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The Coke Bottle And The High: Too Close For Comfort?


The commercialization and entertainmentization of art museums continues. The High Museum in Atlanta just stooped to mounting an exhibit titled The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100.  Atlanta is the birthplace of Coca-Cola and the company is probably a major benefactor of many organizations, including the High, in Atlanta. But still. I could not find, in a fairly quick search, how much money Coke gives to the High. But it may be substantial. Interestingly, the "vice chair-exhibitions" of the High's board of trustees is Michael Keough, … [Read more...]

Monumental Art Undertaking in Saudi Arabia: Needs Partners


In yesterday's post, I mentioned the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, which just partnered with LACMA. The Center, pictured below, hasn't received much national press in the U.S. (though apparently it held a meeting with the press at Art Dubai). It's a venture of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned global petroleum and chemicals giant of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At its founding, it had American oil companies as partners, but no more (they're not listed in "History" on the website, … [Read more...]

The Heard Museum Loses Its Director To…


More musical chairs. The other day the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa announced that it had hired James Pepper Henry as its new executive director; he starts Mar. 30. Pepper Henry (at right) has a lot of experience with Native American art. Before the Heard, he had been director of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, associate director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, founding director of the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Okla.; interim curator of American Indian Art at the Portland Art Museum; gallery director at the … [Read more...]

Remember That Retracted Announcement from Chicago?


Right before Christmas, I posted news from the Art Institute of Chicago about a new Associate Curator in the Department of Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture--Rebecca Long. It was news largely because it was another defection from the Indianpolis Museum of Art. Then the AIC retracted. It has all been fixed, and Long is indeed the new curator in Chicago. Here's the AIC press release and here is my original post, which explained the significance. … [Read more...]

Whitney’s New Collection Database: The Good And The Requested


In the runup to its move downtown this spring (to the building at right), the Whitney Museum just announced an expanded online database of its permanent collection. It's grown from 700 works of art to more than 21,000 by some 3,000 artists--"spanning all mediums—painting, sculpture, film, video, photography, works on paper, installation, and new media." Along with images of the works, this searchable database also includes written text, resources for teachers, as well as audio and video files, providing a deeper insight into select pieces. … [Read more...]

Breaking News: Graham Beal to Retire


It had to happen, after the last few years; Graham Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts for the past 15-plus year, will retire on June 30. Here's what the release said: Since joining the DIA, Beal has presided over some of the most significant accomplishments in the museum’s history, including a tremendously successful reinvention of presenting art to the public; passage of a tri-county regional millage to support museum operations; and the DIA participation in the historic and unprecedented grand bargain initiative, which … [Read more...]

Another Shoe Drops: The Barnes Gets A New Director


Did you know that Thomas "Thom" Collins, was a native Philadelphian? I don't know if that helped, but Collins--currently director of the Perez Art Museum in Miami, has just been named executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation there. He was there for five years--some of them turbulent. But the record he posted there undoubtedly counted in Philadelphia. Here's how it was described in the press release: At PAMM, Mr. Collins oversaw construction of the new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building located in downtown Miami, which … [Read more...]

Did Worcester Museum’s “Rethinking” Work? A FollowUp


More than a year has passed since I visited the Worcester Art Museum and wrote Museum, Remodeled and Rethought for the Wall Street Journal, so I thought I would check in with the director, Matthias Waschek, to see what had happened since then. WAM in many ways might be a model for other art museums, especially those in cities that do not attract many tourists. Brief recap: Waschek had rehung the Old Masters galleries there, medallion-style, to get people to visit the museum (a pitiful 31,435 people had visited the galleries in FY 2011, … [Read more...]

Who Will Run the National Gallery? The Odds-On Favorite…UPDATED


The National Gallery in London was expected to announce a replacement for Nicholas Penny, the director, before Christmas, and I understand that the person has been chosen; the name must now simply go through political channels, with approval by Prime Minister David Cameron, before it can be announced. One thing is for sure, though: it's not going to be Luke Syson, the curator of European sculpture and decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum, who openly sought the job and, some sources tell me, thought he had it in the bag, thanks to his … [Read more...]

Retraction! Someone Goofed…


Hours after I published the announcement, drawn from a press release issued around 1:45 today by the Art Institute of Chicago, that the museum had hired Rebecca Long from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, another press release arrived from AIC. It said that it "kindly asks that that you refrain from utilizing the Institute’s press release sent on Monday, December 22 at approximately [12:45 pm CST]." But it was too late. I was out, not near my computer when the second email arrived, and only now can I address the situation. Here is the … [Read more...]

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