Some of the questions NY’s monuments committee considered: “If monuments have the power to write history, who, in any given case, is wielding that power? Was the history true when written, and has that truth changed over time? Does the history serve positive or negative ends? Promote inclusion or divisiveness? If monuments are, like history, intrinsically complex, not easily defined as ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ is complexity alone enough to justify a contested monument’s continuing presence?”
Not for the first time, some of the many works attributed to the artist are very much under scrutiny, and “an art expert has written a report, leaked by the Italian news media, for state prosecutors that says a third of the works in a popular Modigliani exhibition last year in Genoa, Italy, are fakes.” (That’s right: One THIRD.)
These contrasting scenarios underscore an obvious hypothesis concerning regional fundraising: Location matters. University fundraisers removed from large urban centers and blessed with a built-in audience and strong donor ecosystem have a relatively easier job than those located near large cities or in economically depressed areas.
Here’s a snapshot of prices at more than 200 United States institutions, beginning with the pricing and going down from their, to free and suggested admission. (All of these are members of the Association of Art Museum Directors. About 34 percent of the 240 members of the AAMD are free.)
With rare exceptions, artists who were hot when they started out found that galleries, and certainly museums, cooled to them as years passed. They kept making art, but weren’t being shown or bought. Carter Burden’s mission is to give them a wall, “because walls are the thing we need,” Vaccaro said.
The MFA’s newest security employee is Riley, a three-month-old Weimaraner who belongs to the museum’s director of security services. Known for their powerful sense of smell, “Weimaraners are a particularly good breed for such tasks since they have stamina and can work for long hours without getting bored.”
“The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum … doubled the reward to $10 million last May, but said at the time it would revert back to $5 million on Jan. 1 if no one came forward to collect the windfall before then. When announcing the increased reward with an expiration date, museum officials said they hoped it would send an urgent message to anyone withholding information about the artwork’s whereabouts and dispel any doubts about their intention to pay it.” That tactic didn’t work, and so the offer has been extended indefinitely.
Lisa Freiman came from the Indianapolis Museum of Art (where she was the top curator for contemporary work) 4½ years ago as the first director of the museum at the city’s Virginia Commonwealth University. She gave no reason for her departure other than wanting to return to her scholarly work (she’s staying on at the university as a faculty member).
Adrian Ellis: “Whatever the longer-term causes and effects, the current reality is that his agenda—and the values he is modelling, encouraging and appealing to in his electoral base—are starkly at odds with the values that most museums hold at their core. This is an unusual and increasingly uncomfortable experience for a museum community whose priorities and rhetoric have been—throughout my professional life, at least—broadly congruent with the prevailing values of society and echoed routinely, albeit sometimes too faintly, by our political leaders.”
Tours depart from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, stopping at the Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura in Tijuana before continuing on to the border wall prototypes. Büchel’s reasoning behind the project? “[The prototypes] need to be preserved because they can signify and change meaning through time.
“Eleven sculptures by the artist Camille Claudel, who was also Rodin’s muse and mistress, have gone on show at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris after six major French museums stepped in and acquired the works at auction last November. … Twelve items were acquired under French law, whereby the state is entitled to ‘pre-empt’ the sale of an object of national importance by matching the sale price (with buyer’s premium).”
“[The] paintings seized by Italian police last summer from an exhibition of works by Amedeo Modigliani held in Genoa are forgeries, according to Isabella Quattrocchi, an independent expert appointed by Italian prosecutors to assess the images. The show at the Palazzo Ducale closed three days early last July after the Genoa state prosecutor ordered the seizure of 21 alleged fakes.”
Time and time again, the author argues that background knowledge is not only unnecessary, but even hurtful, to truly appreciating a work of art — hence the advice to ignore wall labels and audio guides. Michael Findlay accurately points out that many people are intimidated by art, because they feel they don’t know enough to understand it, so if they could just look at it for what it is, they’d appreciate it more than if they’d known the whole artist’s biography.
“The idea is to treat our collections as one and for our curators to work together accordingly,” LACMA director Michael Govan said in the announcement. “This exchange of works and ideas will allow both museums to bolster exhibition content especially in the areas of the historical and contemporary American West and the exploration of indigenous cultures across the Americas.”
