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The Worcester “Slavery” Label Controversy

I’ve been pondering the recent action of the Worcester Art Museum–to include information on new labels in its early American portrait gallery,about each sitter’s relationship with slavery, if any, ever since I first learned of it about six weeks ago. After reading many other opinions, I’ve now come to my own conclusion. I don’t agree […]

What Museum Visitors Want to Know

Museums are mysterious to many people outside the art world (and maybe to people in the art world, I don’t know!). That’s why I highlighted Ask A Curator Day here last week, and why I asked to hear from curators who participated. One museum–prompted by a curator there–stepped up. The Fine Arts Museums of San […]

Coming Soon: Ask A Curator Day

I’m not sure how I missed Ask A Curator Day in years past; I think it’s a splendid idea. Maybe because it seems to be publicized most ardently on Twitter, and I do not have a Twitter account. In any case, I read about this year’s, which takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 13, on Facebook. […]

Should Museums Compare and Contrast Cultures?

It seems to be a trend these days for art museums (and some galleries) to mix and match cultures and, sometimes, time periods. Sometimes, this is about breaking down so-called false hierarchies in art history (I do not believe they are always false), sometimes it’s about appealing to new audiences, and sometimes it’s simply about […]

Too Much Contemporary? Too Little What Came Before?

That is a prospect we–American consumers of art exhibitions–face, and it is that subject and its consequences for our culture that I take up in an opinion piece published this morning on Aeon, the digital magazine that covers science, philosophy and society as well as the arts. The headline is Why does contemporary art make […]

Discovery At The National Gallery

While I was in London recently (returning before the latest terror attack, thank God), I stopped in at the National Gallery to see its marvelous exhibition, Michelangelo & Sebastiano, which–for the first time, apparently–united the work of these two artists. Michelangelo helped Sebastiano immensely, giving him ideas and even drawings, at least partly to win him […]

NY Historical Society’s Renovation Opens a Debate

Is more always better? Is it better when it comes to seeing art and artifacts? That’s the question I’ve been pondering since last week, when the New-York Historical Society* opened its new fourth floor. The renovated and recast floor includes a dazzling, two-level display of 100 Tiffany lamps (at left) and a gallery whose exhibitions […]

Max Hollein, Monet And Baseball

When baseball fans go to a game, they usually come prepared: they know the players, their records and their statistics. They know all about batting order strategy. The same for, say, horse-racing–even more so, because good bettors study the odds. But when people go to art museums, they often know nothing in advance–at least nothing […]

It’s A Matter of Taste-And Touch And…

If three, as the old saying goes, makes a trend, the museum world is past that and into institutionalizing the idea of multi-sensory exhibitions. I still would call it a “mini-trend,” though–one that I wrote about for The New York Times in its annual Museums section, published in print today. My article, headlined Drinking In […]

Paint, Hats and Degas–Really?

Today the Saint Louis Art Museum opened a new exhibition called Degas, Impressionism and the Paris Millinery Trade. On the surface, it sounds like one of those cooked-up theses, a mix of fashion with art, to lure people who generally don’t visit art museums into the galleries. A gimmick. Well, probably not. I have not […]

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