A Quarterly Newsletter for Small and Mid-sized Museums

Museum Views

Collage of Artwork

(877) 361-7994
(212) 677-3415


What are some of the major events that took place in the museum world in the last quarter? the past 6 months? further back than that? Find some hard facts- and some gossip- here.

Man on Wall Old Camera Kiss Art of Reading People



Kara Walker, in memory of Toni Morrison who died in New York at age 88 early in August, created a cover for the August 19 issue of The New Yorker magazine. Toni Morrison was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature (1993). Among her, 11 novels were The Bluest Eye (1970) and Beloved (1987). Walker’s memorial portrait is a cutout silhouette with the title Quiet As It’s Kept, honoring “the shadow that she leaves behind.”

As for creating a cutout, Walker says, “After a number of false starts—pastel, clay, I even considered watercolor—I decided to keep it familiar, to use the cutout. It’s the work I do. I’m no portraitist, but I am a shadow maker.”

Good News about Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the Arts endowment’s second major funding announcement for the fiscal year 2019. The agency received 1,592 Art Works (the Endowment’s principal grantmaking program) applications for the present round of grantmaking and will award 977 grants in this category.

“These awards, reaching every corner of the United States, are a testament to the artistic richness and diversity in our country,” said Carter. ‘Organizations… are giving people their community the opportunity to learn, create, and be inspired.”

Raphael’s Librarian

Although the “Close Up” exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (MA) is all about Raphael, it also celebrates the subject of his portrait of the papal librarian Tommaso Inghirami.

Celebrated by Erasmus as “the Cicero of our era,” Inghirami was a celebrity in the Renaissance, esteemed for his profound erudition and theatrical abilities. His intellectual achievements made him the perfect choice as a papal librarian. In addition, he became famous for his stage performances, playing the lead in revivals of ancient plays. In fact, he acquired the nickname “Fedra” after starring as the lovesick queen in Seneca’s Phaedra. Impressed, his friend Raphael cast him in the role of the philosopher Epicurius in his School of Athens fresco, after which he memorialized him in the portrait now on exhibit at the Gardner Museum.

Citizenship Among the Masters

Inspired by the themes explored in the exhibition “Yinka Shonibare CBE: The American Library,” the Speed Art Museum (KY) hosted a Naturalization Ceremony for approximately 100 Louisville residents in August. The ceremony included the oath of allegiance, signifying the end of the journey to U.S. citizenship, and its attendant privileges—the right to vote and to apply for a U.S. passport.

Requirements to becoming a citizen include five years of permanent residency (three years for spouses of citizens), passing the naturalization test, answering questions on background, submitting to an interview, passing tests on English and civics. Exemptions or waivers are sometimes granted.

Indigenous Installations in the Making

The Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland (OR) announced that it has been awarded a Creative Heights grant of $100,000 by the Oregon Community Foundation to support the commissioning of eight indigenous artists who will create installations to cover “Chieftain” heads carved into the travertine above the eight doorways in the corridor of the main campus building, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. The building, a former federal post office, which opened in 1919, was designed by American architect Lewis P. Hobart.

New York Birthday

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building opened on Fifth Avenue in New York on October 21, 1959. Millions have of visitors have been inspired and awed by the unique combination of radical art and architecture. Close to its 60th birthday, the landmark building was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on October 21, 2019, the people came to celebrate with special programs, food, music, tours, workshops, and film screenings.

On Schedule: Building Transformation

The next milestone in the Penn Museum’s Building Transformation project will reveal, on November 16, a reimagined suite of Africa galleries showcasing some 300 objects, half of which have never been on display. These galleries, containing one of the largest collections of African artifacts in the U.S., trace the paths of several key objects from their African origins to the museum in Philadelphia. It is through five themes—Design, Instruments, Spirituality, Benin in the West, and Exchange—and interactive media, first-person video narratives, and unusual objects that the museum conveys the breadth of its collection and the history of the continent through slavery to wealth and international involvement.

Artist-in-Residence in Senegal

Black Rock Senegal is a multi-disciplinary residency program developed by artist Kehinde Wiley, bringing together an international group of visual artists, writers, and filmmakers to join him at his studio on the westernmost point of the coast of Africa.

Residents will be invited to Dakar for between one and three months to live and create works at Black Rock, which seeks to support new multinational artistic creation through intergenerational collaborations and conversations.

Designed by Senegalese architect Abib Djenne, Black Rock Senegal opened in May 2019. The property includes apartments and studio space for Wiley and three artist residents. Each is invited to stay from between one and three months, while the program will run from June 2019 through February 2020. Residents are provided with assistance with language, a modest stipend, and funding for travel within Senegal.

Islam in Boston

The reinstalled, reinterpreted Arts of Islamic Cultures Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened in July 2019. It is designed to enhance understanding of the arts of Islamic communities. Thematically installed, the objects are divided into vignettes that reflect the artistic traditions that evolved over 13 centuries, from Spain to India and beyond.

Arabic calligraphy is explored as an art form; Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India are examined; and the history of singular objects and several contemporary works are included.

California Collaboration

The Wende Museum (CA) and the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum (CA), both in Culver City, have announced a strategic partnership that would allow both to continue to provide and expand access to rare historical collections that are otherwise at risk of neglect or disappearance. The Clayton collection of African American art, media, and literature, one of southern California’s most distinguished, was moved from the founder’s garage to a Culver City building from which it was evicted last this past summer. Preserving the Clayton collection became a community affair, and efforts were poured into forming a partnership between the two organizations, which resulted in an emerging Creative Community Center, housed in an abandoned city-owned building, which would offer cultural and educational programming and social services by multiple community organizations working together.

Board Director of the Clayton Museum and Library commented: “Working together and pooling resources to provide a greater public benefit while also demonstrating the value of arts and cultural collaborations as a model is a win-win.” Wende Museum Executive Director Justin Jampol said, “Whether it’s a museum, a public institute of higher education, or a social-service non-profit, the old ways of operating are obsolete. Strategic partnerships are the only viable model.”

Schiele and Habitat for Humanity

A shopper at a Habitat for Humanity thrift shop in Queens, New York, browsing through second-hand furniture and clothing, came upon and bought a drawing of a girl lying on her back that attracted his attention. He thought it looked like a drawing by Egon Schiele. After consultation with Jane Kallir, the author of Schiele’s catalog raisonné and director of Galerie St. Etienne in New York, he found his suspicion validated. The drawing was authenticated as a work by Egon Schiele, sketched not long before his death in Vienna in 1918 at age 28, a victim of the Spanish flu pandemic—probably one of several studies for his final lithograph Girl.

“It was [a sketch of] a girl who modeled for Schiele frequently, both alone and sometimes with her mother, in 1918,” said Kallir, who could place the work in a sequence of 22 other Schiele drawings of the girl, even pinpointing two that were probably made in the same session.

Today, the drawing is hanging in Kallir’s gallery, priced at from $100,000 to $200,000. If sold, the anonymous purchaser has promised to donate some of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.

Niagara Center Awarded for Excellence

The Niagara Underground Railroad Heritage Center (NY) received an award of excellence from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for its permanent exhibition “One More River to Cross,” mounted to reintroduce the forgotten history of the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls and share the courageous stories of freedom seekers and abolitionists. The exhibition blends historic, re-creations, artifacts, original fine art, music, narration, and multimedia interactive features.

The museum explains that while the Underground Railroad must be set within the context of the system of slavery in the United States, slavery, per se, is not a primary focus at the Heritage Center. Rather, the focus is on the strength and agency of the individuals whose goal was to claim their own freedom: freedom seekers are at the heart of the stories told at the Center. Moreover, the Heritage Center connects their stories to the continued struggle for all people to live free from oppression.

Sara Capen, executive director for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, writes: “This small, but critically needed museum is a poignant reminder of the work that is before us as people, as neighbors, as leaders, as teachers, as communities. It is a reminder that our “one More River to Cross’ is not a gentle stream…. More so, like the Niagara, it is a mighty river full of obstacles, currents, intensity like few other rivers in the world. This exhibit calls upon each of s to pick up the oars because the crossing is treacherous and there is still so much work to do for s to get to the other side.”

The AASLH was begun in 1945 to encourage excellence in the collection of state and local history throughout the United States. Leadership in History Awards honor not only a significant achievement for the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history, but also recognizes small and large organizations to make contributions.

Touching Allowed

The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum (TX) is developing “Touch Tours,” a program for the blind and visually impaired—a guided tour through the garden and assistance when describing and interacting with the sculptures. The museum’s partnership with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which provides training for their docents, ensures the best experiences possible.

Great Lakes Native America Reaches Indiana

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art (IN) has acquired the Richard Pohrt, Jr. collection, a major assemblage of historical art from the Native Nations of the Great Lakes region that will prompt significant renovations to its Native galleries. A $2.83 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. made possible the acquisition of the collection as well as its shipment, storage, conservation, tribal consultations, and community accessibility.

Among the objects included in the acquisition are items of all manner of clothing—hand-beaded and hand-stitched, carved wooden bowls, ladles, and war clubs, handwoven bags. Together they tell the story of indigenous peoples who have inhabited the area for centuries.

Painter of Former First Lady Ventures Outdoors

Amy Sherald, whose portrait of Michelle Obama hangs in the National Portrait Gallery (DC) to the great admiration and interest of visitors, has broadened the venues of her portraits to the side of a Target store in Philadelphia—a six-story mural, Untitled, portrays a 19-year-old African American Philadelphia resident named Najee Spencer-Young. Said Sherald, “Given Philadelphia’s cultural landscape, I think it’s important also to have that diversity represented within its visual landscape.”

