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Museum Admissions: Better Than Free

Over the years, so many people have advocated for free admissions to art museums that one cannot keep track. I have almost always disagreed, with an  exception possibly being federally supported museums like the National Gallery of Art. Somebody has to pay, after all, and the same advocates of free admission often oppose donors who […]

Trading Places: The Met Museum and–Not MoMA

The news late last week twinned the Metropolitan Museum of Art* and the Museum of Modern Art,* making them a study in contrasts: The Met had just announced programming cutbacks, buyouts and other financial woes, while MoMA was basking in the glow of a $100 million donation from David Geffen. But I’ve been thinking for […]

What Does BKM Mean In The Museum World? UPDATED

Can you guess? It is another attempt by a museum to be hip to the younger generation. It’s one of the latest changes to the visual identity of the Brooklyn Museum.* I don’t believe this change was announced, and I’m not sure when it took place. But several days ago I received in snail mail […]

George Goldner: Nothing If Not Opinionated–And Entertaining

It’s not quite The Car Guys, but an exchange at a recent symposium at the Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting* has tickled a couple of people I know, who mentioned it to me. It’s called Philippe de Montebello Interviews George Goldner and it’s about Golder’s career buying drawings at the Getty and, ahem, the […]

Another Magazine Puts the Met Under the Microscope, Unfortunately

The Metropolitan Museum wanted attention this spring, this year, what with the opening of the Met Breuer–and it’s sure getting it. Another magazine has had its crack at interpreting the Met’s renewed attention to contemporary art: The New Republic published “State of the Art: The Metropolitan Museum makes a bid for the modern“ the other […]

Since We’re Voting, There’s This Artistic Conundrum

Lest you think I have no sense of fun from my last post, which chastised the Indianapolis Museum of Art for outsourcing its exhibition planning to the public, I thought I would mention an instance where I think engaging the public is fine. It has been taking place at the Royal Academy since mid-March, in […]

Indy Decides to Outsource Exhibition Decisions

For the last few years, the Indianapolis Museum of Art has, it seems to me, been on a crazy trajectory. As soon as it does something smart, it turns around and undermines itself. Now it seems to be hitting a new low.  Not content to anger its local constituency in 2014-15 by attempting to charge $18 […]

A Closer Look At Max Hollein, New Director in San Francisco

Yesterday the trustees of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announced that they had selected Max Hollein, currently director of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, as their new chief. I’d say that was a good move, based on what I know about Hollein. I’ve have only one long in-person discussion with him, plus over the […]

How Korea Spreads Its Visual Arts — And Diplomacy

Like many good articles, the one I wrote on Korea’s investment in having its visual arts seen in this country for The New York Times‘s recent Museums section began years ago with a conversation. It wasn’t a pitch. I was visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and then-director Peter Marzio–who died in 2010–was […]

Critical Takeaways From The Taft’s Daubigny Show

“The puzzle I had was, how did an artist who grew up studying Rembrandt and observing the landscapes of Corot and Rousseau end up painting like an Impressionist?” That is Lynne Ambrosini, the director of collections and exhibitions and curator of European art at the Taft Museum of Art, speaking. She is talking about her exhibition, […]

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