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Retraction! Someone Goofed…


Hours after I published the announcement, drawn from a press release issued around 1:45 today by the Art Institute of Chicago, that the museum had hired Rebecca Long from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, another press release arrived from AIC. It said that it "kindly asks that that you refrain from utilizing the Institute’s press release sent on Monday, December 22 at approximately [12:45 pm CST]." But it was too late. I was out, not near my computer when the second email arrived, and only now can I address the situation. Here is the … [Read more...]

Another Defection From Indianapolis


The hard-hit Indianapolis Museum of Art lost another curator: Rebecca Long, currently Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1800 at IMA, is moving to the Art Institute of Chicago. There, she will be the Associate Curator in the Department of Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture, responsible for Italian and Spanish painting and sculpture before 1750. Long will join AIC on Feb. 27, 2015. After IMA's other losses, this is a blow. There, she "spearheaded work on the forthcoming catalogue of the museum’s … [Read more...]

Another Director’s Job Opens Up


While you were holiday shopping (maybe) on Friday, news broke that Susan L. Talbott will retire as director and C.E.O. of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. There's no sign that anything is amiss, but up in Hartford--which has dismisssed or lost a few directors in recent years because of board relations and expectations--you never know. And she did say. "Looking ahead, I am eager to explore a different chapter in my life and career"--which isn't quite "leaving to spend more time with my family," but.... Talbott took over the museum in … [Read more...]

Indianapolis Museum Stirs Up A Hornet’s Nest


What the Indianapolis Art Museum did Friday has to fall into the category of major PR blunder. In a press release headlined "IMA announces new campus enhancement plan to improve visitor experience and financial sustainability," it sneaked in the fact--in the ninth paragraph, no less--that: To build stronger relationships with guests, ensure quality programming through customer feedback and to guarantee long-term financial sustainability, the IMA will be refining its admission pricing policy. Visitor research has shown that IMA guests do not … [Read more...]

Boston’s Arts Czar–Real Or Window Dressing?


This fall, Boston's relatively new (Jan. 2014) mayor, Martin J. Walsh, appointed a cabinet-level arts czar: Julie Burros, who has been director of cultural planning in Chicago for nearly 15 years, where she helped develop a cultural plan for the Windy City. Many in the arts there were thrilled. Talking with the Boston Globe, ArtsBoston executive director Catherine Peterson said: “I think it is a potential game changer for the city. It embeds somebody who reports directly to the mayor, so the arts are not just at the center of what goes on in … [Read more...]

Spalding Takes On Art’s “Self-Congratulatory In-Group”


I suppose I first became aware of Julian Spalding, the British art museum director, when I went to Glasgow some years ago and visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I hated it, and I blamed Spalding, who was then the director of art galleries for Glasgow. Kelvingrove's collections--which include Dali's  Christ of St John of the Cross, Rembrandt's A Man in Armour, and works by van Gogh and Monet, among other things--had been reinstalled for maximum tourist appeal, in themed galleries with dumbed-down labels. The lobby was like a playground … [Read more...]

Directorial Job News: Emily Neff Out, Benedict Leca In


Emily Neff, who took the job as director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma just last January, left the job quietly last month. Neff, who was formerly curator of American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, resigned--probably under pressure--in early October, according to local reports, and it was accepted by the university president, David Boren, and then in late October by the board of regents. . I have not been able to reach Neff, so I will not be able to go into details. But my understanding from … [Read more...]

Oops: There’s Bigger News Today From Sotheby’s – UPDATED


William Ruprecht, the CEO, is stepping down, and the board has begun a search for a new chief executive. Obviously, while I was busy here writing about the Georgia O'Keeffe record sale today at Sotheby's, a lot more was happening on York Avenue in NYC. The announcement arrived a short time ago: Ruprecht, who has served as CEO since 2000, will continue as Chairman, President and CEO until his successor is in place to ensure a smooth transition. The Board has formed a Search Committee to oversee the recruiting of a new CEO and has retained … [Read more...]

Tomorrow’s Museum Leaders–And A Few Of Today


Whether or not they ever become museum directors, the twelve curators who were named this week as the eighth class of fellows at the Center for Curatorial Leadership* are signalling their ambition. It's a well-rounded group, coming from ten American museums plus two overseas museums--in Denmark and the Netherlands. But before we get to them, let me link to two people who were named museum directors this week (aside fr0m new president of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Don Bacigalupi): John B. Ravenal (right), modern and contemporary … [Read more...]

Breaking News: Don Bacigalupi Leaving Crystal Bridges


Don Bacigalupi has been president of Crystal Bridges only since February, 2013, but now he is leaving to become the Founding President of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which George Lucas intend to erect in Chicago. It is not without controversy. The recently released design concept, put forward by MAD Architects, has been criticized. People don't approve of its "space-mountain-like design." Still it has a proposed opening date of 2018. Previously, Bacigalupi was director of Crystal Bridges, and I'm not sure anyone ever understood … [Read more...]

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