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What’s Up With The Met’s Lauder Center?

Rabinow-Rebecca-webThat was the question on my mind when I proposed a story on it for the annual New York Times special section on museums, which was part of today’s paper. The result is headlined A Gift That Could Rewrite Art History in the paper (it’s different–and too “newsy” a headline on the web–bt that’s journalism today. Interestingly, the Times usually shows the writer the print head, but not the web head).

In any case, here’s the link to the article.

The Lauder Research Center for Modern Art has an enviable $22 million endowment of its own and is headed by curator Rebecca Rabinow (pictured). I won’t go into the details of the center’s components here–they are all in the article. The most interesting thing for RCA readers will be to watch for results. One project in particular, in which a scholar named Verane Tasseau is trying to compile the inventory of Daniel Kahnweiler’s gallery and trace where those artworks went, has great potential to fulfill that headline.

In the meantime, you may want to peruse the Center’s microsite, which contains a lot of information and databases that are growing by the week.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Met



  1. In your article you quote Rebecca Rabinow as follows: ““Cubism can be off-putting to people who haven’t looked at it closely. Many people walking through the exhibition said to me, ‘I never thought I liked Cubism, but I guess now I do.’” Does she not know that many other people who have looked at Cubism closely still find it “off-putting”? And what did she expect, that someone who had done so and felt that way would have walked up to her and said something like “I never liked Cubism and still don’t”? Most people, out of courtesy, would not.

    For myself, I have over the years looked at Cubism quite closely and find much of it unintelligible and, therefore, not art—the rest, art, but “off-putting” art.

    Louis Torres, Co-Editor, Aristos (An Online Review of the Arts) and Co-Author, ‘What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand’ (2000)

    • I suspect many people will disagree with you.

      • Mitchell Owens says

        Let me chime in as one of the people who will disagree with Mr Torres. Though an art lover, I am no art scholar. I know what I like, which is pretty broad. When it comes to Cubism, there is as much that delights my eye and mind as does not. Some works may indeed be “unintelligible,” as Mr Torres states, but others are quite beautiful and stimulating with their choreography of colors and shapes and fields of depth et cetera.

        • To Mitchell Owens: I found your remarks interesting in many respects. Candid and very well put. – L.T.

          • There’s never much point in talking about what “many people” like (or don’t like). It’s the people who do like that matter, whether they are many or few. (Who is going to count them, in either case?)

            I was fortunate enough to attend the Cubism exhibition many times, and each time it was packed with visitors who, in this case, were rapt with attention to the art. Did they find it difficult? Maybe, but part of the delight of of looking was finding the images buried inside. Some of these paintings, if viewed as abstractions, are simply ravishing. They are the complete opposite of much of the garish and vacuous work that is sold as art these days.

  2. Disagree with me? Regarding which of the points I make in each of the two paragraphs of my comment? All? Just some? Note that Mitchell Owens does seem to agree with me that some Cubist works are “unintelligible.” And I find it interesting that he also says that much of Cubism does not delight his eye, which at the very least suggests that he might find some of it “off-putting.” – L.T.

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