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More Triumphs And Woes For Frank Gehry


He's called (by some) the most important architect working today, which is debatable, but there's no question that Frank Gehry is one of the world's most innovative and creative architects. In the U.S., he's still having trouble with the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, despite a revision in his design delivered earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, In the revised design, Gehry's Los Angeles-based team eliminated two large, metal tapestries on the sides of the memorial park, along with some large columns. One long, stainless … [Read more...]

Answer to the Ever-Present False Dichotomy About Museums


It's very trendy these days to insist that museums should be visitor-centered, not art-centered. Most recently, I was called on the carpet yet again for suggesting that art comes first, but not just that; in fact, someone I do not know accused me a restarting the culture wars when I wrote here about the Portland Art Museum's Parklandia. The blog post was called "The Value of Museum Selfies." I'm not going to provide the link, partly because the writer misconstrues and mixes up ideas illogically and uses as justification for selfies that they … [Read more...]

And Now: The Answers To Who Said That


In my last post, I provided some quotes, thanks to Artspace, that could be attributed to four important critics as a back-to-school time test. And here are the answers: Clement Greenberg “I would not deny being one of those critics who educate themselves in public.” “Everyone dislikes technical criticism of painting; and there’s no other decent kind. What’s wanted is horseshit. And the horseshit is so easy to write brilliantly, but I shan’t.” Harold Rosenberg “The new American painting is not ‘pure’ art, since the extrusion of … [Read more...]

Back-To-School Time: A Test


Since its September, it's a good time to reflect on what we know and what we don't know. So here’s a test: Who said these things about art? “Whenever there appears an art that is truly new and original, the men who denounce it first and loudest are artists.” “There is no ‘pure art,’ unconditioned by experience; all fantasy and formal construction, even the random scribbling of the hand, are shaped by experience and by nonaesthetic concerns.” “I would not deny being one of those critics who educate themselves in public.” “What … [Read more...]

Mass MoCA Dreams Big: And Wakes Up Almost Middle-Aged


With the stroke of Gov. Deval Patrick’s pen a few weeks ago, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art got the go-ahead to realize the nearly 30-year-old dream of transforming a 19th century, 26-building, 16-acre factory complex into a destination arts center that would also help revive the economy of North Adams, Mass. As the art world knows, the road has been a bit bumpy and, along the way, the vision has changed. But Mass MoCA has hit something of a groove of late, giving state officials the confidence to allocate $25.4 million from … [Read more...]

Stanford: The New Art Place To Be


Many in the art world have been anticipating the opening on Sept. 21 of the collection of Harry and Mary Margaret Anderson at Stanford -- even from afar. In 2011, the couple donated 121 works of contemporary art, filled with paintings by the likes of Pollock, Diebenkorn, Rothko Elsworth Kelly, de Kooning, Joan Mitchell (Begin Again IV at left), and Elizabeth Murray, to name a few, to Stanford on the condition that it build galleries to house them. Stanford is offering timed tickets, starting in mid-August -- but they are free.   But Stanford … [Read more...]

Cincinnati Hires A Director, As Another Curator Departs


The news actually came out yesterday in an afternoon press release (but I was a little busy yesterday with other news): the board of the Cincinnati Art Museum has chosen Cameron Kitchin as the museum’s director. Kitchin previously headed the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tenn.  In the press release, the board indicated that he is "a nationally recognized innovator and leader in the museum field."  I confess I've not noticed him before, though that may have more to do with the PR department there and the lack of national news … [Read more...]

Retirement For Emily Rafferty At The Met


In many New York art circles, Emily Rafferty was, as president, as much associated with the Metropolitan Museum as the director, even though she had nothing to do with the art and usually shied away from talking about it. Today, the Met announced that she'll retire next spring -- and what a loss that will be. Everybody I know inside the museum and outside the museum respected Rafferty; she was a role model for many women at the museum. Here's what the announcement said: Emily Kernan Rafferty, President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art since … [Read more...]

Big Questions Re: Museum of African Art’s New Dream


There was alarming news in the article in Wednesday's New York Times about the Museum for African Art here in NYC, and it wasn't ab0ut the shrinking of the building or even the gallery space. It was about the shrinking of the board -- to six people! That is way too small for a non-profit, where aside from choosing the leader/director, raising money -- get or give -- is one of its most important functions. The article said: The number of trustees — who usually are expected to provide an overwhelming majority of contributions — has shrunk … [Read more...]

If “Creative Director” Title Fits A Museum, Why Not?


News the other day that the National Academy had elected 13 new Academicians reminded me that I meant to comment on the new title there, announced in the recent shakeup by Carmine Branagan, the director. First, the new members: visual artists Ida Applebroog, Jane Dickson, Martin Puryear, Edward Ruscha, Joan Semmel and Stanley Whitney; and architects Peter Bohlin, Preston Scott Cohen, Michael Manfredi and Marion Weiss, Eric Owen Moss, Antoine Predock and Charles Renfro. Second, the idea: you will  recall that several weeks ago, Branagan … [Read more...]

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