The piece was commissioned by the non-profit Mural Arts Philadelphia, where Spencer-Young had participated in an education program. Painter and subject met at an “audition” for the portrait. Spencer-Young was shy and hesitant, but “When I asked for volunteers to shoot a few fun photos, she popped up…. After looking at the photos we took, I immediately knew she was the right model for this mural. I saw [the project] as an opportunity to build her self-esteem as well as [that of] the other young girls that look like her.”

The Favorites

In its five-year collaboration with the Smithsonian American Art Museum (DC) and four partner museums across western U.S. communities, the Nevada Museum of Art designated the month of November to vote on selections from SAAM which, if they win the vote, will be included in an exhibition entitled “America’s Art, Nevada’s Choice” (through Dec. 2).

For a month during this past summer at the Nevada Museum, thousands of people cast votes for their favorite painting from SAAM. The vote was to result in the favorite three being installed on the walls of the museum. Works by Hassam, Hockney, Hopper, Inness, Lawrence, O’Keeffe, Rodriguez-Diaz, and Roesen were in contention for the honor.

The final result: Childe Hassam’s, The South Ledges, Appledore, 1913; Edward Hopper’s Ryder’s House, 1933; and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hibiscus with Plumeria, 1939.

Wright Building Sited by World Heritage

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (NY) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the 20th Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, which includes eight major works spanning 50 years of his career. The sites listed are Unity Temple (1906-09), Oak Park, Illinois; the Frederick C. Robie House (1910), Chicago; Taliesin (1911), Spring Green, Wisconsin; Hollyhock House (1918-21), Los Angeles; Fallingwater (1936-39), Mill Run, Pennsylvania; the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House (1936-37), Madison, Wisconsin; Taliesin West (1938) Scottsdale, Arizona; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1956-59). This group of structures is one of more than 1,000 World Heritage sites around the world and is among only 24 sites in the U.S.—the first modern architecture designation in the country.

New Building for New Museum

The New Museum (NY) plans for its second building complements the integrity of its flagship structure and replaces its 50,000-square-foot adjacent property on the Bowery. The new seven-story building will include three floors of galleries, additional space for public amenities, and improved vertical circulation.

Bridge Morphs to Sculpture

Five years ago, workers began to dismantle the former eastern span of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Artists across California expressed a heated desire to repurpose the emerging steel pieces. The Oakland Museum of California, in its wisdom, expressed interest and partnered with the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee to start the Bay Bridge Steel Program. Ultimately, 15 artists, architects, and design professionals were awarded some of the steel under the condition that they use it to make public art in California.

This past September, one of the winners, Tom Loughlin, unveiled a large, ambitious public art project, the first work to emerge from the program—Signal—a massive public sculpture on the western edge of Treasure Island. It is a steel ring, 25 feet across, made from the former span’s box-shaped and riveted top chords, the uppermost horizontal girders of the truss sections of the bridge — pulses of light shine from a signal lamp and a low vibration that mimics a foghorn.

The sculpture will be free and open to the public through 2022.

April 2019

Renewing the Rothko Chapel

The paintings (commissioned by the de Menils in 1970) are in “great shape,” says David Leslie, executive director of the nonprofit organization that runs the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, which opened in 1971. “It’s the natural Houston light that pours in from the skylight that needs fixing”; because of the constant exposure, Mark Rothko’s 14 monumental paintings could fade drastically.

Various solutions have been tried over the years, some unsightly, some ineffective. Finally, a new solution is being put into place: a new skylight with special glass in the original octagonal shape approved by Rothko himself. Painted aluminum louvers below the glass will filter the light without changing the impression of direct light from the skylight. “My father loved the light in that studio [in New York] and wanted to replicate it in the chapel,” says Christopher Rothko, the artist’s son. And so, he will have it. The restoration of the chapel and the addition of a visitors’ pavilion and an “energy house” that contains mechanical systems will be finished by the end of the year.

Other facets of this grand $30 million overhaul will also be undertaken. A new administrative archival building, a center for public programs, the relocation of a bungalow on the property to serve as a guest house, new landscaping, and a “meditation garden” are all in the offing to be finished by 2021.

Getty Villa Gradually Reopens

Reopening in stages since last summer, the Getty Villa in Malibu (CA) has completed a major overhaul of its collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. The previously thematic presentation has been replaced by chronological displays spanning the years 6000 B.C. to 600 A.D. The revamp carves out some 3,000 square feet of additional exhibition space and brings works out of storage.

International Event: Simultaneous Openings Across the Pond

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (NY) and Cube design museum in Kerkrade, Netherlands, are co-organizing the exhibition “Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial,” (May 10-January 20, 2020) opening simultaneously at both venues. Each museum features innovative projects begun in 2016 and later that highlight the ways designers collaborate with scientists, engineers, farmers, environmentalists, and nature itself to create a more harmonious and regenerative future.

The works on display, ranging across design disciplines such as architecture, urbanism, product design, landscape design, fashion and communication design, are shown to enhance and reimagine humans’ relationship to the natural world. In fact, the dual exhibitions together confront humanity’s biggest challenge yet—climate change—by addressing the ways designers are exploring sustainable production methods, identifying new ways for protecting future generations, and deepening the understanding of, and relationship with nature. Areas of innovation include synthetic biology, data visualization, urban agriculture, and alternative materials research.

Summer Openings

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach (FL) has received an extensive facelift after 78 years of active life. The new-look includes a sculpture garden that provides a culturally underserved community with an up-to-date center, extra gallery space, and a new building that reorients the main entrance. The Great Hall serves as the museum’s “living room” and community space, while the historic houses on the campus edge house artists-in-residence.

The focus of The Shed, a new interdisciplinary arts center on Manhattan’s West Side, is toward new art. “The original idea was relatively simple: provide a place for artists, working in all disciplines, to make and present work for audiences from all walks of life,” says Alex Pots, chief executive of the center. Thus, The Shed commissions original works of art across all disciplines, for all audiences. It opened in early April with “Soundtrack of America,” a music history concert series. More events follow:

“Reich Richter Part,” a collaboration between painter Gerhard Richter and the composer Steve Reich, and another between Richter and composer Arvo Pärt;
“Trisha Donnelly,” an exhibition of artwork;
“Norma Jeanne Baker of Troy,” a partly spoken, partly sung performance piece;
“Björk’s Cornucopia,” an elaborate staged concert;
“Powerplay,” a multimedia production celebrating radical art;
“Open Call,” a display of new works by New York-based emerging artists;
“Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise.” S futuristic Kung Fu musical;
and more….

It is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with the Rockwell Group, the building’s outer movable shell coasts on steel tracks, doubling its footprint. It pursues a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Another summer event in New York is the opening of the expanded Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Having added 30 percent more space for displays, the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro have also enlarged the entrance and the display areas on the upper floors. New flexible spaces are dedicated to contemporary design, performance, and film. There are also new flexible spaces dedicated to contemporary design, performance, and film.

Native American Fellowship Program Awarded

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem (MA) announced that it had been awarded a $1.3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its landmark Native American Fellowship program. In its tenth year, the program ensures that talented Native Americans acquire the experience, knowledge, and skills needed to become cultural leaders with impact. Founded ten years ago in response to the underrepresentation of Native Americans in the museum, cultural, and academic fields, the program is designed to foster a new generation of Native American leaders who will play a role in developing and preserving their art and culture.

The Peabody Essex Museum has the oldest Native American art collection in the hemisphere. It presents and interprets the art and culture of more than 500 Native American tribes and takes on the responsibility of helping support their continued creativity.

Long-Time Partnership Emerges

A multi-year partnership was announced early this year between the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 (NY). The wide-ranging collaboration encompasses exhibitions and programming during the construction of the Studio Museum’s new facility, situated on the site of its former home on West 125th Street.

First, opening at MoMA PS1 is a new work by the current participants in the Studio Museum’s Artist-in-Residence program (June 9-Sept. 8). Then, “Studio Museum at MoMA, The Elaine Dannheisser Project Series” will inaugurate the new MoMA, opening October 21.

Landmark Preservation Underway

For the first time in its 112-year history, the Morgan Library & Museum (NY) will undergo a facelift. The exterior of the McKim, Mead & White Neoclassical building will be restored and conserved, the grounds surrounding the library will be enhanced, and the lighting and public access will be improved. At its conclusion in four years, costing some $12.5 million, the generously spacious new grounds will allow visitors to look closely at the architectural and sculptural details of the library, one of the finest examples of its kind in the United States.

Chicano Art Takes Center Stage

Coming up in California through the efforts of the Riverside Art Museum and the actor and comedian Cheech Marin: a new institution dedicated to Chicano art where the Cheech collection of some 700 works will be housed. One of the largest public displays of Chicano art in the country, the collection is the result of a life-long dedication to art. It began in the 1980s. “When I discovered the Chicano painters, I thought: ‘These guys are really good. I know every painter in the world, how come they’re not getting any shelf space?’ So, that became my collecting process, to make sure they got shelf space.”

What Would You Do?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) and all the other institutional recipients of the Sackler families’ beneficence are in a quandary. But not the City of New York, which filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and several members of the Sackler family who serve on the board of directors of that company, the pharmaceutical firm that manufactures and markets the highly addictive drug OxyContin, which has been a prime factor in the opioid crisis. The company was purchased and built up by the late brothers Sackler and continued to expand and serve the fortunes of the Sacklers through many years of growth.

Now the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other beneficiaries of the Sackler fortune are re-assessing gift acceptance policies in light of the ongoing controversy. Daniel Weiss, president and chief executive of the Met, explained, “The Sackler family has been connected with the Met for more than a half-century. The family is a large extended group and their support of the Met began decades before the opioid crisis. The Met is currently engaging in a further review of our detailed gift acceptance policies, and we will have more to report in due course.”

