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Can There Be Too Many Museums?

In a controversial move, Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser last week killed plans to open an Institute of Contemporary Expression at a disused, rodent-infested, leaky-roofed historic school in the city's northwest quadrant. Predictably, she was pummeled by critics, some of whom say she would rather have a commercial venture in that space (which is protected and cannot be razed). It may be that politics influenced her decision, but a look--at least from afar--at the dynamics give me pause too. Sometimes, there can be too many museums--if … [Read more...]

The Most Common Expansion Mistake Hits The Perez

Time and again, over the years, there is one common mistake made by many museums that expand -- which often gets them into trouble and which is avoidable, mostly. Now it has hit the Pérez Art Museum Miami -- and we are not surprised. According to the Miami Herald (among other places),  The Pérez Art Museum Miami wants a $2.5 million boost in government support [from the hotel tax], with taxpayers set to cover a third of the museum’s budget next year.  Housed in a new $130 million waterfront headquarters built largely with government … [Read more...]

Judge Rules In Favor Of the DIA

Thank goodness: This afternoon, Judge Steven Rhodes that the Detroit creditors who pressed to remove art from the walls at the Detroit Institute of Arts to better inspect them during appraisals can't do it. According to the Free Press, Rhodes also denied the creditors’ motion seeking access to up to a million additional pages of historic documents about the art housed at the city-owned museum. However, Rhodes said he would allow creditors to work with DIA officials to allow access to artwork in storage at the museum. The rulings are a … [Read more...]

At Last: NEH To Get A New Chief

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

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

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

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

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

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...]

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