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MFA’s Gets A Load of Rothschild Loot


Literally. Bettina Burr (known as Nina, pictured left)--the daughter of Baroness Bettina Looram de Rothschild, who reclaimed about 250 pieces of Nazi-looted art from Austria after it passed a new restitution law in 1998--has donated 186 objects to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The trove, which includes jewelry, jeweled boxes, furniture, prints, drawings, miniatures, paintings and rare books, is most of what remains that had been passed down to her and her relatives from her ancestors in the Austrian Rothschild family. The great collectors … [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...]

NEA Reveals The Real Targets For Art Museums


The National Endowment for the Arts released three reports today on arts participation, barriers to it, the impact of the arts and culture industries on the economy--all information from 2012. There's much to digest. Here's the link to them. But I'm going to paste here just four charts from them that speak to one aspect of the environment for arts museums. Each one tracks interest in going to an art exhibit by people who had not been to an art museum in the last 12 months. They were asked: During the last 12 months, was there a performance … [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...]

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...]

Derek Gillman, Late of the Barnes, Gets A New Job


Another personnel shift: On Monday, Derek Gillman, who headed the Barnes Foundation until 2013, when he unexpectedly stepped down to join the faculty of Drexel University, started a new job yesterday--at Christie's in New York. There, he is Chairman, Impressionist & Modern Art,  and senior vice president of The Americas unit of the auction house. The release said: [he] will work very closely with Giovanna Bertazzoni, International Head of Impressionist & Modern Art and Brooke Lampley, International Director, Impressionist & … [Read more...]

News From London: NPG, Not NG


A curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nicholas Cullinan, is taking a round-trip back to London to become director of the National Portrait Gallery. Cullinan, a curator in the modern and contemporary art department, joined the Met less than two years ago. When he did, he was described this way by Tom Campbell: He is a formidable scholar who has established himself with distinction in the field of modern and contemporary art over the past decade, particularly through his work on Cy Twombly, Arte Povera, and a range of contemporary … [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...]

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