Dr. Brent Seales has spent 14 years developing a technique for reading ancient scrolls that are too fragile to unwrap. Fine-detail CT scanners can visualize the ink of letters inside such scrolls, but the alphabet soup is unreadable unless each letter can be assigned to its correct position on a surface. Dr. Seales has developed software that can model the surface of a contorted piece of papyrus or parchment from X-ray data and then derive a legible text by assigning letters to their proper surface.
Christopher Knight: Pacific Standard Time should underwrite full retrospective exhibitions of artists with significant histories of working in Los Angeles, beginning in the late 19th century and continuing to the present. Not project shows. Not young or emerging or new artist surveys. Not a phalanx of partial looks at a segment of an established artist’s output. Instead, I mean full, rigorous accountings of historical figures, as well as artists beyond mid-career who have been in it for the long haul — a generation or more.
The debate over what or if to charge admissions is part of a larger debate over what museums should do and be. The model of the past century for museums, Feldman said, is “build, grow and acquire,” which is expensive and demands that no source of revenue be overlooked. The newer conception of museums involves ideas about what should be done with the existing collections in order to improve access and increase understanding, which is why a growing number of institutions are putting their collections online and trying to make the museum experience more interactive. The largest museums in the country are attempting to pursue both models, but the result has been that their actions on the one hand work against the increased access they hope to achieve.
The technique (if that’s the word) that art dealer Michael Findlay recommends in his book Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art is to stand in the middle of the gallery room, pick a work that catches your eye, and simply look at it for at least three (and up to 15) minutes. No reading the wall text or listening to the audio guide. Elena Goukassian gives the method a try to find out if it helps her appreciate better an artist whose work she’s never related to or liked.
“This spring, the Worcester Art Museum … will put the complex process of identifying a Leonardo at the heart of a new exhibition. The Mystery of Worcester’s Leonardo (10 March-3 June) makes the case that a work that has been in the museum’s collection since 1940, A Miracle of Saint Donatus of Arezzo (around 1479-85), should be credited to the Renaissance master.” Judith H. Dobrzynski reports.
“College and university art museums have a long and rich history of collecting, curating, and educating in a financially and ethically responsible manner on par with the world’s most prestigious institutions,” the statement says. “A different governance structure does not exempt a university museum from acting ethically, nor permit them to ignore issues of public trust and use collections as disposable financial assets.”
Many think the new $25 entrance fee – which is the same for several other city museums – is too expensive. Met President Daniel Weiss disagrees. “In every society and throughout history, excellence costs money,” he said. “If you’re willing to spend $25 to go to the MoMA or Guggenheim, or spend $15 to go to the movies, we don’t think asking $25 to come to the Met is an unreasonable request.”
What’s up is that only 1/4th of the art that the government buys is by women. What? Even in this day and age? Definitely. “The figures are somewhat skewed by several bulk acquisitions of dozens of paintings from individual male artists. But even if these are omitted, the collections still show more than 70% of works acquired during the period were by male artists.”
The building’s owner has failed to win funds to keep the building up – and after five attempts, it seems impossible. Why it’s important: “The Merz Barn in Langdale, Cumbria, was used by the German artist Kurt Schwitters, after he fled from the Nazis in 1940. The building became regarded as a pioneering piece of modernist art after Schwitters covered its walls in a distinctive collage of materials before his death in 1948.”
There’s a lot to remember, a lot that the Machine Project inspired. “Machine Project leaves behind a vibrant legacy. Over its existence, the organization collaborated with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on a series of strange-funny performances, and it once organized an architectural tour of L.A. led by artist Cliff Hengst channeling the ghost of Whitney Houston. ‘It was this heavily researched architecture tour,’ says Allen. ‘But it was also this heavily researched story about Whitney Houston.'”
“Newfields is a new brand for a new type of an organization. Our mission is to create exceptional experiences with art and nature and the nature part is all of a sudden being revealed in pretty serious and very positive, successful ways. “I still think we’ve got a little ways to go before more people understand that we’re all of these things and that we still are a great art museum doing programs and hiring curators and acquiring art, but some people are caught off guard, like, ‘Well, what are they doing on their grounds?'”
Phil Kennicott: “It will say to donors — who should take note and respond appropriately — that the Met no longer intends to be the country’s de facto national art museum. By sheer size and visitor numbers, it may remain the most prominent art museum in the country. But it now distinguishes between a local public — those who live in New York — and the rest of the country, which it treats merely as clients. It cannot reasonably approach major donors, those with art they want to leave in the public trust and those with money who hope to support access to that art, and say: We are the nation’s museum.”