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What’s Left Unsaid About the Delaware Deaccession


Today's sad sale at Christie's in London, where Isabella and the Pot of Basil, which was being deaccessioned by the Delaware Art Museum, failed to raise much money -- just $4.24 on the hammer, versus a low estimate of $8.4 million (and we don't know if Christie's waived the commission or not) -- begs another look at the situation there. Just last week, no less an authority than Timothy Rub, director of the Philadelphia Art Museum, writing against the deaccessions in the Wall Street Journal, wrote:  "Given its importance, the work may fetch … [Read more...]

Flash: Christie’s Sells “Isabella” for Delaware


For half the low estimate. Today's sale in London must be shaking trustees of the Delaware Art Museum. Isabella and the Pot of Basil just sold for £2.5 million, hammer price. That's $4.24 million.  The presale estimate was £5 million to £8 million.  It was hard to tell from the Internet view, but it looked like there was just one bidder.  So, I guess trustees should forget any thoughts they may have had of selling just three works of art to make their $30 million goal. … [Read more...]

Speculation: Is Delaware’s Calder Next?

I hate to play the speculation game, but that's what happens sometimes when museums try to hide their activities. So I report what the Wilmington News Journal is saying about the next work of art being deacessioned by the Delaware Art Museum: Alexander Calder's prominent "Black Crescent" mobile has been removed from the Delaware Art Museum's East Court and its collections database, making it potentially the third work the museum will sell by October. The museum's CEO, Mike Miller, would neither confirm nor deny whether or not the mobile will … [Read more...]

All-in-All, A Good Plan at the Frick


In a place like Manhattan, I almost never want to see green space disappear. And that will be one upshot of the Frick Collection's proposed expansion, which was announced this morning in a press release. To gain 42,000 square feet -- which "will house more gallery space, an expanded entrance hall, additional space for the Frick’s world-renowned art reference library, new classrooms, a 220-seat auditorium, expanded administrative space, and updated conservation laboratories, as well as a rooftop garden terrace for museum visitors -- the Frick* … [Read more...]

Monday To Bring “Major Grand Bargain” Announcement — UPDATED


That's what the press announcement from the Detroit Institute of Arts said on Friday morning about 10:30 a.m. The DIA is holding a press conference at 11 a.m. in the Rivera Courtyard. I was hopeful that the DIA had raised all the money, $100 million, it needs to meet the demands of the Emergency Manager and others in the deal. But, no, the news is good, but not quite that good. According to both Detroit papers, the DIA and Gov. Rick Snyder will announce a $26 million gift from the Big Three Automakers. $10 million each will come from Ford … [Read more...]

In Re: DIA — The Moral Of The Michigan Vote Story


The Michigan State Senate took the high road today, and therein lies a moral for not only politicians around the country but also the art world. Marshalling support from left and right, the suite of bills required to enable the so-called Grand Bargain to rescue Detroit, its pensioners and the Detroit Institute of Arts sailed through the senate "with large bi-partisan majorities" and now goes to Republican Governor Rick Snyder to sign. Said the Detroit Free Press: Passage of the bills was a seminal moment in the city’s historic Chapter 9 … [Read more...]

Kevyn Orr Reprimands Detroit Creditors


I don't envy Kevyn Orr, Detroit's emergency manager, that's for sure. Tough as his job is, he also has to contend with the nastiness surrounding the city's bankruptcy -- which always happens, as in any bankruptcy, someone has to lose out. This past weekend, Orr (at right) made a speech on Mackinac Island in which he blasted the “misinformation” campaign being waged by financial creditors (among other things), according to The Detroit News. Good for him. The News said: At an event showcasing bankrupt Detroit’s comeback, Emergency Manager … [Read more...]

North Miami MoCA: Where Are The Grown-Ups?


It's hard not to read the article in the Miami Herald posted yesterday and headlined Board rejects North Miami’s nominee for Museum of Contemporary Art director without either laughing or shaking your head. Here's why:  The museum’s board of trustees — which has said it wants to move the museum’s collection to Miami Beach’s Bass Museum of Art — said Wednesday it would no longer consider the city of North Miami’s designee for new museum director.  “The Board provided the candidate, Mr. Babacar M’Bow [at right], with a two-week window to … [Read more...]

The Hidden News Behind The Saudi Museum Boom

Mada'in Saleh

The other day, The Art Newspaper reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has plans to spend "more than $1.7bn on building 230 new museums as part of a programme to promote the country’s culture." ...At a conference held in Oxford early in April, entitled “Green Arabia”, the influential HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, nephew of King Abdullah and president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), said, “We have entered a new age; we have transitioned. Antiquities are the seat of a continuum to bring … [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...]

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