Late news:

On March 19, two weeks before our publication date, The Art Newspaper reported on-line that the National Portrait Gallery in London had just announced its decision against accepting a ?1million grant from the Sackler Trust. “The Sackler Trust and the National Portrait Gallery have jointly agreed not to proceed at this time with a ?1m gift from the Sackler Trust to support the gallery’s ‘Inspiring People’ project.”

The Trust’s grant was awarded in 2016 for a ?35.5m project, which includes a building development, a new education center, and a redisplay of the collection. The money remained a pledge and was not paid because a) work had not yet begun, and b) the gallery was still examining the implications of accepting Sackler funding. Issuing a statement, the Trust said that “recent reporting of allegations made against Sackler family members may cause this new donation to deflect the National Portrait Gallery from its important work” According to the family, “The allegations against family members are vigorously denied, but to avoid being a distraction for the NPG, we have decided not to proceed at this time with the donation. We continue to believe strongly in the gallery and the wonderful work it does.”

NPG Chairman David Ross commented: “I acknowledge the generosity of the Sackler family and their support of the arts over the years. We understand and support their decision not to proceed at this time with the donation to the Gallery.”

Eureka! A Fingerprint!

A thumbprint of Leonardo da Vinci was spotted on one of his works that resides in Britain’s Royal Collection.) It is from his left thumb (he was left-handed) and appears on a medical drawing. Ahead paper conservator found that the reddish-brown ink of the print is the same as that on the drawing, so Leonardo presumably “picked up the sheet with inky fingers”—a theory confirmed by the fact that there is also a smudged mark of his left index finger on the reverse.

The drawing in question is entitled The Cardiovascular System and Principal Organs of a Woman (c1509-10). Head paper conservator explains that although fingerprints have been found on other Leonardo drawings, the one on the Organs of a Woman is “the most convincing candidate for an authentic Leonardo fingerprint” among the Queen’s 550 Leonardos.

Multi-Institutional Partnerships and How They Work

Launched in 2017 with the goal of generating nationwide collection-sharing networks, the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative is a joint grant program of Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art. This initiative supports multi-year, multi-institutional partnerships, pairing a large metropolitan museum with smaller museums that traditionally lack the opportunity or resources to work together. The purpose of these partnerships is to engage local communities with outstanding works of American art. Partners collaborate by sharing collections and resources to create a series of content-rich exhibitions of art combined with in-depth educational and interpretive materials to reach a broad spectrum of audience interests. In addition, the initiative fosters professional development and exchanges among partners.


For Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Museum of Art serves as the catalyst museum partnering with a consortium of eight museums across the Commonwealth. The Westmoreland was invited to be a part of this initiative in 2017. The other partners are Allentown Art Museum, The Demuth Museum, Erie Art Museum, James A. Michener Art Museum, Palmer Art Museum, Reading Public Museum, and The Trout Gallery. Comming together as a consortium offers the exceptional opportunity to share collections, exhibitions, ideas and professional expertise with our audiences.

Museo Censures Artist

El Museum del Barrio (NY) canceled an exhibition of work by Chilean-born film-maker and artist Alejandro Jodorowsky after reflecting on remarks he made decades ago about raping an actress while filming a movie. The museum statement read: “The cancellation was made following an assessment of remarks made by the artist regarding an act of sexual violence he perpetrated [against an actress] in the making of his film El Topo,” which was filmed in 1970. Executive Director Patrick Charpenel said, “We are committed to addressing complex and challenging issues but have a responsibility to do so in a way that generates productive dialogues and debate. However, while the issues raised by Jodorowsky’s practice should be examined, we have come to the conclusion that an exhibition is not the right platform for doing so at this time.”

News Shorts

Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) delivers 1st-century gilded Egyptian coffin to Manhattan district attorney for return to Egypt. Museum discovered the coffin had been looted in 2011. It was acquired only two years ago from a Paris-based dealer who is said to have given fraudulent ownership history.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art I (CA) announces the sale of Mar Rothko color-bloc painting (Untitled, 1960) to raise money for diversification and for the acquisitions that fill “historical gaps” in its holdings. The May auction is estimated to bring $35-50 million.

University of Notre Dame (IN), following student protests, will cover 12 murals (1882-84) on the walls of the main building in response to a student protest. Although these Christopher Columbus images reflect 19th-century thinking about his discovery, his arrival “was nothing short of a catastrophe” for indigenous peoples,” said University President Rev. John Jenkins.

Activist/photographer Nan Goldin continues to protest against Sackler-family donations to museums for their contributions derived from proceeds from the sale of opioid OxyContin, which fueled the opioid epidemic. Goldin and followers deposited thousands of fake prescriptions in the atrium of the Guggenheim Museum (NY) and then moved on to the entrance of the Met.

Copy of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa garners near-largest auction price ever for a copy. The estimated sale price of $80,000-100,000 is passed by an actual sale of $1.69 million. Leonardo mania continues.’

Museum of Modern Art (NY) and Hermitage Museum (Moscow) heads seek to end U.S.-Russian loan freeze at the February art diplomacy conference held at the Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas (TX). Glen Lowry (MoMA) and Mikhail Piotrovsky (Hermitage) agreed on difficulty, but not on the solution. Currently, the freeze stems from a 2010 decision by a Federal court directing Russia to return a library in its possession to a U.S. Jewish organization, Chabad. Russia’s failure to participate in the court hearings resulted in fines of $50,000 a day for contempt. As a result, Russia refuses to loan art to the U.S. for fear that it will be seized as collateral to satisfy the judgment. Lowry commented: “You have a strange moment where relationships [between curators and museum staffs] at a personal level have probably never been better,” yet at an institutional level, exchanging exhibitions, “it’s never been more difficult.”

Shutdown Fallout

For more than a month, from December 22, 2019, to January 25, 2019, federally funded museums suffered the dire consequences of disappointed visitors, furloughed staff, disrupted exhibitions, and lost revenue. The fallout continues.

Federal museums were able to stay open for 11 days during the shutdown due to leftover funds from the previous fiscal year. For 27 days thereafter, they went dark. Altogether, the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, including the Cooper Hewitt in New York, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Zoo, lost an estimated one million visitors. School groups were canceled, exhibitions were cut short, or schedules revised.

The Smithsonian lost an estimated $3.4 million in gross revenue from its gift shops, concessions and IMAX film screenings, which can never be regained. The National Portrait Gallery lost some $1.2 million in gross revenue from its shops, restaurants, and ice rink.

Some 2,000 trust-funded Smithsonian staff members were able to work during the shutdown. The NGA staff is 84 percent federally funded. Another Smithsonian staff is only 2/3 funded, with the balances coming from trusts and private sources. Of the 4,000 Smithsonian Federal workers, all but 800were furloughed; the majority of the staff who continued working were those concerned with operations of the zoo.

Outside contractors—security guards, food service workers—were not guaranteed backpay as were all federal workers.

Researchers were unable to use the libraries and collections.

Furloughed employees were forbidden to check their government email; they had no sense of purpose or mission; morale bottomed out.

January 2019

Renoir at the Morgan

Before the emergence of The Great Bathers, a large-scale study of two figures rested on the easel of the great Pierre-Auguste Renoir. That study, not seen in some 50 years, and never exhibited or reproduced in color, can now be seen at the Morgan Library & Museum (NY).

As Renoir sought a new direction in his work during the 1880s, he experimented with the classical subject of female bathers. He turned to a 17th-century relief sculpture at Versailles, the Bain des nymphes by François Gordon, as inspiration for his contemporary scene of three women bathing. Beginning in 1884, Renoir spent nearly three years developing the composition, producing numerous preparatory studies, ranging from small-scale sketches to full-scale drawings. In the Morgan study for his painting of modern naiads, the artist explored the pose of the bather in the left foreground of the painting recoiling as one of her companions splashes her. While the figure appears almost identical in the painted version, Renoir replaced her passive companion by the river bank with a more animated bather, wrapping herself in a sheet.

Among the twenty-some studies for The Great Bathers, the Morgan sheet is one of only two full-scale model drawings for the final composition. It was executed on paper mounted to canvas and retained the original powdery white chalk used for the figures.

Praying Hands

For centuries, it has been assumed that Albrecht Dürer’s well known Praying Hands (1508) was a preparatory drawing for a painted altarpiece. Not so, says Christof Metzger, chief curator of Vienna’s Albertina museum, where the drawing will be on exhibit later this year. He argues that the drawing depicts the actual hands of the artist, showing a little finger with a stiffened joint and that it is much too finished and detailed for a preparatory study. Why he queries, would the artist go to such trouble for it only to be scaled down to a tiny detail in an altarpiece?

“The work represents a miracle of observation and it is too ambitious to be merely a preliminary study,” he says. “Dürer made it as a ‘master drawing’ to show to visitors in his workshop as an example of his God-given talent.” In fact, says Metzger, this and some other drawings were produced “to advertise Dürer’s talents.” They would have been brought out to show prospective clients the quality they could expect from a commission.

Freedom, Equality, and Civil Rights

A new initiative undertaken by the New-York Historical Society is dedicated to freedom equality and civil rights in America. The society’s prime rotating gallery is hosting the inaugural exhibition “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow (through March 3). Future exhibitions in the society’s renovated galleries will include other historically marginalized groups.

Upcoming exhibitions include “Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean” will highlight the work of an important figure of the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s; “Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman” will showcase the influential Harlem Renaissance sculptor; and a spring show, planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Villa, Revamped, Reopens

It has been opening in stages since last summer, but the Getty Villa Malibu (CA) will complete a major overhaul of its collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities on April 18. Previously thematically displayed, the collection will be re-presented in a chronological order spanning the centuries from 6000 BC to 600 AD.

