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The Importance Of Having A Watchdog – UPDATED


The Asheville Art Museum seems to have a watchdog on its tail, probably in a good way -- in fact, in a way such that it makes me wonder if, say, the Corcoran Gallery of Art might have survived as it was had it had someone similarly watching its every move. In Asheville, the watchdog is a man named Ken Michalove, the former mayor and city manager.  He says the museum "is headed for bankruptcy unless it ramps up its own fundraising, sticks to its original goals and stops trying to adjust its game plan and financial reports so as to qualify for … [Read more...]

Corcoran Case: Over. “Painful.” But Necessary, Alas?

Corcoran Gallery via AP

Judge rules that mergers can proceed, a headline about the Corcoran Gallery of Art cy pres case would say. But the decision, D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Okun made, he said, was "painful." That's sort of how I have felt from the beginning: it's a bad situation and it's pretty hard to dream up a way to save the Corcoran as it was. The Corcoran's troubles and management/governance, or lack thereof, had simply got too bad, and the Corcoran was damaged goods. I never believed in the plan of Wayne Reynolds to save it; in the long run, I … [Read more...]

Big Questions Re: Museum of African Art’s New Dream


There was alarming news in the article in Wednesday's New York Times about the Museum for African Art here in NYC, and it wasn't ab0ut the shrinking of the building or even the gallery space. It was about the shrinking of the board -- to six people! That is way too small for a non-profit, where aside from choosing the leader/director, raising money -- get or give -- is one of its most important functions. The article said: The number of trustees — who usually are expected to provide an overwhelming majority of contributions — has shrunk … [Read more...]

Timken Mess, Part 3: Hugh Davies Adds Perspective


The Timken Museum of Art in San Diego, as you'll recall, is a governance mess: trustees have caused Executive Director John Wilson, a professional, to resign and have replaced him with a well-known art restorer who will run the museum part time from New York City. See my posts here and here. That's no way to run a museum. The saddest thing, as reported in a piece last week by KPBS, the public radio station, is that locals now see the museum as regressing. Wilson had boosted attendance and raised some money, but apparently also thought the … [Read more...]

Save The Corcoran Plaintiffs Receive Standing


Just in: D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Okun has granted standing, aka petition to intervene, to nine of the 19 people who, as part of Save the Corcoran, asked to be part of the case to stop the mergers put forward by the museum's trustees. The 9 include current students, staff and faculty. The judge reportedly told the attorney representing the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery that he expects further justification of the mergers with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University as the way forward for the gallery and the … [Read more...]

LA To Get Yet Another Contemporary Art Museum


Maybe it got little notice nationally because it's still just a paper plan, but it looks as if Los Angeles will get another contemporary art museum. It's called the Old Bank District Museum and it's the brainchild of a real estate developer named Tom Gilmore. He has hired architect Tom Wiscombe, and they are planning "an epic, locally minded art institution within the stalwart structures shouldering Main and Fourth Streets." That's in LA's "historic core district." The buildings involved are the Hellman, Farmers and Merchants Bank Building … [Read more...]

DIA Reaches Almost 80% of “Grand Bargain” Goal


That was the news out of the Detroit Institute of Arts' press conference this morning: It has another $26.8 million in commitments from corporations pledged toward the $100 million it agreed to raise to buy its independence in the Detroit bankruptcy. The new money in today's announcement came from: $10 million from Roger S. Penske and Penske Corporation, $5 million from DTE Energy, $5 million from Quicken Loans and the Rock Ventures Family of Companies, $2.5 million from BCBSM, $1 million from Meijer, $1 million from Comerica … [Read more...]

Money For Contemporary Art, Boston: Not So Scarce?


Not too long ago, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston was a nomad, unable to raise money for a proper home, "striving to be marginal," as the director Jill Medvedow used to say. Then, it raised $75 million, moved into a lovely new home on the waterfront, and hit its stride. And now, the ICA has announced that since 2010, it has completed another fundraising campaign: it gathered $50 million for operations and to pad its endowment, which stands at $25 million, up from $9.6 million when the campaign started. That's better, but still … [Read more...]

Save The Corcoran Petition Filed, But…


Today, the Save the Corcoran Coalition filed its complaint and petition in D.C. Superior Court, which must rule on the proposed deal between the Corcoran, the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. STC  is asking to intervene in the Corcoran's cy près proceedings. The petition asks the court to: ·      remove members of the current  Board of Trustees, ·      ensure that the entire Corcoran collection remain together, ·      require that the Board submit to a full financial accounting, and ·      deny cy près … [Read more...]

Act Now, If You Care About The Fate Of The Corcoran

OAG seal _sm_0

You'll remember that the Corcoran's struggles were "resolved" in May, when the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University split responsibilities for its future, subject to the approval of Superior Court of the District of Columbia. That court is now seeking opinions of interested parties before making its determination. On Thursday, it issued a "Notice of Cy Pres Petition of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art and Design," which said in part: ...the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art have filed a petition … [Read more...]

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