an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise

ArtPrize: The People And the Jury Pick Same Winner


In a remarkable development, the Grand, No. 1 ArtPrize--the open, two-track competition in Grand Rapids--went to the same artist: Anila Quayyum Agha's entry was chosen by both the public and a jury of art experts. Her piece, called Intersections, uses light to project Islamic imagery in shadows.  Or as she wrote: ...the geometrical patterning in Islamic sacred spaces, associated with certitude is explored in a way that reveals it fluidity. The viewer is invited to confront the contradictory nature of all intersections, while simultaneously … [Read more...]

A Participatory Exhibit I Can Applaud (I Think)


Contrary to some belief out there, I'm not against all participatory, experiential activities in art museums. (I don't believe museums should be as quiet as cathedrals, either, but that's another post.) Here's a participartory program that sounds, in advance, without my being there, like a good one. It's at the Freer-Sackler Galleries* in Washington: in conjunction with the opening on Saturday of Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips and "International Archaeology Day" on Oct. 18, the museum has scheduled a … [Read more...]

Anselm Kiefer Talks About Beauty In Art


I'd wager that most people don't think of "beauty" when they think of the art of Anselm Kiefer. So when Janne Siren, the director of the Alrbight-Knox Art Gallery, and I met last week, I was surprised by the catalogue he gave me for the Kiefer exhibition that, alas, closed there on Sunday. It was titled Beyond Landscape, and here's part of its description: Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape explores the interplay of history, identity, and landscape in the work of one of the most important artists of our time. Several major works by Kiefer … [Read more...]

Clyfford Still Museum Revisited

PH-613, 1942

Life is constricted, to some extent, for all single-artist museums--and more than most at the Clyfford Still Museum. As decreed by the artist, it can never exhibit works by any other artist and it can't have a restaurant or auditorium, among other things. Yet almost about three years ago, in November, 2011, it opened in Denver. When I received a press release a while back announcing its tenth special exhibition, opening this coming Friday--The War Begins: Clyfford Still's Paths to Abstraction--I thought it was time to check in and see how it … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Museum Rescues Egyptian Antiquities


Last week, as Bonhams in London was preparing to auction a lot of second millennium B.C. Egyptian antiquities consigned by the St. Louis Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Metropolitan Museum of Art* stepped in. Bonhams withdrew the lot, estimated at £80,000 - 120,000 (US$ 130,000 - 190,000), and the Met purchased the Treasure of Harageh items (one pictured at left). There's no word on what the Met paid. I tell the whole tale, tipped off by an item by the Associated Press, in an item on Art-Antiques-Design. That's a … [Read more...]

Albright-Knox: Making The Case For Expansion


More than one museum has gotten into big trouble by expanding. But I'd bet the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo has a better case than most of them. And last week, the museum said it plans to go ahead with a major expansion. A little background first: I met Janne Siren, who was hired to replace Louis Grachos as the gallery's director in January, 2013, on a visit he made to New York last week. I had last visited the museum about three years ago--though I wish I had not missed several of its recent exhibitions. And that streak seems to be … [Read more...]

Another Corcoran Outrage: The Archives

Grieving Canova lion by David Mordini

If you thought everything about the future of the Corcoran Art Gallery was parsed and settled, much to the dismay of its students, faculty, curators and various formers in all three categories, think again. There's another outrage. The Corcoran's archives, which relate its entire 145-year history, are slated to be broken up. Any archivist will tell you that, more important than the possibly wonderful individual items, it's the whole of an archive that matters most to the historical record. Indeed, the Corcoran archives contain "all … [Read more...]

Art First: A New Start in Cincinnati


I've never met Cameron Kitchin, who began his job as director of the Cincinnati Art Museum today. He is making an interesting start: today, in the museum's Great Hall, he met the public from 4 to 6 p.m., over light appetizers and a cash bar. Presumably, he walked the museum and met staff earlier in the day. Those are the right gestures to make. Kitchin, you'll recall, isn't a first-time director (He came from the director's post at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and has other interesting experience, which you can read about here), and it … [Read more...]

“Sculpture Victorious,” Yes, But In What Way?


I was recently at the Yale Center for British Art, where Sculpture Victorious: Art in the Age of Invention, 1837-1901, is on view through Nov. 30. It's a fascinating exhibition in many respects, bringing together a very diverse assemblage of objects from a very diverse group of lenders. Looking at one piece, an idealized, imaginary portrait of the first earl of Winchester borrowed from the House of Lords, Michael Hatt, an art history professor at the University of Warwick who is one of three curators of the show, said to me: “It is a mix of … [Read more...]

My Verdict On The Met’s New Fountains


I've been hearing a lot of complaints about the new fountains at the Metropolitan Museum of Art*; sadly, most are about their funding--with money from conservative David Koch, whose name, naturally (if belately) enough, is on them. I wish that was the real problem, because that can be batted away as foolish talk. Who cares who paid for them? Koch is a Met trustee. If there was a mistake here, it was the museum's promise at the outset that the plaza was not going to be named. But the real problem is that the fountains are ungainly, at … [Read more...]

an ArtsJournal blog