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How To Be a Great Museum Trustee

What kind of museum donor hosts a visit in her home with the museum’s director, as she is nearing death, and asks him to read aloud the list of artworks in her final bequest? What kind of donor had let the previous director choose which works the museum would want and then, when it was […]

The Museum and the Narrative: Too Political?

Tomorrow is Canada Day, and the Art Gallery of Ontario is marking it with the opening of new galleries of art made in Canada that will, for the first time, give primacy to indigenous art–at least in its J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art—to whose name “indigenous” was added just last year, btw. The Centre […]

Why Max Hollein Was Inevitable as Met’s Director

Put yourself in the position of a member of the Metropolitan Museum’s search committee: Despite all the pressure to choose anyone but another white male–somewhat wrong-headed pressure, imho–I think you’d have picked Max Hollein (at left) to be the next director of the museum too. For many reasons–as I will outline. I’ve commented favorably and […]

Museum Admissions, Deaccessions: Let’s Get Real

I have not waded into either of the debates that are raging across the art museum world at the moment. So far, I’ve avoided commenting on the deaccessions planned by the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass., which has been tied up in the court system for months, and the LaSalle University Art Museum in Philadelphia, […]

Great Expectations, Set By Museums, And Then?

I was drawn to an exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art by its title: Glorious Splendor: Treasures of Early Christian Art. When I went to see it last month, it was not quite what I expected. Or what the title conjured. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good show. Sometimes an exhibit with a […]

A New American Home for Italian Contemporary Art

There’s a new kid on the art block in the Hudson River Valley–Magazzino, in Cold Spring, about an hour and 45 minutes north of New York City. I went up to attend its opening on Saturday and made a trip, too, to Jack Shainman Gallery’s The School, further up the Hudson Valley in Kinderhook. The […]

Too Much Contemporary? Too Little What Came Before?

That is a prospect we–American consumers of art exhibitions–face, and it is that subject and its consequences for our culture that I take up in an opinion piece published this morning on Aeon, the digital magazine that covers science, philosophy and society as well as the arts. The headline is Why does contemporary art make […]

Dan Weiss Announced As Met’s CEO: Initial Thoughts

My initial reaction to this morning’s announcement from the Metropolitan Museum*–that Daniel H. Weiss is now President and Chief Executive Officer, with the TBD director reporting to him–is skepticism. I’ve got nothing against Weiss. I don’t know him. But as a long-time student of corporate governance and museum governance, I don’t think this particular arrangement is […]

If This Can Happen at the Met and the British Museum…We Have A Big Problem

Two completely unrelated news items have prompted this post. It has become pretty clear of late that many people do not know how to behave (gosh, is that too old-fashioned a term, even?) in art museums. On May 4, the New York Post reported that celebs at the Met’s* recent Costume Institute gala had smoked […]

At The Met, A Most Timely Acquisition

Maybe I should not admit this, but I never heard of Luisa Ignacia Roldán until a few weeks ago, when I learned that the Metropolitan Museum of Art* had recently purchased a polychrome terracotta sculpture by her. Dated 1700-1701, The Entombment of Christ takes up a very common theme in Spanish art of the period. Her interpretation adds […]

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