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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, […]

“Unfinished” Business: Reflections As the Met Breuer Opens to Public

In my experience, whenever a critic writes a review, some observations have to be left out. There’s no room; they don’t fit thematically without great, leaping transitions, or some other reason intrudes. Maybe they are fleeting thoughts, worth sharing in conversation but not meant for a written review. Those tidbits are what I plan to […]

Explaining Delacroix, Continued

The Delacroix exhibition at the National Gallery in London that I mentioned in my last post was also on view here in the U.S., at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, under the title Delacroix’s Influence: The Rise of Modern Art from Cézanne to van Gogh.  Yesterday, I learned from Patrick Noon, who curated the show […]

“We All Paint in Delacroix’s Language”

Paul Cezanne said that. He also said that Delacroix’s palette was “the most beautiful” in France. That headline is the end of a short video made by the National Gallery in London; that sentence is the pitch to it. Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art is currently on view at the NG, and one aspect […]

The Spirit of Alma Thomas — UPDATED

Talk about a life: Alma Thomas was born in Georgia in the 1890s, one of the most vicious decades of the Jim Crow South. She told a reporter in 1972 that when she was young, blacks like her could not enter museums. Yet that year she became the first African-American woman to be honored with […]

Who Said That? Artistic Inspirations

I happened to be in Florida recently, where I visited the Norton Museum of Art, where there’s a lot going on. Just now I want to mention one delightful little touch. Along the staircases between the first and the third floors, the Norton has posted short quotations from artists. I wish I had take a […]

Obama Finally Replaces Librarian of Congress

It took more than six years, but President Obama got his way today, appointing the first African-American as Librarian of Congress: Carla D. Hayden, head of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore’s public library. I should say “nominating, because with this Congress and this President, who know what will happen. I first suggested that the LOC’s librarian James Billington, […]

The Met versus The Met–At Least People Care

I am, of course, talking about the Metropolitan Museum* and the Metropolitan Opera. Since I last posted, on the Met Museum’s new logo, many people have weighed in both here and on other sites as well as to me personally. The naysayers have been more vocal, if not more numerous (that is hard to tell). […]

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