The revamp carves out an additional 3,000 square feet of exhibition space and brings works out of storage. The emphasis will be on the artistic quality and evolution of style through time. However, housed since 1974 in its full-scale replica of the Villa Dei Papiri at Herculaneum, the Getty collection is limited to Greek and Roman art. Due to the make-over, a new gallery, The Classical World in Context, will display long-term loans of works from other ancient cultures with ties to Greece and Rome. The first show, “Palmyra: Loss and Remembrance” (May 27) includes works that complement the Getty’s holdings of late Roman art.

Arab Culture in New York City

A coalition of artists, foundations, and cultural institutions, The Arab Art and Education Initiative is a New York City-wide, a year-long program that aims to connect contemporary Arab culture with diverse audiences across the five boroughs of the city. Through exhibitions, artist dialogues, and education programs in schools and universities, the initiative seeks to build greater understanding between the United States and the Arab World. Programming is guided by a commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, 17 global goals set forth in 2015 to realize a better world by 2030.

The coalition includes 2 Bridges Music Arts, Art Jameel, ArtX, Asia Society, Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, Edge of Arabia, Middle East Institute, Misk Art Institute, Pioneer Works, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, UNESCO, Washington Street Historical Society, and WeWork. A Culture Summit at the United Nations this year will gather cultural leaders and artists for the activation of the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Big Bequest

Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem (NY) and Tia Powell Harris, chief executive officer of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC, have announced that the arts patron, educator, and civil rights activist Peggy Cooper Cafritz bequeathed most of her art collection to the two institutions. The bequest of more than 400 works to the Studio Museum and over 250 to the Ellington School marks the largest gift ever made of contemporary art by artists of African descent.

Monet’s Collection

The catalog, Monet the Collector, by Marianne Mathieu and Dominique Lobstein, published for an exhibition at the Musée Marmottan in Paris, expounds on Monet’s cherished collection, most of which was hung for his private delectation in the huge bedroom over his studio. He collected, among other things, Japanese prints, Renoir, Manet, Corot, Caillebotte, some works by Berthe Morisot, and 15 paintings by Cézanne.

The sad story of its final disposal is related by the authors: Monet died in 1927, leaving everything to his son Michael. Two minor disasters followed: the inventory made after Monet’s death disappeared, and Michael disposed of much of the collection to finance his expensive lifestyle traveling abroad and going on African safaris. Between his father’s death in 1927 and his own death in 1966, Michael sold 65 percent of the collection—some 328 items and 292 of the 389 paintings by his father.

A Christie First

In October of 2018, Christie’s in New York sold a hazy portrait of a clergyman, possibly French, from an indeterminate time in history. Doing so, it became the first auction house to sell a work created by artificial intelligence, leaving the art world with a conundrum: who owns the copyright? And what happens if there has been no human interaction? Does the A.I. mechanism then hold the copyright?

A Female First

For the first time since it opened in 1941, a woman will lead the National Gallery of Art (DC). The appointment of Kaywin Feldman as the next director was announced in December 2018. “I’m a feminist. And I have long advocated for gender equality, so it’s really exciting for me to be able to lead the nation’s art museum,” she said as she prepared to depart from the Minneapolis Institute of Art where she served as director for ten years. She will begin in her new role at the NGA in mid-March, replacing Earl “Rusty” Powell.

Powell commented on the choice: “I really have to applaud the trustees of the National Gallery who… set out diversity, equity, and inclusion as one of their primary goals. They’re walking the talk.” In fact, diversity has been a major consideration for other high profile museum director jobs, yet this year they have gone to white men.

Artwork? Or satellite?

After three years in the making, Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector was launched into space, visible from Earth with the naked eye like a slowly moving artificial star.

Picture this: a rocket launched into space. Inside it is a reflective, inflatable sculpture affixed to a small satellite that, once ejected, will orbit the earth for several weeks before disintegrating upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. That’s Orbital Reflector! Made a reality through the efforts of the Nevada Museum of Art, whose belief that its realization could help, as all art helps, to change the way we see ourselves, to consider our place in the universe, and to reimagine how we live together on this planet.

Some Ups and Downs of 2018 According to The Art Newspaper


A Banksy Shredding

The value of shredders, a half-shredded Banksy painting, and speculation on whether shredding can increase the value of dying artworks. At a well attended Sotheby’s auction, Banksy staged the shredding of his Girl With Balloon (2006) and as luck had it, the machine jammed mid-shredding. As a result, the work increased in value by a significant number.

A Van Gogh Revival

Julian Schnabel’s film about Vincent van Gogh At Eternity’s Gate was a big success. Ten major exhibitions will be dedicated to him in the next two years. He received a dedicated blog, “Adventures with Van Gogh,” on The Art Newspaper’s website.

David Hockney

His auction record was broken three times this year. His painting brought more money than any other living artist. Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) brought $90.3 million.


Fifty years ago, the collective AfriCOBRA shaped the Black Arts Movement in Chicago. Today, prominence is coming from its section in the touring show “Soul of a Nation,” now at the Brooklyn Museum (N.Y.). They are exhibitors in the Art Design Chicago exhibitions and have had many commercial gallery shows. Another AfriCOBRA show is taking place at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami.


Sackler-Funded Museums

After implications that the Sackler family’s ties to Purdue Pharma, the company that profited from the sales of Oxycontin, the funds are coming to museums from the family did not prove to be a particular benefit. Rather, the contrary became true with strong pressures to sever ties leading to tensions, retirements, firings, and more.

Arab Art

Forgeries and law cases surrounding authentications damaged the market. A bankrupt Dubai company was forced to sell its collection at a fraction of its original cost.


His tall Bouquet of Tulips was rejected from its proposed Paris site outside the Palais de Tokyo—a second rejection. He finished out the year 2018 being found guilty of plagiarizing a 1980s ad campaign, the second claim against him in Paris in as many years.

Salvator Mundi

Shortly after the mind-bending sale of Leonardo’s painting for $450 million, the work was reportedly swapped for a mega yacht. Its new home is in Abu Dhabi, where the promise was made to put it on display at the Louvre there. That promise has proven empty. The painting is now reported to be in Swiss storage awaiting final destination.

Friezing N.Y.

A New York summer heatwave overtook dealers and buyers equally at Frieze New York.

Museum Mile Month

Go to Charleston (SC) in January for a month of Museum mile activities. For the low price of one ticket you get to visit the Aiken-Rhett House Museum, the Charleston Museum, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, the Confederate Museum, The Edmonston-Alston House, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Heyward-Washington House, the Joseph Manigault House, the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the Old Slave Mart Museum, the Powder Magazine, and the South Carolina Historical Society Museum.

A lot to see for only $25.00!


The National Endowment for the Humanities announced $14.8 million in grants to support 253 humanities projects in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. An additional $45.5 million was awarded to fund 55 state humanities council partners. Among the categories in which grants are awarded were two most significant to small and mid-sized art museums:

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions. These funds “help institutions—particularly small and mid-sized institutions—improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections, including special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, and architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine arts, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, and historical objects.” (58 grants totaling $342,274 were awarded in this category for 2018.)

Preservation Education and Training Grants. These funds “help the staff o cultural institutions obtain the knowledge and skills needed to serve as effective stewards of humanities collections. Grants also support educational programs that prepare the next generation of conservators and preservation professionals as well as projects that introduce the staff o cultural institutions to recent improvements in preservation and access practices. (6 grants totaling $1.4 million.)

More at the Morgan

The Morgan Library and Museum (NY) announced an expansion of its drawing collection to include works by five major 20th-century African-American artists from the South: Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young, all self-taught. The acquisition came through a gift-purchase agreement from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the mission of which is to preserve and disseminate the works of African-American artists from the Southern U.S.

Spanish Sue Monterey Museum

The Fundació Gala-Salvador Dali in Figueres, Spain, has sued the museum Dali 17 in Monterey (CA) over the use of the artist’s name and imagery. The museum’s logo, it’s a website, its social media accounts and merchandise are all points in the complaint: Dali 17 “unfairly and unlawfully wrest from the Foundation control over its Dali marks and its reputation, particularly as the Foundation has no control over the quality of Defendant’s goods or services…. As a result, the Foundation’s extremely valuable reputation is being irreparably damaged.”

Diversity in Arts Leadership

An internship program offered by Americans for the Arts (DC, NY)—Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL)—helps aspiring directors, curators, and others to realize their ambitions and break the statistics that show, according to a study in Artists Report Back, nearly four out of five people working in the arts are white.

The DIAL program opens doors to careers in the arts by providing these intensive paid internships at arts organizations that offer one-on-one coaching from mentors. As a result, after some 20 years, the organization reports that 48 percent of its alumni/ae are working in the creative sector. This success has led to a planned expansion of the program into four new communities.

The Down Side of High Prices

The extraordinarily high price paid for David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Tow Figures) at auction has implications beyond the mere popularity of an artist. The sale will cause owners of Hockney’s other works to be resistant to sell. In addition, the perceived preciousness of his other works will convince buyers to offer extraordinary prices in order to convince an owner to sell at all.

A short piece about the market in The Art Newspaper commented on the sale: “Where a so-called ‘precious’ work such as this ends up should be of great concern…. [Hockney expert Lawrence Weschler says] I’d be a shame to see this work go into a private collection just to hang on one person’s wall.”

Thus, steep prices could prove a barrier for institutions with limited acquisition funds compared with private collectors with deep pockets.

