The six-inch oval reliquary holding the heart of Anne of Brittany (1477-1514), the only woman to be crowned Queen of France twice, was taken from the Musée Dobrée in Nantes.
There will, no doubt, be many who oppose the decision. Chagall’s lofty position in the pantheon of Modern art is equalled by few, and bested by maybe only two: Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. David, a towering figure in French neo-classical painting, is no less important, an art historian would tell you, though in another era and for different reasons.
Even as Instagram surges ahead as the art world’s social media platform of choice, and artificial intelligence is examined for its potential for luring buyers, the overall picture is downbeat as growth slowed for a second year.
“We have been friends for years, our families have stayed with each other and I believed we were close,” James White wrote to Marlowe Goring after his visit. “That is why I have tried to believe in you and refused to accept that you could steal from me and create a story of lies.” “I have been sitting here, knowing that this moment would come and I have dreaded this more than anything in my life,” Goring replied. He blamed sluggish sales, high overhead costs and unpaid taxes. And then he cut to the chase: “I have no money and I also have none of your art.”
Christopher Marcisz makes the case that people don’t go to the Berkshire Museum for art (the area has better art museums already) and barely remember the paintings they see there. People – schoolkids and families, mostly – go for the natural history and science exhibits, and money from the paintings sold will give those exhibits a facelift they desperately need.
Two decorative turrets were blown off the old gates to the site during a storm with heavy rains and winds up to 80 miles per hour. No damage to the white marble mausoleum was found.
Rosie Lee Hooks has been director of Los Angeles’ Watts Tower Arts Center since 2010, and she has grown programs, attendance, and attention by leaps and bounds. Now, supporters say, there’s an art program at the heart of her three-week suspension. They claim it’s “related to the mural that local artist Jacori Perry had started to paint depicting jazz musician and Watts hero Charles Mingus on the side of the campus’ Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center building.”
“Known for an accessible and punchy writing style that decodes the complexities of contemporary art for a wide audience, Saltz is, perhaps, the most famous art critic in America. … [His] winning essay, ‘My Life As A Failed Artist,’ published last April, chronicles his pain and regret over an art career that never quite got off the ground – and what his experience as an art-school dropout taught him about being a critic.”
As much as I share the Bay Area’s love for these two great museums, I see endemic weaknesses that threaten their otherwise promising future. The Fine Arts Museums’ board cannot control the ambition of its director, and shouldn’t even try. What the board most needs at this crucial moment is not someone it can master, but a willing partner.
In a world where Banksy street-pieces — essentially, illegally created public art — cut from buildings can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars, proprietary domain is a hot-button issue. Legally, according to attorney Eric Baum, who represented artists in litigation involving the 5 Pointz mural space in Long Island City, “The owner of the building can sell [or keep] the artwork.” And, he adds, the property owner can also destroy it.
Writer Renno Eddi-Lodge: “Design is something that seamlessly slots into your life: my clothes, the tech I use, the bike I ride, kitchenware. I try to prioritise function; I am not someone who thinks about beauty that much. I like things to be clean, tidy and functional.”
Historians may rejoice, while fans of mythology might be a little sad: “One driving force behind the renovation was to put artworks into proper historical context. Mr. Potts and his team have rearranged works in the permanent collection galleries to tell a more chronological story, from 3000 B.C. to 400 A.D., largely presenting Greek works on the first floor and Roman on the second. Gone are the entertaining themes like ‘gods and goddesses’ that mixed figures from different periods in a pantheon of superheroes.”
The increasingly popular, and increasingly subtle and detailed, style comes from prison culture. “Black and gray used to be referred to as joint-style or prison-style, because of its roots in penal institutions, where inmates made homemade machines from ballpoint pens, guitar strings, needles, and parts from old boom boxes. The machines had one needle. No color ink was available in lock up, so the ink was black. But if you watered it down, it turned gray.”
Let loose a British architecture critic on the complexes maintained by Amazon and other massive delivery services, and you get (rather depressing) poetry: “You couldn’t call it country or town: it is a node, a zone. It approaches a sort of sublime, you could say, in which the vast whiteish rectangles resemble conceptual art and the engineered terrain unwittingly becomes land art. Its scale is that of the national and international networks of which it is part, not the locality.”
The line between subjective truth and propaganda is as old as war, politics and religion, but what’s disquieting today is the velocity at which it moves, and how impossible it is to shove the genie back into the bottle. What are we to believe? Social media have given a populist, liberating edge to what we see, but how do we discern fiction from truth? And will images resonate in the eye long enough to meaningfully shape a generation with an insatiable fascination for the next swipe and click.
In concert with news of Ellen Salpeter’s departure, which will occur in June, the museum announced a change in its leadership structure through which deputy director and chief curator Alex Gartenfeld will now work as artistic director and associate director Tommy Ralph Pace will now be deputy director. Citing their shared status as members of ICA’s founding leadership team, the museum’s announcement said, “Gartenfeld has spearheaded the museum’s curatorial voice in particular and Pace has been responsible for special initiatives, daily operations, and public affairs.”
