ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


1,000-Year-Old Murals Identified In German Cathedral

"A series of frescoes showing the life and death of John the Baptist in the cathedral of the Bavarian city of Augsburg have been recently dated to the first decade of the 11th century, ranking them among the oldest wall paintings in a medieval church north of the Alps." - The Art Newspaper

Italy’s Art Museums Emerge From Lockdown, And They Have Lessons For The Rest Of Us

"'We are now where you will be in a few days,' wrote novelist Francesca Melandri in a piece for the Guardian newspaper in late March 2020. Her moving 'letter from your future' coincided with the beginning of the first pandemic wave in Italy. One year on, her words can be repeated – only this time with a more optimistic resonance. As of last week, Italian museums, foundations and galleries were finally permitted to start reopening their doors post-lockdown. So, what lessons can be learned from their responses to the crisis?" - Frieze

The Problem With Museums

"If the postmodernism of the 1980s considered the museum to be in crisis and contemplated its “ruins,” today many see these same institutions as frustratingly intact, as bulwarks against change, citadels to be stormed. (Even ten years ago, the Left’s critique of museums was simply that they had transformed from civic sites to experiential fun houses. “The late-capitalist museum” was understood to be a space of spectacle, not BlackRock lucre.) Where an earlier generation of artists associated with institutional critique pointed to the museum’s genetic incoherence, as well as to the incursion of corporate interests, today the museum itself stands as a purveyor of systemic and symbolic violence." - ArtForum

In Britain, A Dig Reveals A Lot Of Detail About Home Life In The Iron Age

Archaeologists "were hopeful of unearthing something of interest because the area has been occupied for more than 3,000 years. But nothing prepared them for the excitement of discovering an extended iron age settlement, with the remains of more than a dozen roundhouses dating from 400BC to 100BC – as well as an enormous Roman villa built in the late third to early fourth century." - The Observer (UK)

The New Mexico Museum Of Art Is Planning To Destroy A Historic Chicano Mural

Not for nothing - for a new museum of contemporary art. But ... really? "'We invited the Department of Cultural Affairs,' Carrie Wood, a member of a campaign to save the mural called Keep Santa Fe Multicultural, said of the planned peaceful gathering that took place last weekend, 'but they didn’t respond to our email, or even take the time to talk to us. They just sent the cops.'"- Hyperallergic

London’s Bridges Truly Are Falling Down

Or they might, soon. London needs "infrastructure week," but for real, and for much longer than a week. Take Hammersmith. "It’s obvious whom to blame: politicians are guilty to varying degrees of buck-passing, posturing, point-scoring, broken promises and inaction. The problem is that they are in different parties and different authorities." The results are disastrous. - The Guardian (UK)

One Idea For What To Do With Unused And Deconsecrated Churches

Artists need studios, and usually studios with light ... and churches often have that. "Places of worship are typically built to outlast their parishioners. The steepled Protestant churches in upstate New York are often the oldest buildings in their towns — repositories of local memory, even as their congregations have dwindled." - The New York Times

Moving The Louvre’s Collection Far From The Floods

In 2016, when the Seine flooded its banks, museum workers toiled 24 hours a day to haul thousands of artworks out of underground storage for their protection. Cut to now: "For more than 16 months, a stream of trucks has quietly hauled treasures from the museum’s central Paris basement, and other sites, to the Louvre Conservation Center, a fortress of culture set up in the town of Liévin, near Lens." - The New York Times

Why Are The Met’s Trustees Sitting Idle While The Museum Contemplates Selling Its Treasures?

The problem isn't earned income lost to tourism (that is, no tourism). The problem is the trustees. "Met trustees established a special fund to deal with the pandemic crisis. So far, according to the museum’s spokesperson, the board has raised 'just north of $25 million.' That is, in a word, pathetic. Since the pandemic began, America’s billionaire class has seen its wealth rise to astonishing levels." - Los Angeles Times

The Secret Life Of Museums During Lockdowns In The UK

Each lockdown has meant something different for the staff, especially of science and natural history museums. For instance, James Maclaine, senior fish curator at London's Natural History Museum, has to keep the flesh-eating beetles alive and make sure the freezers are running. "We have a lot of material in freezers which we haven't been able to process yet and if anything goes wrong there it would be extremely unpleasant for all concerned." - BBC

The Indianapolis Museum Of Art’s Job Ad Asked Director To Maintain A ‘Traditional, Core, White Audience,’ Which Did Not Go Over Well

The explanation of the current CEO and director of the Indianapolis Museum didn't, perhaps, help. Charles L. Venable said that "the decision to use 'white' had been intentional, and explained that it had been intended to indicate that the museum would not abandon its existing audience as part of its efforts toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion." - The New York Times

How A Few Women, In Just A Couple Of Years, Changed The Course Of Art In The U.S.

Women Artists for Revolution (W.A.R., of course) weren't shy about their rallying cry in 1969. "The group ignited a robust movement against gender discrimination within, and widespread exclusion from, New York City’s patriarchal art industry, particularly by galleries and museums who saw art made by women as inherently illegitimate and therefore ineligible for serious consideration." - Hyperallergic

A Right-Wing Mayor Opens Museums In France Despite National Restrictions

Not that left-wing art-lovers can't sympathize (and a socialist mayor in another town is planning to defy the national orders as well), but ... well, honestly? This is another seemingly bizarre restriction. A member of the Louvre's board: "Right now, you can go and buy lingerie! ... But how come museums — something that is paramount for social cohesion, for education, for entertainment — are still forbidden?"- The New York Times

Malls And Nail Salons Are Open, But Not Museums?

Dear Gavin Newsom, this makes no sense at all. Signed, a lot of LACMA and other art-lovers in California. Weirdly: "LACMA can open its Resnick Pavilion gift shop but not the galleries within the same Resnick Pavilion — even though the two share a front door and a ventilation system. The same goes at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, where you may visit the gardens with an advance reservation, then mill around the indoor gift shop at your leisure." - Los Angeles Times

Dramatic Stone Henge Discovery In Wales Suggests Irish History

Its diameter of 110m is identical to the ditch that encloses Stonehenge, and it is aligned on the midsummer solstice sunrise, just like the Wiltshire monument. A series of buried stone holes that follow the circle’s outline has been unearthed, with shapes that can be linked to Stonehenge’s bluestone pillars. One of them bears an imprint in its base that matches the unusual cross section of a Stonehenge bluestone “like a key in a lock”, the archaeologists discovered. - Irish Times

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