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At Last: NEH To Get A New Chief

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Yesterday, President Obama announced his new chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Dr. William “Bro” Adams, the current president of Colby College in Maine, a position he has held since 2000. Adams announced his impending retirement from Colby -- in June -- at the start of 2013. Previously, Adams had been president of Bucknell University, 1995 to 2000, and before that he was vice president and secretary of Wesleyan University, 1993 to 1995. He has also been program coordinator of the "Great Works in Western Culture" program … [Read more...]

More Troubles For DIA-Detroit

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Another reason why the Detroit bankruptcy-Detroit Institute of Arts deal must become reality as soon as possible. On Friday, an opponent of the deal -- a bond insurer named Syncora -- said it was filing a subpoena "seeking all documents related to the museum’s art collection and records detailing its financial performance in a move that amplifies the tension over the DIA’s future." Bad news -- even it if doesn't stick. It could mean endless work for the DIA. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press headlined Bankruptcy creditor … [Read more...]

Juxtapositions: Portugal, Miro, Detroit, Russian Oligarchs

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The Detroit bankruptcy and the fate of the Detroit Institute of Arts is making waves in Europe, just as Kevyn Orr -- the city's emergency manager -- made remarks that show, finally, he understands what might have happened. And still might, if he and Gov. Rick Snyder waver. Creditors have not yet given up hope for a sale of the art. The European connection was detailed in an article posted on The New York Times website on March 26 -- Portugal’s Move to Sell Miró Works Raises Debate of Preservation vs. Privatization -- which referenced … [Read more...]

NEA: “Level Funding” for FY 2015

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I don't have the Budget Book, but the National Endowment for the Arts has just put out a statement saying that President Obama has requested $146.021 million for FY 2015 for it, "the same amount as the current year's budget." Presumably, the National Endowment for the Humanities will get the same proposed total, though I could not yet find an announcement from them. The NEA does not yet have a chair (though the Presdent recently nominated Jane Chu, president of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, she has yet to … [Read more...]

Obama Administration Lets Down The Arts — Again

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Ordinarily, I would agree that President Obama has too many other important things on his desk right now to spend time finding someone to head the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. True, Rocco Landesman exited the NEA late last year, and Jim Leach left the NEH months ago, but there is the little matter of health care, not to mention Syria, Iran, etc. that the President has to deal with. However, I sat up and took notice in late September, when the White House sent me notice of these "key … [Read more...]

The Berlin Decision, Part Two

For those of you who speak German and want more details about the decision to leave Berlin's Old Master Paintings in the Gemaldegalerie (which I just posted), here are some links, courtesy of RCA reader Wolfgang Gülcker. Here are links to: the feasibility study the position paper of the Foundation for Prussian Culture everything related to this decision, including those above and the press release Gülcker has summarized them in greater detail that I did on my Breaking News post, as follows -- verbatim, except where noted: The … [Read more...]

The Sunday Dialogue: What Didn’t Get Published — UPDATED

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As I suspected, Frank Robinson's "Invitation to A Dialogue," the results of which are published in the Review section of today's New York Times, elicited responses about the situation of the Detroit Institute of Arts in the midst the city's bankruptcy, no matter what he later said his intentions were. And predictably, they only reinforced the false dichotomy he posed in his invitation. A chance to shed light on the issue has been lost. Interestingly enough, Robinson wrote " a private note (not for publication)" to me after my … [Read more...]

In Defense Of Art: Please Respond

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This is your chance, and it may be your best chance, to make the case for art museums. Right now, online, The New York Times has invited a dialogue with readers that will run in Sunday's Review section. You must respond by tomorrow (Thursday) to be considered for publication. Frank Robinson, former director of Cornell's art museum, the Williams College Art Museum and RISD, has posed the question -- to my mind, way too simplistically. Nonetheless, the last words of his post are: "How many lives is a Rembrandt worth?" You can read his … [Read more...]

“Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week”

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I must be in a good mood, or something -- after praising Graham Beal last night, I'm going to now praise the American Alliance of  Museums. They are advocating "Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week" for Aug. 10 through 17, and I think that is a great idea. AAM hasn't just come with the idea -- I gather, but am not sure, that it has staged these weeks in the past -- it has laid out for everyone to see a How-To guide. Among the recommendations: Step 3: Follow Up with the office after sending the invitation. Call the local office to … [Read more...]

Peter Schjeldahl Is Mistaken, I Believe

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Like many in the art world -- take a look on Facebook -- I was surprised that Peter Schjeldahl wrote on the New Yorker website that he favored the sale of the Detroit Institute of Art's collection to pay the city's creditors. I saw the headline, wondered what this esteemed art critic had to say, and immediately read the piece, to see what I had been missing in this argument. As it turns out, nothing. I was amazed by the shallowness of the piece. Sure enough, I was not the only one. Before I could even contemplate how to respond here, an … [Read more...]

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