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Ask The Curator: The Secret Life Of Cezanne’s Apples

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So far, The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne, a "ground-breaking" special exhibition at the Barnes Foundation, has been getting good reviews. The Wall Street Journal's review called it "small but select" and concluded: Although it offers only a taste of the bountiful feast Cézanne's paintings as a whole at the Barnes provide, "The World Is an Apple" allows one to scrutinize the artist's still lifes in illuminating isolation from the work of his peers, and to appreciate how the artist's powerful, painterly sensations could … [Read more...]

The Future Of Art Book Publishing Is Here

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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

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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?

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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...]

Artisan: Anyone For Fake Wood?

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Or, the more elegant term, faux bois? Faux bois furniture and furnishings are made of concrete to look like real wood. It's a 19th century art that is, in some circles, making a bit of a comeback. False, it seems, lasts longer than the real, which is prone to decay. It works especially well in garden fixtures. Michael Fogg, a Connecticut practitioner of the art, is updating faux bois -- making bonsai tables and chandeliers with slender branches as well as planters and garden furniture. I'm just telling you this because I wrote about the … [Read more...]

While We’re On the Subject of Marketing

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Here's another example of synergy with opera (which I last wrote about here on July 1): On October 5, the National Gallery of Art in Washington will launch a "focus exhibition" called Degas's Little Dancer, which will show off its version of the wax sculpture, set amid 11 other works by Degas, some from its collection, some borrowed. Meanwhile, the Kennedy Center will unveil a musical by the name of Little Dancer, directed and choreographed by five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman and based on a book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens with music … [Read more...]

Chicago Has Some Fun Marketing Magritte

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We all know that it's hard for museums to get attention sometimes; there's so much competition for everyone's attention. The Art Institute of Chicago has mounted a major marketing campaign for Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 that's a bit unusual and may be working. It started back in June, but for whatever reason the AIC just sent out a press release. They call it "unthinking." ...Beginning in early June, billboards and train stations throughout the city began to invite passersby to “unthink” everyday words and ideas. … [Read more...]

Stanford: The New Art Place To Be

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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

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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...]

St. Louis: Ka Nefer-Nefer Case Ends With A Whimper

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U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, who has been hounding the St. Louis Art Museum to return an Egyptian mask it purchased in 1998 for about a half million dollars, has told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "his office only had “a lack of record showing a lawful transfer,” not proof the mask was stolen." The Justice Department has therefore abandoned its effort to force SLAM to return the mask, letting yesterday's deadline for taking legal pass without an additional filing.  To recap, as the P-D wrote: The mask was excavated in 1952 from a … [Read more...]

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