October 2018

Five-Year Partnership

The Speed Art Museum (KY) and the Eskenazi Museum of Art (IN) announced a five-year partnership that will bring hundreds of art treasures from the Eskenazi permanent collection to the Speed. The partnership will be launched with a loan exhibition, “Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterworks from the Eskenazi Museum, Indiana University” (January 13, 2019), while the Eskenazi is closed for renovation.

Global Warming

“Project Trumpmore,” sponsored by Melting Art Association, aims to demonstrate climate change by commissioning a 115-foot tall Mt. Rushmore-style ice sculpture of Donald Trump’s face in the arctic region. The result would demonstrate that climate change is really happening. Will it melt?

The Scent in a Museum

The use of ambient scent in a museum has been studied and found to enhance the visitors’ experience. Aroma360 guides museums through the process of selecting a scent congruent with space and/or the exhibit to achieve certain goals. Mixed floral scents enhance learning speed by 17%. The scent is linked to associative learning. Scents increase the number of time visitors spends in an exhibit space, thus driving word of mouth, reviews, and social media, all of which result in increased attendance. The Frist Museum of Science (FL) has used specially chosen scents to enhance its special exhibition “The Power of Poison.”

Some scent “facts”:

--scents improve mood management, levels emotions, decreases anxiety and irritability, heightens focus, improves mood, increases the perception of the quality of experience;

--scents increase linger time; people stay 44% longer in a space that has an attractive scent;

--enhances perceived value, experience and connection to brand: 75% of daily decisions are based on scent or memory of scent;

--increase intent to purchase: Nike found an 84% increase in intent to purchase in a scented space;

--brand loyalty: people are 65% more likely to return to a place where they have had a (good) sensory experience.


The Getty Villa in Malibu completed a major overhaul of its collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. The previously thematic presentation will be replaced by chronological displays, spanning 6000 B.C. to 600 A.D. The emphasis is on the artistic qualities and stylistic evolution of the artifacts over time. The collection has been housed since 1974 in this full-scale replica of the Villa Dei Papiri at Herculaneum. It is limited to Greek and Roman art. The new gallery at the villa, the Classical World in Context, addresses the gap by displaying works from other ancient cultures with ties to Greece and Rome.


Three paintings, Out for Christmas Trees (1946), Grandma Moses, Goes to the Big City (1946), and Turkeys (1956) by Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma Moses) was acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (DC), the first installment of a promised gift, consisting of 10 works, to be realized by 2023. The three pictures are perfect examples of Moses’ colorful and lively style, which was inspired by her many decades as a farmwife, capturing holidays and the spirit of the season.

$ Increase for IMLS

The president has signed into law an appropriations package that includes a $2 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This after last year’s $3 million increase for the Office of Museum Services last year. “This funding increase didn’t happen by chance,” said American Alliance of Museum’s President and CE Laura Lott. “It’s the result of years of consistent hard work by museum advocates.”

The $2 million increase is split equally between $1 million for IMLS Research, Analysis and Data Collection and $1 million for overall IMLS Program Administration. IMLS funding totals $242 million, including $34.7 million for the Office of Museum Services. It is the first time since 1996 that the Labor-HHS-Education funding has been signed into law before the start of the new fiscal year. Having the funding in place on time gives certainty and planning time for IMLS that they had lacked when Congress did no enact full-year funding until well into the fiscal year.

The funding package also extends current funding levels through December 7 for all government programs that do not have full-year funding signed into law by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

July 2018

Georgia O’Keeffe At Center Stage

New York Times, Santa Fe, NM, March 6, 1986. “She was a key figure in ‘the American 20th century…. As much as anyone since Mary Cassatt, she raised the awareness of the American public to the fact that a woman could be the equal of any man in her chosen field.’ ” With these words, the NY Times obituary announced the death of 99-year-old Georgia O’Keeffe.

She was born on a wheat farm in Wisconsin in 1887, the second of seven children. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York in the first decade of the 20th century. After experimenting with alternatives to realism, she found that abstraction was her chosen visual language. Her first attempts, in charcoal, found their way to the art dealer and renowned photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who first exhibited her work in 1916. He became her husband in 1920.

Some years later, O’Keeffe visited northern New Mexico for the first time, beginning a new direction in her artwork—the stark lines of adobe architecture, the indigenous art, the desert landscape inspired the next 20 years of work. She moved to New Mexico permanently in 1949 after the death of her husband.

Having made New Mexico her home, O’Keeffe began to travel to all corners of the world, painting all the spectacular sites she came upon. Following that, she focused on the clouds and the sky and the rivers, as Stieglitz did in his photographs. In 1972, because of failing eyesight, she finished the last work she was to do on her own. But she continued to work with the aid of a series of assistants. At the age of 90, she said, “I can see what I want to paint. The thing that makes you want to create is still there.”

This year, selections of O’Keeffe’s work will be seen across the country, from New York City to Bentonville, Arkansas, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In New York, a little-known aspect of her career—a nine-week immersion in the landscape of Hawaii (she was commissioned by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company to produce two paintings for advertising campaigns in 1939)—can be seen in the Mertz Library Art Gallery at the New York Botanical Garden in the exhibition “Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawaii” (through October 28). During the duration of the exhibition, the Enid Haupt Conservatory will display plantings that highlight Hawaii’s wild and cultivated flora and an open-sided, thatched-roof pavilion inspired by traditional Hawaiian architecture. Other features of this immersive exhibition: poetry walk with a Maui-based poet laureate and native poets and chanters, a mobile video guide, sculpture installations, children’s programming, guitar and ukulele performers.

At the Crystal Bridges Museum of Contemporary Art in Bentonville, “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe & Contemporary Art” is on view through Sept. 3 featuring O’Keeffe works dating from 1916 through 1976, as well as works by contemporary artists who have been inspired by her legacy. Co-curator Chad Alligood called O’Keeffe “the first female superstar of 20th-century American art, and because of that she will remain a touchstone for contemporary artists today, whatever the subject matter.” “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe & Contemporary Art” will travel to the North Carolina Museum of Art (Oct. 13-Jan. 20, 2019), and the New Britain Museum of American Art (Feb. 22, 2019-May 19, 2019).

In a wide-ranging survey entitled “Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (through Sept. 3), O’Keeffe works play a prominent role. Selections from the museum’s collection also include works by members of Stieglitz’s circle as well as other painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, costumes, and decorative arts.


LOS ANGELES – The Getty Foundation announced the launch of The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century, a new initiative to strengthen curatorial practice in the graphic arts field internationally. The inaugural grants were awarded to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford; the British Museum in London; the Courtauld Gallery in London; the Morgan Library & Museum in New York; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam; and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Other American museums awarded include Harvard Art Museums (MA) and The Rhode Island School of Design Museum.

“The Paper Project is a response to the need for more training and professional development opportunities to serve a rising generation of curators of prints and drawings,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “Assisting curators at early points in their careers will help ensure that museum departments of prints and drawings continue to have strong leadership and independent voices well into the future. The museums involved in these inaugural projects are widely recognized for their excellent collections, influential scholarship, and commitment to training.”

While preparing this initiative, the Getty Foundation consulted broadly with curators internationally who voiced concerns over the steady erosion of the formal and informal training practices that have historically sustained the prints and drawings field. As a result, leading museums face a shortage of well-qualified specialists ready to move into more senior curatorial positions. Curators entering the field today must command a wide variety of skills, ranging from traditional approaches to the object, such as connoisseurship, to newer proficiencies such as audience engagement, both in the galleries and online. Yet the opportunities for curators to develop and hone these skills are limited.

To address these issues, The Paper Project grants will support traveling seminars for early and mid-career curators of drawings and prints; curatorial fellowships; professional workshops and symposia; collection-based research projects that present significant training opportunities for young professionals; and exhibitions and publishing projects led by emerging leaders in the field of prints and drawings.

“Museums are changing rapidly in the 21st century, as are the demands on curators,” says Heather MacDonald, senior program officer at the Getty Foundation. “The Paper Project supports training and professional development designed by and for prints and drawings specialists, with the aim of not only preserving the skills that have long been at the center of their discipline but also responding to the present-day and emerging needs of museums.”

For more information about The Paper Project or to submit inquiries for support, please visit http://www.getty.edu/foundation/initiatives/current/paperproject/paperprojectindex.html.

April 2018

Portraits Unveiled

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery unveiled its commissioned portraits of former President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively. The artworks were revealed as part of the Portrait Gallery’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks as did Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton, National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet and artists Wiley and Sherald.

“For 50 years, the National Portrait Gallery has told the story of America through the people who have impacted this country’s history and culture,” Sajet said. “We are thrilled to present to the nation these remarkable portraits of our 44th president, Barack Obama, and former First Lady, Michelle Obama, painted by two of the country’s most dynamic contemporary artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. As a museum of history and art, we have learned over the past half-century that the best portraiture has the power to bring world leaders into dialogue with everyday Americans. These two paintings fall into that category, and we believe they will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.”

Before President Obama’s departure from office, he and Mrs. Obama selected Wiley and Sherald to paint their likenesses for the Portrait Gallery’s collection. This is the first time that African American artists have been commissioned for the National Portrait Gallery’s official portraits of a President or First Lady.

Wiley’s painting is permanently installed in the Portrait Gallery’s “America’s Presidents” exhibition. Sherald’s painting is on view in the museum’s “Recent Acquisitions” corridor through early November.

Guggenheim’s Global Reach

The Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative creates direct access to contemporary art and education on a global scale. Through in-depth collaboration with artists, curators, and cultural organizations from South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa, MAP has expanded the Guggenheim’s collection with more than 125 new works and has built physical and digital experiences that bring art and ideas to life.

