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How Many Museums Is Too Many?

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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?

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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

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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

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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...]

New Web Resources Everywhere, It Seems

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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...]

The New Stolen-Art Tracker Opens Its Doors

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On Monday, Art Recovery Group PLC -- the brand-new competitor to Art Loss Register -- opened its offices in Kensington, London, and announced an impressive line-up of staff members. ARG, you'll recall, was founded last fall after ALR came under intensified scrutiny for its heavy-handed practices. The New York Times laid them all out in an article headlined Tracking Stolen Art, for Profit, and Blurring a Few Lines, published last Sept. 20. In it, Christopher A. Marinello, who was often ALR's spokeman, said he was quitting and would start his … [Read more...]

School Days At Crystal Bridges: Ring That Bell!

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For those of you who questioned the decision of Alice Walton to plunk down an art museum in what to city-dwellers seemed the middle of nowhere -- which I never did, being from someplace that didn't have all that much art -- it's time to eat some crow. Not only has Crystal Bridges exceeded attendance expectations -- more than 1 million people have shown up since its opening on 11/11/11 -- but also the museum has now released results of a study that is an indication of its positive impact on schoolchildren. Researchers from the University … [Read more...]

Dallas Museum of Art Spreads Its “Free” Influence

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Last week, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced grant to museums worth nearly $30 million, and several of them have separately been announcing their grants. Today came news that the Dallas Museum of Art received "a National Leadership Grant" of more than $450,000 that will go towards taking its innovative "Museum’s Friends membership program"  to the Denver Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Congratulations to Max Anderson, the director of the DMA, and his team there, … [Read more...]

More On That MoMA-Universities Link

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Last April here, I spilled the beans on a new research program between MoMA and several universities called the Museum Research Consortium. It's a four-year pilot program aimed at studying objects in MoMA’s collection.  Last Thursday, MoMA finally put out a press release with more details. The museum announced the personnel involved from Princeton, Columbia, Yale, NYU-IFA and the Graduate Center of the City of New York, all under the direction of MoMA curator Leah Dickerman. Here's the key component: The program will unite the Museum’s … [Read more...]

Knoedler Gallery Reveals Its Tales — At The Getty

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By complete serendipity, I stopped in to look at the Getty's blog, called The Iris, today -- and here's what I found: a post from yesterday saying the part of the Knoedler & Co. Gallery archive is processed and "available for research." Some finding aids have been posted online already. The Getty purchased the Knoedler archive -- 1,300 linear feet -- just last October, and took possession in December. So this is speedy work. It covers the period from about 1850 to 1971, and included "letters, telegrams, albums, sales books, stock and … [Read more...]

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