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What’s Up With The Met’s Lauder Center?

That was the question on my mind when I proposed a story on it for the annual New York Times special section on museums, which was part of today's paper. The result is headlined A Gift That Could Rewrite Art History in the paper (it's different--and too "newsy" a headline on the web--bt that's journalism today. Interestingly, the Times usually shows the writer the print head, but not the web head). In any case, here's the link to the article. The Lauder Research Center for Modern Art has an enviable $22 million endowment of its own and is … [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...]

Once More Into the Storerooms >> Discoveries!

Now it's the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh's turn to find fantastic art works in its storerooms, as many other museums have done. Among the newly discovered pieces: a hand-painted enamel bowl with roundels of butterflies from the Yongzheng period, a “bizarre googly-eyed dragon bowl” and cinnabar lacquer panel (below right) from the Qianlong period, a ritual bronze from the Western Zhou period, a Gupta period Buddha head (at left), a gilded bronze Thai Buddha head and a Bamana Boli figure. Many are going into a reinstallation of the … [Read more...]

The Future Of Art Book Publishing Is Here

Wow! Today I had a look at the first digital-only publication of the Museum of Modern Art,* and I can really see -- even after only a short time of experimentation -- how much digital technology can do for art books. The book, Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, comes in iPad or PDF form. Here's the official description, from the press release: Edited by Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, MoMA, and Blair Hartzell, independent art historian and curator, it embraces the innovative features … [Read more...]

Try This NYT Web App To Track Art Coverage Trends

Who is mentioned more often in pages of The New York Times from its start in the 1850s through 2011? Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci? Van Gogh, Degas or Gauguin? Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois or Mary Cassatt? Impressionism or Modernism? Monet or Manet? You can see for yourself how the Times chronicled art trends -- or any other trends -- with a new web app called Chronicle. It allows you and me to tap into "Visualizing language usage in New York Times news coverage throughout its history" to discern … [Read more...]

“No Time To Think” — Are Museums Part of the Problem Or Antidotes?

Has the worm turned? Are people weary of multi-tasking, interactivity, overcommitment, overextension and too tied to mobile devices? If you read an article in the July 27 edition of The New York Times headlined No Time to Think, you learned two things. First, the answer is no. As the article said: In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes... ...It could be because human beings, when left alone, … [Read more...]

How Many Museums Is Too Many?

Some people would say there can never be too many museums. I would rephrase that to say there can never be too much art, but there can be too many museums. The U.S. may be there now. According to recently released information from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the U.S. has twice the number of museums previously accounted for -- 35,144 museums nationwide, up from an estimated 17,500 museums in the 1990s. The count is based primarily on IRS 990 forms filed by nonprofit museums, botanical gardens, zoos, aquariums and historical … [Read more...]

How Would You Explore The Knoedler And Duveen Archives?

Just the other day, I learned that the National Endowment for the Humanities had made a $300,000 grant to the Getty Research Institute to help make available the Knoedler Gallery archive. I've written about this archive before -- it's an important one and it's big. Some finding aids have already been posted online. The NEH grant will accelerate the processing of the archive, funding the "arrangement and description, and partial digitization" of the archive's "1,400 linear feet of records documenting the acquisition and sale of European and … [Read more...]

Insights: Cherry-picking Culture Track 2014

Culture Track, conducted by the arts advertising/marketing firm LaPlaca Cohen, came out with its 2014 Culture Track the other day, the first since 2011. As usual, the survey -- said to be the largest national tracking study of the attitudes, motives and behaviors of culturally active audiences in the U.S. -- answered questions, raised some more, and included some puzzling responses about participation in the cultural sector. I picked out a few things for comment: The eldest and youngest -- the pre-war and millennial generations -- … [Read more...]

Art History For The 21st Century

In fall 2012, James Cuno, president of the Getty Trust, chastised art historians in an op-ed on the web for being behind the times in their use of digital tools. I agreed, and wrote a post about it. So I've watched to see what the Getty was going to do about it -- and I outline some of those initiatives in today's Wall Street Journal. My Cultural Conversation with Cuno is headlined Modernizing Art History, and it details his thoughts, as well as a few from others who work at the Getty, on digital art history. Even though this is 2014, … [Read more...]

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