The initiative offers a diverse range of artistic voices and critical concerns, the present one from a rapidly evolving region and its international diaspora—a cross-circulation of ideas. “But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa” presents artworks that use geometry as a metaphor to measure both physical and conceptual space, and creates a dialogue between shape and form, symbol and abstraction, and past and present. Architecture is presented as a tool for evoking both colonial history and the implications of globalization and gentrification. Issues of migration and displacement around the world are raised as urgent issues.

“But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise” is on view through June 17 at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna Milano, marking the final exhibition of the initiative.

“Cool Technology” = Cool Museum Puzzle.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) announced the winner of the 2018 3M Art and Technology Award for “Riddle Mia This,” a mobile app that turns the museum into a puzzle room, providing a new, interactive way to deepen visitor engagement with the museum’s collection. The winners, technology architect Colin McFadden and digital preservation specialist Samantha Porter, University of Minnesota, will receive $50,000 toward the development of the project.

“The 3M Art and Technology Award was created to encourage innovative thinkers to push boundaries and change the way visitors experience the museum,” said Douglas Hegley, a chief digital officer at Mia. “We believe that digital technology can enable people to develop a powerful relationship with art….”

To come up with the idea, McFadden and Porter, founders of the Advanced Imaging Service for Objects and Spaces at the university, combined their expertise in 3D scanning, object creation, and virtual reality with their love of Twin Cities gaming communities. The app will turn Mia’s permanent collection and digital assets—including X-rays of paintings and 3D scans of objects—into a game in which players solve a series of riddles using clues, hints, and strategy.

The Mia team is partnering with GLITCH, a community-driven arts and education center for emerging game makers. GLITCH specializes in a collaborative design process that brings organizations together with like-minded communities and gamer makers to create meaningful interactive experiences.

“We saw a chance to combine all this cool technology with the really exciting social interaction, problem-solving, and exploration that comes with puzzle rooms,” said McFadden.

The Blackest Black

A British company, Surrey NanoSystems, developed Vantablack, the blackest known substance on earth, which absorbs 99.96 percent of all visible radiation. It was given by its developer to Anish Kapoor with exclusive rights over a spray variant, Vantablack S-VIS. The company stipulated that it could only be used for art.

This year, British architect Asif Khan coated a pavilion at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea, with another version called VBx2. It is probably the darkest building on earth. This version, unlike the one used by Kapoor, cannot be applied with a brush. I must be sprayed onto a surface by a team of experts trained in the technique.

Brits Guide to the Best

Appearing among the many museums from around the world on The Art Newspaper’s “Guide to the most important new museums and expansions in 2018” are two notable American institutions: The Getty Villa in Los Angeles (opened in mid-April) and the Institute for Contemporary Art at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

At the Getty Villa, which enlarges the original venue by almost 3,000 square feet, reorganized antiquities displays have been switched from a thematic presentation to a chronological one. Web content strategist Amelia Wong says: “The new display will take a stronger narrative approach, tracing the chronology of the development of art in the Etruscan, Greek, and Roman cultures from the Bronze Age through the late Roman Empire, roughly 3,000 BC to 600 AD.” The inaugural show, “Plato in LA: Contemporary Artists’ Vision” (September 3), examines Plato’s impact on the contemporary world.

The Institute for Contemporary Art, a new 41,000 square foot, $41 million venues (also opened in mid-April), complements the adjoining university, incorporates a 4,000 square foot gallery, and an outdoor garden (the “thinking field”). The inaugural show, “Declaration,” explores the power of contemporary to catalyze change through painting, sculpture, multimedia works, site-specific installations, and time-based performances.

Thumb Theft Upsets Chinese Lenders

The thumb of an ancient Chinese terracotta warrior, one often on view at the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia (PA), was broken off and carried away after a Christmas revelry—an “ugly Christmas sweater” party. The perpetrator was recorded on security cameras taking a selfie in front of the statue, after which he casually broke off the left digit, and left the party. Some two weeks later, the museum staff noticed the deformed hand and contacted the FBI. The offender was arrested, his home searched, and the member was found there, lying in a desk drawer.

The de-fingered statue is one of the warriors belonging to a terracotta army of about 8,000 soldiers, horses, and other figures discovered in the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuangdi. The entire army is housed at the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center, which, after the “noxious incident,” is now reconsidering its loan policy.

Nasher Prize Awarded to American

Dedicated to contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Prize Laureate, presented annually by the Nasher Sculpture Center, is awarded a living artist who has significantly impacted our understanding of the art form. The 2018 Laureate is Chicago-based Theaster Gates, the first American to receive the $100,000 prize as well as a commemorative award designed by Renzo Piano.

NEH Increases Award Amount for Fellowships

The National Endowment for the Humanities has increased the monthly stipend awarded through its fellowship's program to $5,000 per month, for a maximum stipend award of $60,000 for a 12-month fellowship project. In doing so, the revised program accommodates smaller museums and historical societies.

NEH Fellowships support advanced research in the humanities toward the production of articles, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources in the humanities. Through April 11, the program accepted applications from individual researchers, teachers, and writers to pursue full-time, continuous humanities research projects for a period of six to twelve months. Successful applicants’ stipends will represent an increase of $800 a month over previous years for a minimum stipend of $30,000 for a six-month project and a maximum of $60,000 for twelve-months. The increase also applies to NEH-Mellon Fellowships for Digital Publication, which supports individual scholars to pursue interpretive research projects that require digital expression and digital publication. Together, the number of fellowships comes to a total of 90 for 2018.

Application information can be had from program staff in NEH’s Division of Research at 202-606-8200 or fellowships@neh.gov.

Want to Buy a Castle?

There’s one available in Belgium.

Elewijt Castle, a Belgian property built-in 1304, once owned by Pieter Paul Rubens, is now for sale at an asking price of $4.9 million (€4m). It is located south of Antwerp, has 33 rooms, and is surrounded on three sides by a moat.

Rubens lived there with his second wife, 16-year-old Helena Fourment, from 1635 until his death in 1640. He completed several works there, including A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning. Mechelen-based estate agents Engel & V? lakers explain: “The current owner had the castle gradually restored since 1955, and in 2009 the castle was granted the status of official architectural heritage.” Built by medieval knights as a fortress, it had an imposing tower (depicted in A View of Het Steen), which was removed in the 1700s.

When Rubens bought the residence, he redesigned it in a Flemish Renaissance style and had his coat of arms engraved above the living-room fireplace. Today, it suits more modern usage: three additional 18th-century residences, three offices, two kitchens, seven bedrooms, five reception rooms are features of this grand relic.

2018 National Medal Finalists

Each year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services presents select museums and libraries with the nation’s highest honor, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The medal is awarded to institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service and exceed the expected levels of community outreach. The winners are honored at a National Medal award ceremony in Washington, D.C. (to take place in May after museumVIEWS’ posting date).


Carson City Library (Carson City, NV)
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma, OH)
Georgetown Public Library (Georgetown, TX) Ketchikan Public Library (Ketchikan, AK)
LA County Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Mancos Public Library (Mancos, CO)
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University Libraries (Chapel Hill, NC)
Orange County Library System (Orlando, FL)
Pueblo City-County Library District (Pueblo, CO)
Reading Public Library (Reading, PA)
Rochester Public Library (Rochester, MN)
Sacramento Public Library (Sacramento, CA)
Terrebonne Parish Library (Houma, LA)
Wiggin Memorial Library (Stratham, NH)

9/11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center (New York, NY)
Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo (Brookfield, IL)
Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus (Denver, CO)
Detroit Historical Society (Detroit, MI)
El Paso Museum of Art (El Paso, TX)
High Desert Museum (Bend, OR)
History Museum at the Castle (Appleton, WI)
Missouri Historical Society (St. Louis, MO)
National Railroad Museum (Green Bay, WI)
Newark Museum (Newark, NJ)
Orlando Science Center (Orlando, FL)
Pretend City Children’s Museum (Irvine, CA)
Science Museum of Virginia (Richmond, VA)
South Carolina Aquarium (Charleston, SC)
University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History (Eugene, OR)

Documentary Expands Visibility

Discussions at the University of Kentucky Art Museum on ways to expand the visibility of a modestly sized museum resulted in a documentary that honors the significance of museums. In it, artists, patrons, staff, supporters, and educators explore the concept of inspiration and dialog that museums facilitate. This effort “underscores what we as directors and curators do every day, creating significant experiences for individuals and our communities,” said Stuart Horodner, director of the University of Kentucky Art Museum.

A year in the making with collaborators from local companies, the film Museum includes footage of exhibitions, installations, opening receptions, and interviews with an artist, poet, supporter, and actor, all of whom share how museums play important roles in their lives.

The result: A transformation happening at the university… a renaissance across campus… the art museum plays a major role in this renaissance through the creation of profound experiences that engage the entirety of the Commonwealth… honoring the heritage of great Kentucky artist while also showcasing contemporary international masters.

Grant Milestone

The National Endowment for the Humanities celebrated a milestone in one of its grant programs, Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions (PAG). It surpassed a landmark 2,000 grants awarded.

The Preservation Assistance Grants (PAG) program, created in 2000, helps small and mid-sized institutions—libraries, museums, historical societies, and other cultural societies—improve their ability to preserve and care for humanities collections. The grants provide funding for these organizations to consult with preservation professionals to develop long-term plans for collections care, address specific conservation needs, purchase preservation supplies, provide training for staff in collections management and disaster response.

