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An Art Museum For Las Vegas After All?


Here's a switch: Las Vegas, whose art museum closed in 2009, is talking about building a new art museum -- this one to focus on contemporary art. Whether this one is any more viable than the first is a matter of conjecture. Interestingly, in the information I've been able to find online, there's not a mention of a collection or much about art. It's all about a new building with 35,000 square feet of gallery space on a two-acre site downtown. I caught wind of this on the local CBS news website. The article began: A major campaign to raise … [Read more...]

MASS MoCA Expands, With State Funds

Maurishuis Opening, The Frick Collection

It seems like only yesterday that MASS MoCA opened, but it was 1999. And today, MASS MoCA announced that was moving into its "Phase III renovation." The Massachusetts House of Representatives has just passed an omnibus capital improvement act that allots a $25.4 million grant to MASS MoCA for the project, and the bill now goes to the State Senate for consideration. Let's hope. The money will fund the museum's "final phase of its multi-decade effort to renovate its 26-building, 600,000 square foot, 16-acre factory campus....Phase III … [Read more...]

Fundraising Tactic Worked!


Do you remember last December, when I wrote here about Allen & Co., the financial company headed by Herbert Allen, which had decided to give up the naming of the Allen Room, one of three performance spaces at Jazz at Lincoln Center, so JALC could resell it to another donor? Allen gave $10 million for the name "in perpetuity" in 2004, and I guess he figured it was worth more now. He was right. On Monday, JALC announced that Robert J. Appel, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, had given $20 million for the naming … [Read more...]

Museum Secrets: Instructive Audit In St. Louis


St. Louis Art Museum director Brent Benjamin (below right) receives $670,000 in pay, "slightly more in annual compensation than the heads of similar art museums." The museum has an endowment of $140 million and an operating budget of about $30 million. In 2012, it spent $1.4 million on exhibitions that yielded only $320,000.00 at the gate. The museum's restaurant is losing money -- $260,000 last year. Why do we know all this? As a government entity, publicly-supported, museum, the St. Louis Art Museum is subject to regular audit, and late … [Read more...]

Nastiness Starts: DIA Plan Opponents Attack Director


Politics, not to mention bankruptcies, are a nasty business, so perhaps we should have been prepared. Today The Detroit News published an article headlined DIA executives' pay up 17% since '10. It puts the museum and its executives under the microscope, probably to undermine the deal reached last week. The headline doesn't cover most of the reporting, which may have influence. The article goes on to elaborate on the raise for top museum executives; a loan to Graham Beal, the DIA director; a "discretionary fund" for his business expenses; … [Read more...]

Breaking Now: DIA Commits to Rescue Deal


The Board of Trustees of the Detroit Institute of Art has, afterall, committed to raising $100 million as part of the deal engineered by Judge Gerald Rosen to save the museum's collection from sale. The museum just issued this statement, in part: ...Today, the DIA’s Board of Directors approved a commitment by the DIA to raise $100 million from corporate and individual donors toward these efforts. The DIA joins the foundation community ($370 million) and the State of Michigan ($350 million) in support of Chief Judge Rosen’s plan to benefit the … [Read more...]

Day’s Wrap-Up For DIA: Settlement Link To Pensions Is The Key


Michigan governor Rick Snyder made a statement this afternoon affirming, as predicted this morning, a settlement that would probably rescue the DIA, though some details need to be worked out. And it seems that whoever, several weeks back, made the link between saving the museum from selling art and ensuring that pensioners got paid provided the key to the settlement in the legislature. Snyder said -- addressing the press in Lansing today (The Detroit News has a video of the occasion, as does the Free Press) that that was a condition, as well … [Read more...]

Detroit Relief? Deal Said To Be Coming Today


Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan apparently has his political ducks lined up. Both Detroit newspapers are reporting that Snyder met yesterday with state legislators and reached a bipartisan deal to provide state support to the Detroit Institute of Arts and protect pensioners. But it could still come undone. The Detroit Free Press said that "The DIA also is widely expected to contribute to the rescue fund," resurfacing an idea floated last week that the DIA would have to raise $100 million as part of the deal. DIA director Graham Beal has said … [Read more...]

End Of The Year Thoughts On Museums And Money


Today, and for the last week, I've been getting emails from museums and other non-profits asking me to give to the annual fund. Likewise, when I visit museum websites in recent days, many carry a banner asking for a hand. (In fact, I am surprised when I visit a website in these final days of the year that doesn't ask for donations...). Here's one from LACMA, cropped, at right. This all reminded me that way back in March, I promised here that I would be back here elaborating on an article I wrote for the Museums section of The New York Times. … [Read more...]

Is This The Light At Tunnel’s End For DIA?


The Detroit Institute of Arts issued a new statement about its predicament a short time ago:  The Detroit Institute of Arts is pleased that the negotiations around the thoughtful and creative plan initiated by mediators Chief Judge Gerald Rosen and Eugene Driker continue to progress. The positive comments regarding potential state support by Governor Snyder (left) and other lawmakers will continue to provide momentum to the discussions. The DIA is actively engaged in these talks and continues to be optimistic about a positive outcome. Which … [Read more...]

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