he came off in third place a few years back, when the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston gave … [Read more...]

an ArtsJournal blog