PAG grants helped…

· The Katirvik Cultural Center in Nome, Alaska to purchase environmental monitoring; supplies to preserve the histories of the Yupik and Inupiat peoples of the Bering Strait;

· The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, CT, upgrade its lighting and storage to safeguard archives that tell the story of Stowe’s life and legacy;

· Supported the Yellowstone Gateway Museum in Livingston, Montana, in rehousing in temperature- and humidity-controlled facilities 19th- and 20th-century archives from homesteaders, ranchers, and railroad workers that tell the early history of southern Montana;

· Rendered the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Tennessee, able to hire a conservation consultant to advise on the long-term care of master recordings of country, bluegrass, old-time, and gospel music;

· and many more.

The next deadline for application for HEH Preservation Assistance Grants is May 1. First-time applicants are encouraged to contact program staff in NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access at 202-606-8570 or preservation@neh.gov to discuss proposed projects and questions about the application process.

Hudson Valley Collaboration Features Warhol Works

Five institutional partners in the Hudson Valley (NY) region will present “Warhol x 5,” a collaborative exhibition project to be held this year between January and November. Participants in the program are three State University of New York (SUNY) campus museums and two private college museums: the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, the University Art Museum at the University at Albany, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

The works featured in each exhibition have been donated by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and by the museums’ respective collections—shared resources that allow each venue to expand on themes related to its own holdings and enjoy the benefits of joint programming and a variety of curriculum opportunities.

Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts!

The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, has launched a new gallery to feature emerging artists. The new Corner Gallery is a dedicated space within the main gallery that features work by professional and emerging quilt artists in a “pop-up” exhibition format. The goal: to create a no-holds-barred opportunity to spotlight the work of modern quilters.

Portraits Unveiled

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery unveiled its commissioned portraits of former President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively. The artworks were revealed as part of the Portrait Gallery’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks as did Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton, National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet and artists Wiley and Sherald.

“For 50 years, the National Portrait Gallery has told the story of America through the people who have impacted this country’s history and culture,” Sajet said. “We are thrilled to present to the nation these remarkable portraits of our 44th president, Barack Obama, and former First Lady, Michelle Obama, painted by two of the country’s most dynamic contemporary artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. As a museum of history and art, we have learned over the past half-century that the best portraiture has the power to bring world leaders into dialogue with everyday Americans. These two paintings fall into that category, and we believe they will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.”

Before President Obama’s departure from office, he and Mrs. Obama selected Wiley and Sherald to paint their likenesses for the Portrait Gallery’s collection. This is the first time that African American artists have been commissioned for the National Portrait Gallery’s official portraits of a President or First Lady.

Wiley’s painting is permanently installed in the Portrait Gallery’s “America’s Presidents” exhibition. Sherald’s painting is on view in the museum’s “Recent Acquisitions” corridor through early November.

January 2018

A Revitalized Museum

The revitalization project undertaken by the Newark Museum (NJ) includes the relocation of the Arts of Global Africa Permanent Collection in a new gallery on the first floor. It preceded the reopening of the museum’s Washington Street entrance after two decades.

The African collection has grown since its first acquisition in 1917 of a Zulu beadwork apron from South Africa. Today the collection ranges from Ethiopian religious icons to gold regalia from Ghana, North African jewelry, South African beadwork, and studio portrait photography, which is presented in thematic sections: visual expression of spiritual beliefs, the relationship between art and leadership, and the human body as artistic canvas and source of inspiration. An introductory section, “What is African Art?,” features a selection of works from across the continent dating from the 12th century B.C. to the 21st century.

New Prize Celebrates Studio Craft

The Museum of Arts and Design (NY) announced the Burk Prize, a new annual award established by craft collectors Marian and Russell Burke, to reinforce the museum’s commitment to the next generation of artists working in the American craft movement. An unrestricted prize of $50,000, the award will go to a professional artist who is an American citizen or permanent resident, living or working within the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. The recipient must be under the age of forty-five, working in glass, fiber, clay, metals, or wood. He or she will be chosen by a jury of art, craft, and design professionals following an open application process.

Reunion of Rockefeller Treasure Trove

Two ten-feet-tall fireplace murals, commissioned in 1938 by Nelson Rockefeller for his Manhattan penthouse, have been reunited and are now on view together at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (TX). One, Untitled (Fireplace Mural, 1939) by Fernand Léger, was acquired by MFAH in 2017. It joined its sister mural, Le Chant by Henri Matisse, 1938, which has been on long-term loan since 2014. Together they “provide an excellent bridge between our collections of modern painting and decorative arts,” says Gary Tinterow, director of the museum.

Joint Acquisition Makes History

The Museum of Modern Art (NY.) and the Neue Galerie (NY) have jointly acquired Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in Her Raised Left Hand (1907). MoMA Curator of Painting and Sculpture said of the acquisition, “This will be the only self-portrait by Paula Modersohn-Becker in the United States, and her only painting in a New York Institution…. It [is] the earliest painting by a woman on view in our collection galleries.”

A pioneering figure of the 20th-century avant-garde (1876-1907), Modersohn-Becker presents a pregnant woman staring out at the viewer. One hand is raised, holding two stylized flowers, the other is positioned over her swelling belly. She is believed to be the first woman to paint herself while pregnant. Shortly after giving birth to a daughter, she died of complications at age 31 in 1907.

Obamas’ Portraits Commissioned

The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (DC) announced that it had commissioned the museum’s official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Artist Kehinde Wiley will create a portrait of President Obama. Amy Sherald was chosen to paint Mrs. Obama. The two portraits will be unveiled at the museum in early 2018 and will be added to the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.

At the end of each presidency, the museum partners with the White House to commission one official portrait of the President and one of his spouse. There are two sets of official portraits: one for the White House and one for the National Portrait Gallery. The museum began to commission Presidents’ portraits with George H.W. Bush.

The museum also announced the acquisition of the earliest known photograph of a U.S. President—an 1843 daguerreotype of President John Quincy Adams. The image was produced by Philip Haas only four years after Louis Daguerre’s invention was revealed to the public. It will be viewable later this year in the updated “America’s Presidents” exhibition.

Coordinated Gifts

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA), announced coordinated promised gifts of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings from two local collectors. The gifts double the museum’s collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings and extend to funding for a new Center for the Study of Netherlandish Art, which is due to launch in 2020. The new center will focus on the study and conservation of the collection, organizing programs and exhibitions, and collaborating with scholars, curators, conservators, and institutions. A library of 20,000 volumes will be kept on-site.

Citation of Merit Presented

Carrie Mae Weems is the 2017 recipient of the Edward Hopper Citation of Merit for Visual Artists, presented by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Council on the Arts in recognition of her artistic contributions to the State. The award includes an exhibition of her series of photographs entitled “Beacon” at the Edward Hoppe House (through Feb. 10), where Hopper was born and lived until 1910. “To be receiving this award in recognition of the great artist Edward Hopper, the whose painted world of dark nights and lonely people were so often home to my imagination and anchor to my own practice, is a tremendous honor,” said Weems.

Since 1971, the mission of the Edward Hopper House has been to preserve it and to encourage community engagement with the arts

Hopper Collection Increases

Until 2013, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (MA) had only one work by Edward Hopper in its collection. At the centennial celebration in 2014, two drawings were gifted to the collection. Recently last year, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum announced the acquisition of 96 drawings by Edward Hopper, 69 drawings and watercolors by his wife Josephine Hopper, and 22 diaries dating from 1933-1956 chronicling the Hoppers’ lives on Cape Cod and beyond.

The Hoppers arrived on Cape Cod in 1930, and they spent almost forty years in their classic Cape house with a large window overlooking Fisher Beach. Until his death in 1967, the Cape is where he would go to paint what were to become some of his most famous works.

New Digs for Studio Museum

A design for an 82,000-square-foot building, a $175 million capital campaign, and a 50th anniversary are all in place in anticipation of a fall 2018 groundbreaking for the Studio Museum in Harlem’s new building, designed by Adjaye Associates and Cooper Robertson. The $175 million is projected to meet hard and soft construction costs, provide an operating and capital reserve, and build an endowment. Education and community programs celebrating the 50th anniversary will ensure that the museum maintains a vital presence in Harlem during the construction.

Unnoticed Rodin Bust, Noticed

Madison, NJ: A lost bust of Napoleon stood unnoticed for some 85 years in the corner of a dusty office of the Morris County borough hall in the city of Madison. Experts had lost track of the 1908 sculpture since the 1930s when it was donated to the borough hall by philanthropist Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge without identification as a piece by Rodin. Two years ago, after suspicion turned to curiosity and then investigation, it was finally authenticated by a Rodin expert who traveled from France to legitimize the discovery. “There you are,” he exclaimed when he came upon the likeness. “Where have you been?”

The Mayor of Madison mused, “I’ve held meetings in that room for six years. People basically leaned on it—like it was their aunt’s old furniture. Later we realized, ‘Oh my God, this is a Rodin!’ We didn’t realize how valuable it was.”

How valuable? The white marble bust has been valued at between $4 to $12 million. It will make a temporary appearance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art before it is returned to its old home in Madison, NJ.

Museum Plans Arts Plaza

The Freeport Art Museum (IL) announced the receipt of a major gift of $250,000 in support of the development of a downtown arts-centered civic plaza. Earlier in the year, the museum also received a highly competitive $100,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which also supports the Arts Plaza.

The space in downtown Freeport, currently owned by the museum, will be designed to host community events, concerts, art fairs, and other outdoor festivals. The hoped-for effect: to support the city’s strategic plan to make it a destination city by enhancing civic spaces in the downtown district. Says the City Manager, “The Arts Plaza will provide a key element in helping to add distinction to the downtown and will promote Freeport as a walkable, vibrant community.”

It’s All Over in Miami, But….