“Is Museum of Contemporary Art Director Philippe Vergne on his way out? That’s the question swirling in the art-world air following his surprise firing of MOCA’s chief curator one month ago, the sudden cancellation of the museum’s annual gala fundraiser and, perhaps most important, the pending expiration of Vergne’s contract. … Vergne has placed his $4-million Hollywood Hills mansion on the market, and on Tuesday, real estate websites showed a sale pending.”
“The painting, titled Othello and Desdemona, belonged to retired jeweler and art collector Ernest ‘Pick’ Heller and his wife Rose ‘Red’ Heller, and was stolen from their New York apartment back in 1988, along with numerous other paintings, sculptures, and art objects including jewelry, carpets, silverware, and Steuben china.”
When Max Hollein joins the Met he will share responsibility for running the institution with Weiss in a new power-sharing arrangement which may prove difficult to manage. Similar arrangements have proved dysfunctional at the Getty and at the Guggenheim, leading to premature departures by high-profile directors who felt interfered with or undermined. The leadership-by-committee model is in stark contrast to the Met’s hierarchy under Campbell and especially his predecessor, Philippe de Montebello, who ran the Met like a semi-divine sovereign.
“In February, when the embattled Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, announced it had reached an agreement with the state’s attorney general to sell as many as 40 works from its collection, the juiciest detail was that an undisclosed institution had agreed to purchase and exhibit the lot’s most valuable work: a Norman Rockwell masterpiece titled Shuffleton’s Barbership (1950).” That institution has now been disclosed: it’s the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, founded by Star Wars and Indiana Jones creator George Lucas and now under construction in Los Angeles.
“The history and archaeology of Mongolia, most famously the sites associated with the largest land empire in the history of the world under Genghis Khan, are of global importance. But they’re facing unprecedented threats as climate change and looting impact ancient sites and collections. Climate change and looting may seem to be unrelated issues. But deteriorating climate and environmental conditions result in decreased grazing potential and loss of profits for the region’s many nomadic herders.”
“As VR technology has gotten better and cheaper, more artists and curators are experimenting with it as a new medium for expression.” Reporter Andrea Shea checks out two new virtual-reality works at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary of Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams.
The fundraising goal is gutsy for an organization of the Holocaust Museum’s size and relative youth. Its operating expenses were $116 million in 2016, according to tax filings that reported a federal grant of $53 million. In comparison, the Smithsonian Institution, which completed a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign last year, reported its annual budget at about $1.3 billion, or 13 times that of the Holocaust Museum.
One of the biggest stories in the art world in the past two or three years has been the rapidly growing number of female artists who are getting solo shows, career surveys and retrospectives at well-known museums. But at America’s biggest and most prestigious museums, the pace of change can seem dismayingly slow.
“For almost two decades, self-taught artist Nek Chand worked in secret. In the cover of night, he’d sneak away to a clearing deep in a forest owned by the government on the outskirts of the Indian city of Chandigarh. It was there that he built his very own shangri-la: a garden filled with glittering sculptures of gods, goddesses, and other mystical beings.” Here’s the decades-long story of Chand’s Rock Garden.
“The Smithsonian Institution has confirmed that it will work with the Victoria and Albert Museum to set up a joint gallery and exhibition programme in East London, on the former Olympic site. Yesterday (9 April) the Smithsonian’s regents (trustees) gave formal approval for their first base outside the US.”
“For the first time in 60 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has reached beyond its own doors for a new leader … Max Hollein, 48, currently the director and chief executive of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and a veteran of Germany’s oldest art foundation, will become its 10th director this summer.”
The 33 creditors listed range widely, including Artforum magazine, New York “global cultural communications company” Sutton PR, and the biennale’s own accounting firm, Dagenais, Lapierre, Simard et Associes. (Full disclosure: Canadian Art Foundation, the charitable foundation that publishes Canadian Art, is also listed among the creditors in the document.)
“‘The right function of every museum,’ wrote John Ruskin, the influential 19th-century art and social critic, ‘is the manifestation of what is lovely in the life of nature, and heroic in the life of men.’ Museums of the 21st century have moved on a bit. … They are also ‘destination’ enterprises, with permanent collections and special exhibitions, cafes and shops trying to attract as many visitors as possible in an age of global tourism. … As leading museums compete for crowd-drawing exhibits, and try to balance commercial interests and cultural diversity, visitors are bearing a rising proportion of the cost.”
“Where might you expect to find William Hogarth’s fine and recently restored portraits of William and Elizabeth James, or a lobby-filling Roman floor-mosaic from Antioch that depicts a lively lion and antelope hunt? Or Otto Dix’s painting of a pregnant woman, which has its own visitors book nearby, so that people can record their usually extreme reactions to it?” Worcester, Mass., that’s where. Says director Matthias Waschek, “The big problem we have is that the collection is outsizing its city.”