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AAMD Tries To Get Tough Re: Delaware Deaccession


Timothy Rub (pictured), current president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, has just penned a tough letter to Delaware officials -- Governor Jack Markell, Attorney General Beau Biden and Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams. It breaks no new ground, but it does make a decent point on the museum's current strategy of non-disclosure: ...we are also deeply concerned that the Delaware Art Museum has refused to disclose publicly the works of art that it is considering selling. Given the importance of this decision and its potential impact, … [Read more...]

New Web Resources Everywhere, It Seems


Hard on the heels of the recent announcement by the Vatican, that its bounteous library had begun digitizing all 82,000 manuscripts in its 135 collections -- thanks to help from the Japanese Japanese technology group NTT Data -- the Tate has made available a rich artistic resource. It's called Audio Arts, and it consists of 245 hours of more than 1,640 interviews with artists, critics and other art world figures. This one is already available here. As the Tate's press release describes it: The list of interviewees ...includes some of the … [Read more...]

Now Hirshhorn Loses Interim Director


The job of Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture of the Smithsonian Institution, just got a little harder. Kurin has been responsible for the search for a director of the Hirshhorn Museum since last spring. You'll recall that former director Richard Koshalek stepped down after his seasonal inflatable bubble idea was killed by the Smithsonian amid board turmoil at the Hirshhorn and questions about who'd pay for it. Kurin appointed Kerry Brougher, the Hirshhorn's deputy director and chief curator, to be interim director. … [Read more...]

At Last: NEH To Get A New Chief


Yesterday, President Obama announced his new chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Dr. William “Bro” Adams, the current president of Colby College in Maine, a position he has held since 2000. Adams announced his impending retirement from Colby -- in June -- at the start of 2013. Previously, Adams had been president of Bucknell University, 1995 to 2000, and before that he was vice president and secretary of Wesleyan University, 1993 to 1995. He has also been program coordinator of the "Great Works in Western Culture" program … [Read more...]

Oddly, Bush’s Art Gives Reason To Cheer


I'm sure you all saw coverage of the exhibit showing portraits painted by former president George W. Bush. The show at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University was front page news, pictorially, in New York -- here in The New York Times and here in The Wall Street Journal -- and probably elsewhere too. It was criticized as amateurish by some -- most? -- and I don't disagree. So was Winston Churchill's art, but it was still interesting that he could as well as he did, given all the other things Churchill did so … [Read more...]

San Francisco Museums Land A Great Gift


There are at least three notable aspects of the gift announced the other day by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: the Thomas W. Weisel Family has donated about 200 objects of Native American art to the museum. They were amassed over three decades by Weisel, an investment banker who profited mightily as a pioneer of the tech industry in Silicon Valley. It's a good match for the FAMSF. The gift includes works that span nearly a thousand years, "from 11th century Mimbres ceramics to 19th century works," according to the press release … [Read more...]

Betsky Asked To Leave Early?


The situation at the Cincinnati Art Museums gets stranger and stranger. Director Aaron Betsky, who was pretty much forced out at the beginning of the year, will leave on May 1 -- instead of his earlier plans to stay until his successor was named. This move, my sources suggest, reflects deep turmoil within the museum caused by Betsky, who is a polarizing figure, if nothing else. His tenture there has been marked by turmoil. In a statement sent by board president Martha Ragland to employees yesterday, she said: "The Director has asked us to … [Read more...]

Definitions: Two Experts Opine On What Museums/Directors Should Do


When Philippe de Montebello was about to retire five or so years ago, one of his rumored successors was Max Hollein (pictured), the director of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. The job went to Tom Campbell, of course, and I am  not sure if Hollein was seriously considered or if he wanted the job. Nonetheless, the two names came together in a funny way in the last few weeks, thanks to two completely different articles. In the U.S., the East Hampton Star interviewed de Montebello and in Germany, Deutsch Well interviewed Hollein. When asked … [Read more...]

109 Minutes With Tom Campbell


That's how long Carl Swanson spent with the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art* -- not sure when -- to deliver a short "encounter" feature in the current issue of New York magazine. Keeping in mind that the article's readership is probably not that attuned to the Met (34% of readers are 18‒34 and 31% are not New Yorkers), the write-up had only a few surprising assertions. The first surprise was this paragraph: To this day, despite that blockbuster Alexander McQueen exhibit, his travels in the TED-talk-and-Davos circuit, the grand … [Read more...]

Dubai Ruler Orders Four New Museums


Before I was diverted yesterday to write about a Dubai auction, I was planning to share news of the Dubai subway system. It's about to become a museum or, rather, a set of museums. The state news agency there recently reported that Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum wants themed museums in the subways as inspiration. As Gulf Business wrote: “We want to inspire and communicate with every employee on his way to work, every student on his way to pursuing education and every tourist visiting Dubai,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “We … [Read more...]

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