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Museum-Goers Say The Darndest Things

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Remember the old Art Linkletter "House Party" TV show feature, "Kids Say the Darndest Things"? Linkletter would interview kids and they would provide answers that boggled the mind, either because they were funny or poignant. I couldn't help think of it yesterday, after a visit to the Metropolitan Museum.* Among the exhibits I visited was Garry Winogrand, which consists of "more than 175 of the artist's iconic images, a trove of unseen prints, and even Winogrand’s famed series of photographs made at the Metropolitan Museum in 1969 when the … [Read more...]

“I did my best work there.”


"There" is East Hampton, Long Island, and the speaker is Robert Motherwell. The period he's talking about is on view in an exhibition that opened on Saturday at the Guild Hall in East Hampton: Robert Motherwell: The East Hampton Years, 1944-1952. While in East Hampton, Motherwell lived and worked in a house and studio designed by Pierre Chareau, the inimitable French architect. A show devoted to the paintings Motherwell made during those remarkable years has never been mounted. Focusing on two dozen important works from seventeen major museums … [Read more...]

Ask The Curator: The Secret Life Of Cezanne’s Apples


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...]

While We’re On the Subject of Marketing


Here's another example of synergy with opera (which I last wrote about here on July 1): On October 5, the National Gallery of Art in Washington will launch a "focus exhibition" called Degas's Little Dancer, which will show off its version of the wax sculpture, set amid 11 other works by Degas, some from its collection, some borrowed. Meanwhile, the Kennedy Center will unveil a musical by the name of Little Dancer, directed and choreographed by five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman and based on a book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens with music … [Read more...]

Chicago Has Some Fun Marketing Magritte

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We all know that it's hard for museums to get attention sometimes; there's so much competition for everyone's attention. The Art Institute of Chicago has mounted a major marketing campaign for Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 that's a bit unusual and may be working. It started back in June, but for whatever reason the AIC just sent out a press release. They call it "unthinking." ...Beginning in early June, billboards and train stations throughout the city began to invite passersby to “unthink” everyday words and ideas. … [Read more...]

Stanford: The New Art Place To Be


Many in the art world have been anticipating the opening on Sept. 21 of the collection of Harry and Mary Margaret Anderson at Stanford -- even from afar. In 2011, the couple donated 121 works of contemporary art, filled with paintings by the likes of Pollock, Diebenkorn, Rothko Elsworth Kelly, de Kooning, Joan Mitchell (Begin Again IV at left), and Elizabeth Murray, to name a few, to Stanford on the condition that it build galleries to house them. Stanford is offering timed tickets, starting in mid-August -- but they are free.   But Stanford … [Read more...]

Parklandia: Stretching, Striving To What End?


Most art museums seem to be stretching for "relevancy" these days, whatever that really means. And so we have, at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, a "community-driven" gallery section named Portlandia to accompany a current traveling exhibit called  The Art of the Tuileries Garden. In collaboration with the Louvre and the Musée Carnavalet Histoire de Paris, Portland, the High Museum and the Toledo Museum of Art developed the exhibit. It contains, according to the press release,  ...more than 100 sculptures, paintings, photographs, and … [Read more...]

Small Show At The Met Makes Me Wish… UPDATED


The thunderstorms that hit the New York area last Wednesday and Thursday evening destroyed my plans for a week away, so I ended up spending the Fourth of July in town instead of about 1,500 miles away in Texas. I decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum around mid-day on the Fourth, and it was packed then, even before it started to rain, which probably brought more visitors. First I went to Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century, a beautifully installed exhibit of sculpture, and then I decided to … [Read more...]

Koons: One Big Show In More Ways Than One

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I've never seen a press preview like the one I attended today. The Whitney was unveiling its Jeff Koons retrospective. When I arrived, safely 10 minutes or so after the doors opened, the line of press people extended around the corner. Inside was packed too. Some of us went straight to the galleries; then there was a program. After Whitney director Adam Weinberg spoke, Donna DeSalvo, the chief curator and deputy director for programs, and exhibition curator Scott Rothkopf took center stage too -- and then, when it was time for Koons to … [Read more...]

Why The Morgan’s Roger Wieck Is A Surprising Proselytizer


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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