I had tried to suspend my disbelief (but not to squelch my excitement) when I heard the news, almost two years ago, that the “Pompidou x Jersey City” would be coming to a renovated, repurposed 1912 building, a mere 10 miles south of La Maison Rosenbaum in The Garden State. That said, the projected opening date of the Jersey Pompidou (as of two weeks ago, when I asked for … [Read more...] about Pomp(idou) & Circumstance: Will a New Mayor Affect Plans for a Jersey City Outpost of Paris Museum?
In a livestreamed symposium last Friday about insights and issues raised by the Met's recent Chroma exhibition, Seán Hemingway, the Metropolitan Museum's curator of Greek and Roman Art, diplomatically soft-pedaled his ambivalence about the jarring interventions in his galleries by archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann of the Liebieghaus Sculpture Collection in Frankfurt and his wife, … [Read more...] about Battling “The Boxer”: Should the Met Juxtapose Modern “Reconstructions” with Ancient Originals?
It's as if the disposal disputes that roiled Brandeis University, Randolph College and La Salle University had never happened: In those three infamous cases involving art museums under the auspices of educational institutions, the schools' trustees and administrators saw fit to monetize their art to provide cash for operating expenses or capital projects, contrary to the … [Read more...] about Brauer Error: Ditch Ethical Norms to Pay for Dorms?
It's small recompense for having been unceremoniously dumped from a much publicized, coveted commission. But British architect David Chipperfield must have felt at least a twinge of satisfaction in thumbing his nose at his fickle client, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on the occasion of his having been named as the recipient of architecture's highest (and most lucrative) … [Read more...] about Revenge Is Sweet? Chipperfield Wields His ’23 Pritzker Prize to Cudgel the Metropolitan Museum
I can't be the only veteran NY Philharmonic subscriber who rubbed her eyes and raised her eyebrows upon reading (in Derek Lawrence's recent Vanity Fair article) that Gustavo Dudamel, now the director-designate of New York's premier symphony orchestra, had semi-jokingly offered his current job as the LA Philharmonic's director, to actress Cate Blanchett, on the strength of her … [Read more...] about Dudamel Dazzles New York with Hollywood Stardust (but the orchestra’s core audience is slighted)
Cue the "Bravo Gustavo" ovations! The NY Philharmonic today announced that "conductor Gustavo Dudamel will become the orchestra’s next Music Director, beginning in the 2026–27 season, succeeding Jaap van Zweden. Dudamel will hold the title of Music and Artistic Director of the New York Philharmonic for a five-year term, after serving as Music Director Designate during the … [Read more...] about Bravo Gustavo: Is Dudamel’s Appointment (to Lead the NY Philharmonic) Deborah Borda’s Parting Gift ?
Why was the opening at the National Gallery of Art of the much anticipated (and much delayed) Philip Guston Now retrospective postponed yet again? It's already been seen at both the Boston and Houston Museums of Fine Arts, so I did a doubletake on Jan. 19, when a "News Brief" from the NGA hit my inbox with the surprise announcement that the Washington opening date for the … [Read more...] about “Philip Guston Now”…(but not quite yet)
My May 2005 NY Times Op-Ed page commentary---Fashion Victim---now has a CultureGrrl sequel, thanks to the Met's announcement of its upcoming Costume Institute show---"Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty" (May 5–July 16). In my Op-Ed piece, I had decried the excessive influence of Lagerfeld over the Metropolitan Museum's Chanel show, which was co-curated by Andrew Bolton (now the … [Read more...] about “Fashion Victim” (Part II): “Lagerfeld” Subverts the Met
Kenneth Griffin has done a great deal for the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), as the vice chairman and benefactor of the premier art museum in what had long been his home city and also the home base for his investment firm, Citadel Securities. But he recently decided to pick up his marbles and play elsewhere---relocating his primary residence, his investment company's … [Read more...] about Supportin’ the Norton, Kenneth Griffin Parts Ways with the Art Institute of Chicago
Whether by sheer coincidence or deliberate plan, New York City is currently the venue for simultaneous ambitious museums shows featuring works from the collection of one of the two art-collecting sons of late cosmetics magnate Estée Lauder. While both displays (five blocks apart on Fifth Avenue) are well worth a visit, the concept and execution underlying each of them couldn't … [Read more...] about Lauders’ Orders: Sibling Rivalry at Leonard’s & Ronald’s Dueling Shows at Metropolitan Museum & Neue Galerie
Call me "the Covid Coward." For someone whose recent writings have focused chiefly on museums---their missions, their practices, their holdings and the people who manage them and visit them---I've spent regrettably little time inside their galleries again this year (like last year), trying (successfully, so far) not to become another casualty of Tridemic Triage, which has … [Read more...] about The Year in CultureGrrl, 2022 Edition: Cowering, Glowering and Flowering
On this day, when the NY Times has published a compilation of Notable Deaths, one of the artworld's most noteworthy losses---James ("Jamie") Houghton, 86---has been consigned to the classified obits: The long recital (in the above clip) of his interests and accomplishments (including "danc[ing] a mean two-step" and singing "Broadway show tunes") barely mentions his leading … [Read more...] about James (“Jamie”) Houghton, 86, the Metropolitan Museum’s “Exemplary” Board Chairman
Talk about "damning with faint praise"! Philippe de Montebello, after bowing out gracefully, at the end of his long, legendary reign as the Metropolitan Museum's director, has rarely (if ever) allowed himself the latitude to pass judgment on his successors' actions. So hats off to Robin Pogrebin of the NY Times for eliciting a barely veiled (and needed) corrective from … [Read more...] about Philippe de Montebello’s Left-Handed Compliment for the Metropolitan Museum’s Gutsy Guston Gambit
"I’m excited to announce a major show opening in May, which I will say can only happen at the Met," Max Hollein, the Metropolitan Museum's director, said yesterday at a press reveal of plans for upcoming exhibitions. Actually, it was Christie's auction house that made the first (oblique) public announcement about the Met's potential blockbuster---Van Gogh's Cypresses---to … [Read more...] about Annenberg’s Ghost Rises from the Grave (as threatened) to Haunt the Met’s Show of “Van Gogh’s Cypresses”
In the wake of last month's Paul Allen sales at Christie's and William Paley dispersal at Sotheby's, market observers were left to ponder two imponderables: ---What philanthropies will receive the proceeds from the record-smashing sales of Paul Allen's trove at Christie's? The exasperating answer is: Nobody (except the principals) knows for sure. ---Did the Paley … [Read more...] about The Paul Allen & William Paley Dispersals: Questions Raised by the 2 Star Consignments at the Fall Auctions