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I’m Away…

I'm taking a winter vacation, and am unlikely to have the opportunity to post new items here until my return. If I do have access to a computer, and see something amidst the art and culture I'll be seeing, I may add something from time to time. If not, I'll be back on Real Clear Arts around Feb. 6. … [Read more...]

Monumental Art Undertaking in Saudi Arabia: Needs Partners


In yesterday's post, I mentioned the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, which just partnered with LACMA. The Center, pictured below, hasn't received much national press in the U.S. (though apparently it held a meeting with the press at Art Dubai). It's a venture of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned global petroleum and chemicals giant of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At its founding, it had American oil companies as partners, but no more (they're not listed in "History" on the website, … [Read more...]

The Story Behind LACMA’s Saudi Partnership


Press releases often provoke more questions than they answer. That was certainly the case when one from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art issued one on Jan. 6 about its new collaboration with Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. It said that LACMA and the Center: are pleased to announce that the Center will exhibit more than 130 highlights of Islamic art from LACMA’s renowned collection on the occasion of the Center’s opening. The installation will include works of art from an area extending from southern Spain to … [Read more...]

The Heard Museum Loses Its Director To…


More musical chairs. The other day the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa announced that it had hired James Pepper Henry as its new executive director; he starts Mar. 30. Pepper Henry (at right) has a lot of experience with Native American art. Before the Heard, he had been director of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, associate director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, founding director of the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Okla.; interim curator of American Indian Art at the Portland Art Museum; gallery director at the … [Read more...]

“Provocative Intervention” In Dulwich’s Galleries

Made in China

The other day, the Dulwich Picture Gallery announced a 2015 program with "an intervention in the Gallery’s permanent collection offering a provocative challenge to the public." And what could that be? Rather provocatively, it's an exhibition called Made in China, and it's described this way in the press release, as ...a unique intervention that questions the significance and value of the ‘original’ work of art. ‘Made in China: A Doug Fishbone Project’ (10 February–26 July 2015), will see one of the paintings in Dulwich’s collection removed … [Read more...]

Walters’ Founding Story: Good, Except…


I really enjoyed my visit to the Walters Art Museum early this year. However, it is suffering a malady that must be discussed--because it is far from the only museum afflicted by this disease. I went to see From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story, a new installation that is intended to inform (or remind) people of William and Henry Walters, the father-and-son founders who amassed the original collection. That's a good idea not only because what they bought comprises 70 percent of the collection today but also because 1)  viewing art through … [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...]

No So Fast: Private Art Museum Under Scrutiny


“I’m not against it being done, but it’s got to be done well,” [Rob] Storr [dean of the Yale School of Art], said. “If there’s to be a public forgiveness for taxes there should be a clear public benefit, and it should not be entirely at the discretion of the person running the museum or foundation.” That statement sums up my thoughts about the phenomenon described in Sunday's New York Times, in the business section. Writing Off the Warhol Next Door: Art Collectors Gain Tax Benefits From Private Museums, by my friend Patricia Cohen, describes … [Read more...]

Whitney’s New Collection Database: The Good And The Requested


In the runup to its move downtown this spring (to the building at right), the Whitney Museum just announced an expanded online database of its permanent collection. It's grown from 700 works of art to more than 21,000 by some 3,000 artists--"spanning all mediums—painting, sculpture, film, video, photography, works on paper, installation, and new media." Along with images of the works, this searchable database also includes written text, resources for teachers, as well as audio and video files, providing a deeper insight into select pieces. … [Read more...]

Breaking News: Graham Beal to Retire


It had to happen, after the last few years; Graham Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts for the past 15-plus year, will retire on June 30. Here's what the release said: Since joining the DIA, Beal has presided over some of the most significant accomplishments in the museum’s history, including a tremendously successful reinvention of presenting art to the public; passage of a tri-county regional millage to support museum operations; and the DIA participation in the historic and unprecedented grand bargain initiative, which … [Read more...]

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