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Rush Post: Financial Health Of the Arts Industry

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Southern Methodist University's National Center for Arts Research (NCAR), begun a few years ago, ,released a new bit of research today--"examining the financial, operating, engagement and staffing health of the U.S. nonprofit arts industry." I confess I find much of its work a bit unsurprising. Do we really need research that shows, as this report did, that "The receipt of an NEA or IMLS grant has a positive effect on nearly all performance outcomes" or that "Arts sectors that are heavily into digital distribution of their programs … [Read more...]

Barron’s Strange Report On Art Museums

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Last weekend, Barron's--the financial weekly--published a cover story on art museums. It's a crazy salad of a piece, full of supposedly new thoughts that are actually old, composed with a strange tone that shifts throughout the piece, exaggerating in parts, and so on. It frequently cited net assets as a sign of wealth, which includes items like land, when it should have used endowment figures. It has a few non sequiturs (notice the paragraph below on the Met). And it bore what I think is a misleading headline, Billionaire Art Museums. (see … [Read more...]

Guggenheim Helsinki Finalists Announced

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The word from Helsinki is, I think, good. After reviewing 1,715 submissions, the architecture jury for the proposed Gugggenheim Helsinki museum has chosen six finalists--and even they don't know whose design goes with which name. The names are not the usual suspects (hooray!): AGPS Architecture Ltd. (Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, United States of America) Asif Khan Ltd. (London, United Kingdom) Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, United States of America; Barcelona, Spain; and Sydney, Australia) Haas Cook Zemmrich … [Read more...]

Spalding Takes On Art’s “Self-Congratulatory In-Group”

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I suppose I first became aware of Julian Spalding, the British art museum director, when I went to Glasgow some years ago and visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I hated it, and I blamed Spalding, who was then the director of art galleries for Glasgow. Kelvingrove's collections--which include Dali's  Christ of St John of the Cross, Rembrandt's A Man in Armour, and works by van Gogh and Monet, among other things--had been reinstalled for maximum tourist appeal, in themed galleries with dumbed-down labels. The lobby was like a playground … [Read more...]

NPG Effort Raises Good Question Re: Crowdsourcing

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About six weeks ago--and I missed it--the National Portrait Gallery started a crowd-sourcing initiative called Recognize that pitted three works in the collection against one another and asked the public to choose one. The other day, the Washington Post raised questions about it--appropriately, I think. The whole exercise seemed, my words not the Post's, like a stunt in search of a mission. Let's  begin with the NPG's description: This November, the National Portrait Gallery will unveil a special crowdsourced wall in our galleries, called … [Read more...]

Happy Thanksgiving, Courtesy of The Bruce

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The Bruce Museum sent a seasonal greeting yesterday that I'd like to share. It's Frans Snyder's Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game, Vegetables, a live Monkey, Squirrel and Cat (c. 1635). It's on view now there, as part of Northern Baroque Splendor: The HOHENBUCHAU COLLECTION from: LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vienna.  Well, part of it is, anyway, through Apr. 12, 2015. Thereafter, the exhibit will travel to the Cincinnati Art Museum. Here's the BG, drawn from the press release: The Hohenbuchau Collection was gathered by Otto … [Read more...]

Does Crowdfunding Work? Not So Far

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Back on Nov. 6, the Phillips Collection sent me an email about a worthy effort: it had started a crowd-funding campaign for a micro-website about Jacob Lawrence. It would feature "unpublished interviews between the artist and museum curators in 1992 and 2000, including one conducted just prior to the artist’s death." The point, obviously, was to engage people in learning about Lawrence, particularly because the Phillips plans to present the exhibition Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series (one image at left) in fall, 2016, following its presence … [Read more...]

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (Day)?

Manchester, New Hampshire, Currier Museum of Art,

Many museums schedule plenty of holiday events in December, but probably not for New Year's Eve. So the message from the Currier Museum (pictures) in Manchester, NH, caught my eye. It was for something called "Noon Year's Eve" on Dec. 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I think that's a grand idea--the association between museums and holidays is a good one, in my mind. Here is the description of the Currier event: Northern New England’s biggest family-friendly New Year’s Eve event gets better every year. Ring in 2015 a few hours early at the Currier … [Read more...]

Directorial Job News: Emily Neff Out, Benedict Leca In

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Emily Neff, who took the job as director of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma just last January, left the job quietly last month. Neff, who was formerly curator of American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, resigned--probably under pressure--in early October, according to local reports, and it was accepted by the university president, David Boren, and then in late October by the board of regents. . I have not been able to reach Neff, so I will not be able to go into details. But my understanding from … [Read more...]

Oops: There’s Bigger News Today From Sotheby’s – UPDATED

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William Ruprecht, the CEO, is stepping down, and the board has begun a search for a new chief executive. Obviously, while I was busy here writing about the Georgia O'Keeffe record sale today at Sotheby's, a lot more was happening on York Avenue in NYC. The announcement arrived a short time ago: Ruprecht, who has served as CEO since 2000, will continue as Chairman, President and CEO until his successor is in place to ensure a smooth transition. The Board has formed a Search Committee to oversee the recruiting of a new CEO and has retained … [Read more...]

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