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“National Gallery” — The Film


Oddly, so soon after I wrote here about "Mr. Turner," the British film about J.W.M. Turner, I just learned about a British documentary called "National Gallery" about that august London institution. It, too, was shown at last spring's Cannes Film Festival and it's on view in New York City from today through Nov. 18. It's at the Film Forum, which describes it like this" London’s National itself portrayed as a brilliant work of art in this, Frederick Wiseman’s 39th documentary and counting. Wiseman listens raptly as a panoply of … [Read more...]

Chicago Has Some Fun Marketing Magritte

CT FOD_sculpture1.JPG

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...]

The BSO And Arts Journalism: Don’t Let This Spread


Heaven knows that arts journalism is not as robust as it once was, or needs to be. But the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is trying something that is, simply, a bad idea. The BSO is offering a journalism "fellowship," through which an early to mid-career reporter will be "embedded" with the symphony for a year beginning in mid-June. This person would be tasked with telling "the underreported stories of orchestra musicians (both the BSO and those outside of Baltimore/Bethesda), Music Director Marin Alsop, guest conductors and guest artists, and … [Read more...]

Who Would You Pick To Play Picasso? Plus, Best And Worst Artists’ Films


Most movies about art and artists leave a lot to be desired. We shall see how Picasso is treated in a movie about the making of Guernica, with Antonio Banderas starring as the artist. Banderas, who like Picasso is a Malaga native, said that he "turned down the chance at one point of playing Mr. Pablo, but the time has come in my life where I understand him better, and I am nearly at the age he was when those events happened, in 1937, when he was 55 or 56, and I'm getting close," according to Fox News Latino. Banderas is 54. Carlos Saura will … [Read more...]

Another Director’s Job Is Now Open


The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Barnes Foundation, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester -- those museums all need directors. And now, so does the Phoenix Art Museum. Last Thursday, on Apr. 17, Jim Ballinger -- director there since 1982 -- announced that he was retiring, with the effective date undisclosed but, I'd guess, probably related to the selection of his successor. The search will start immediately, the museum said. Ballinger turns 65 this year, and started at the … [Read more...]

Art At The Movies: Next Up, Vermeer And Music


If you missed the Vermeer & Music: The Art of Love and Leisure at the National Gallery in London this summer -- it closed on Sept. 8 -- you'll have something of a chance to view it from afar tomorrow. That's when the latest effort by Exhibition: Great Art On Screen, which I wrote about here, goes up on the silver screen. The film will be in theaters near you Oct. 10, generally at 7:30 (but check the local time).  You can see the theater listing here. Or here, by state. The Vermeer exhibition was reviewed in The Guardian here, with a … [Read more...]

“Artist to Artist” – New Short Film Series


I've mentioned Art21 here before; it's the nonprofit that makes videos about artists. Its television series, "Art in the Twenty-First Century" won a Peabody Award, and it has other offerings, too. This week Art21 introduces something new: A series of short-format documentaries highlights leading contemporary visual artists in conversation with their peers, discussing the inspirations and ideas that drive their processes. The films have a distinctive format: each film follows a single artist/host as she engages with other artists in a shared … [Read more...]

Herb And Dorothy, The Sequel


Remember Herb and Dorothy Vogel? Of course you do. They are the New York couple, the postal clerk and the school librarian, who collected art using only his salary for years -- and eventually gave most of it away to the National Gallery in Washington and then to 50 museums, one each in every state. They were the subject of a documentary in 2009 called "Herb and Dorothy." I wrote about it then for The Art Newspaper, and to this day it is usually one of the most-viewed articles on my personal website. On Friday, a second documentary by Megumi … [Read more...]

Just Three More Days! MFA Lets You Listen And Learn Free


I'm writing just a quickie on this, because there's a time limit. About six weeks ago, I received an interesting press release from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, headlined MFA PUBLICATIONS DEBUTS ITS FIRST HIGHLIGHTS SERIES E-BOOKS, MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND ARTS OF KOREA. They were "full-color, multimedia-enhanced digital books," for $9.99 each. The musical instrument one seemed especially intriguing because it promised 25 audio and 23 video clips accompanying the text. It features more than 100 instruments in the museum's … [Read more...]

A New Attempt Toward “Understanding Art” On Video

Understanding Art-Hidden Lives

Making a great video about visual art is a challenge, so I'm glad producers keep doing it. In recent days, I've had an opportunity to sample a new DVD series called Understanding Art: Hidden Lives of Masterpieces that takes a new tack. Made by Juliette Garcia and Stan Neumann, it has five episodes, each focusing on one artist with many works in the collection of the Louvre: Raphael, Rembrandt, Poussin, Watteau and Leonardo. Instead of telling the life of the artist, they essentially film the Louvre's study days, then take the "best parts" … [Read more...]

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