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Small Museum Makes Waves

For Sotheby’s, the continuing sales of Alfred Taubman’s estate have got to be a disappointment. The auctioneer may not even make back its $500 million-plus guarantee, based on sales of his Impressionist, Modern, contemporary and American art, let alone make a profit. This week, his The Great Florida Sunset (at left) by Martin Johnson Heade sold […]

Flash: The Detroit Institute of Arts Names New Director

They have replaced Graham Beal as director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and it’s an inside job. Salvador Salort-Pons, the current curator of European paintings a the DIA, plus–since 2013–director of collection strategies and information, won the post. Not an easy job ahead of him, but I do think it was wise for the trustees […]

Summer Museum Sightings, Part 2: Thematic Cooperation

More observations from my travels this summer: Several smaller museums got together this summer to create hoopla by agreeing to present variations on a theme. I see this is as a really good thing, and I have heard anecdotally that it worked. That it, the thematic cooperation brought more attention from the media, sometimes even […]

By The Numbers, Good Museum News in Virginia

Earlier this week, when I received an email from the American Folk Art Museum, I thought it was doing well–getting back on its feet after a disastrous over-expansion. Anne-Imelda Radice, the director, wrote that: We closed the fiscal year with great news: 150,018 visitors came through our doors, experiencing exhibitions, programs, events, the shop, and […]

Tom Krens: At It Again?

Tom Krens, the museum consultant formerly known as the director of the Guggenheim Foundation and booster of multi-branch museums, has always lived by the philosophy of “Go Big or Go Home.” Now, he is at it again. Last week, the Berkshire Eagle reported that Krens–who first proposed the creation of Mass MoCA in North Adams, […]

“Softening” The Museum Brand

I couldn’t find a press release on the museum website about this, but a couple of newspapers recently reported that the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is changing its name. And I did find, on the website, an item in “Mia Stories”— its direct to consumer communication. From now on, there will not be an “s” […]

A Museum Innovation With Legs–And Twists

Way back in September 2010, I applauded an innovative initiative by the Detroit Institute of Arts, but noted that I thought more could be made of it. Now, I learn these five years later, more has been done with the idea. At the time, the DIA was celebrating its 125th anniversary by putting up 40 […]

On The Road: The Maine Art Museum Trail

If you ever have the opportunity, drive the Maine Art Museum Trail. Did you even know there was a MAMT? Or that it includes eight institutions around the state, from the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in the south to the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor? Truth is, it should be better […]

Fun And Games In Art Museums

There is absolutely no point in saying something isn’t offensive if you’re not a member of the offended class, but let me say right off that I don’t quite understand the uproar over letting visitors try on kimonos at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Yet that doesn’t much matter here. I’m more puzzled […]

The Met’s Coming Rebranding: A Puzzlement

It’s no secret that Thomas P. Campbell has been working overtime to make his Metropolitan Museum* different from the one he inherited from Philippe de Montebello. And the change has been dramatic–some covered in the press, some not. At least not yet. But as the King of Siam sings in “The King and I” (and […]

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