At this year's Art Basel in Miami Beach: 20 new galleries participated, 10 of them graduating to the Galleries sector; Philipp Kaiser debuted as the public-sector curator; and both exhibitors and over 82,000 guests enjoyed wider aisles, roomier booths, and enhanced lounging areas. Eleven large-scale works were included in the public sector with a live performance by the Dred D’warf band. Other popular features were a program of 15 films and videos with a special screening of Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Year of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and conversations with artists and a museum director. Journalists from across the world attended.

Next on the Art Basel list is Art Basel Hong Kong (March 29-31), featuring 248 galleries from 32 countries and territories. On display: both historical material and cutting-edge works by both established and emerging artists.

Following Hong Kong comes Art Basel (June 14-17), continuing the tradition of bringing the international art world to Messe Basel in the capital of Switzerland. The work of more than 4,000 artists will be on view with a full program of talks, exhibitions around the city, and events offered by Basel as well as surrounding cultural institutions.

Then, back to Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 6-9) with galleries from around the world showing modern and contemporary art, large-scale artworks, films, and performances.

Hugo Boss Prize Finalists Declared

Six finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize 2018, the biennial award established in 1996 to recognize excellence in the visual arts, were announced today by Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman, Chief Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and jury chair for the prize. The shortlist of artists is selected by a panel of international critics and curators based on each artist’s contribution to the expansion of cultural, intellectual, and artistic boundaries. There are no restrictions on contestants regarding age, gender, nationality, or the medium they use. In addition to their significant aesthetic and conceptual contributions to the field of contemporary art, the finalists’ practices collectively reflect the rich diversity of artistic production today.

The following comprise the shortlist for the 2018 prize:

Bouchra Khalili (b. 1975, Casablanca)
Simone Leigh (b. 1967, Chicago)
Teresa Margolles (b. 1963, Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico)
Emeka Ogboh (b. 1977, Enugu, Nigeria)
Frances Stark (b. 1967, Newport Beach, CA)
Wu Tsang (b. 1982, Worcester, MA)
These six artists say Nancy Spector, “are working at the vanguard of contemporary art practice, exploring urgent social issues, and providing new artistic vocabulary through which to examine personal and universal themes.” The jury noted, “Each of the nominated artists selected for the Hugo Boss Prize 2018 shortlist represents a wholly unique voice in the field of contemporary art. Though their mediums and methods range widely, each pursues deeply existential inquiries into individual struggles as well as those with broader social resonances. Keenly attuned to their surroundings and today’s present moment, these six artists have demonstrated a commitment to bringing art to the center of timely debates in society.”

The prize, administered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, includes $100,000 cash and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum (NY). It will be announced in the fall of 2018; the exhibition will follow in 2019.

40-Year-Old Makes an Impact

A smallish museum in Pittsburgh, PA, the Mattress Factory has presented innovative site-specific art to its burgeoning public for 40 years. An international roster of artists has come to participate in this museum’s residency program. Many have been transformed by the experience. The museum itself has been transformed. Asked to study this phenomenon, the Center for Economic Development (CED) at Carnegie Mellon University came up with some answers.

In 2007 a CED economic and community impact study for the Mattress Factory characterized the museum as “a Swiss Army knife of economic development for the area.” An update ten years later came up with similar findings: that the museum has improved property, enhanced the quality of life, attracted workers and cultural tourists, educated youth, and injected spending into local businesses—a case study on the fruitful exchange between a museum and its surrounding community in the throes of transition.

Collaboration Sheds Light on Art/Technology

Arts organizations, 12 in all, throughout Greater Boston, are partnering to present a region-wide exploration of art and technology. The collaboration will offer a range of exhibitions, performances, film screenings, and other programs, all exploring the relationship between art and technology, the Boston area’s history of technical innovation and its overlap with art. Organized in conjunction with the exhibition “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today” (Feb. 7-May 20) at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the project touches on issues of privacy, community, networks, identity, innovations, surveillance, and more; it examines how the internet has radically changed the field of art, especially in its production, distribution, and reception.

Partner organizations include Berklee College of Music, Boston Cyberarts, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, De Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Film Archive, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, and Tufts University Art Galleries.

Diversifying the Profession

The Newark Museum (NJ) was the latest institution selected by the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation to take part in an initiative aimed at diversifying the art museum profession. Through their Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, the Ford and Walton Family Foundations have each committed $3 million over three years to support creative solutions to diversify curatorial and management staff at 20 art museums across the country.

As part of this initiative, the Newark Museum will offer a three-year program for six undergraduate students from nearby colleges who represent populations that are not traditionally part of museum leadership. Other participating museums have received funding for their diversification programs; they include the Andy Warhol Museum (PA), the Art Institute of Chicago (IL), the New Orleans Museum of Art (LA), the Oakland Museum of California, the Phoenix Art Museum (AZ), the St. Louis Art Museum (MO), the Studio Museum in Harlem (NY).

The initiative specifically supports such strategies as hiring professionals from under-represented populations and offering fellowships, mentorships, and other career development options. Funded initiatives will affect curatorial and programmatic decision-making as well as managerial choices in the museums, and will lead to long-term benefits not only for the museums but also in the field as a whole.

"The arts play an essential role in our society by inspiring people of all ages to dream and to imagine new possibilities for themselves, their communities, and the world. To ensure the future health and vibrancy of the arts in America, we need more arts leaders who understand and relate to the deeply varied perspectives and life experiences that weave the rich fabric of our nation,” said President of the Ford Foundation Darren Walker.

Five Collaborating Museums and Andy Warhol

A five-institutional partnership announced “Warhol x 5,” a collaborative exhibition project to be held among three State University of New York campus museums and two private college museums in New York’s Hudson Valley region. The five museums are the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, the University Art Museum at the University at Albany, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

“Warhol x 5” is a presentation of five overlapping exhibitions that will be on view between January and November 2018. Each museum will explore a different aspect or theme of Warhol’s work, which will come from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and from the shared resources of all the participating institutions. Joint programs and curriculum opportunities will also be a feature of the program.

The five exhibitions are:

“People are Beautiful: Prints, Photographs, and Film by Andy Warhol” (April 15) Loeb Art Center. Portraits.

“Marking Time: Andy Warhol’s Vision of Celebrations, Commemorations, and Anniversaries” (Feb. 10-July 15) Dorsky Museum of Art.

“Warhol: Unidentified” (April 8-May 27) Bard Center. Polaroid headshots and candid photographs of the general public.

“Younger Than Today: Photographs of Children (and sometimes their mothers) by Andy Warhol” (June 29-Sept. 15) SUNY Albany. Polaroids and candids.

"Andy Warhol: Subject and Seriality” (July 22-Nov. 18) Neuberger Museum. Serial images of the same subject, concurrent and across time.

October 2017

Cultural Campus Created

The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced that it would unite the diverse elements of its 152-acre campus—the IMA, the Garden, Lilly House, performance spaces, and the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, 100 acres—into a holistic cultural campus called Newfields,

Newfields, a Place for Nature and the Arts, will serve as a community destination offering experiences in both art and nature. The IMA, The Garden, Lilly House. and Fairbanks Park will continue to exist as key attractions at Newfields, which debuted with a new website in early October.

“Our diverse landscape is unlike any other in the Midwest, and now is the time that we fully embrace all that we have to offer the community as a one-of-a-kind institution,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO. “We have an exceptional art collection and extensive galleries surrounded by a historic estate—a National Historic Landmark featuring grand architecture, a working greenhouse and orchard; beautiful gardens that host exhibitions and outdoor festivals; performance spaces that welcome guests for film screenings and concerts; and a Park with meadows for outdoor concerts, a 35-acre lake, hiking trails and sculptures by contemporary artists from around the world. In addition, the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Ind.—one of the nation’s most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist residences—extends our campus outside of Indianapolis.

“America’s Presidents” Reopens

It took 18 months of planning and extensive renovations to enable the National Portrait Gallery (D.C.) to reopen its “must-see exhibition, “American Presidents,” in September of this year. The display is the only place outside the White House where visitors can view a complete collection of presidential portraits.

Bilingual and accessible, the new presentation is grouped into six historical chapters: the first five lead off with a presidential figure: Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt; the sixth examines the more recent history of the presidency. Updated content provides the means to understand better events that coincided with the President’s time in office.

The transformation of the gallery itself includes LED lighting that adjusts to ambient light, interactive kiosks, period style architectural window treatments, and new carpeting. In addition, an enhanced website was launched that brings the museum’s scholarship to a national and international audience; an online exhibition reflects the content of the gallery.

1918 will bring the golden anniversary of the inaugural “American Presidents” exhibition, celebrated with an illustrated volume tracing the history of the U.S. presidency from Washington to the present day. In addition, a cellphone app will enable visitors to access bilingual biographical descriptions via text or audio.

School of Art is Born

It happened in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in August. The University of Arkansas officially established the state’s first School of Art. A gift of $120 million from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation made it possible. The foundation was established by the family of the late Walmart founder, Sam Walton, to support charities in Arkansas.

The new School of Art, focusing on the study of American art, grew out of the art department of the university’s J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, which currently has 8,000 students (out of a total enrollment of 27,000 students). It will continue to offer the same undergraduate programs as the former department, including art history, arts education, ceramics, photography and painting while adding new graduate degrees, such as a master of fine arts in graphic design and doctorate programs in art history and arts education, to be developed over a five-year period. In addition to the new degree programs, the gift will provide scholarships, travel grants, and internship opportunities to students.

The gift will also support arts outreach across the state by means of collaborations with local organizations including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, which was founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton. “This gift will be transformative for our region and the field of American art and we look forward to collaborating with the University of Arkansas to create the most impact,” Margi Conrads, the museum’s director of curatorial affairs and strategic art initiatives, tells The Art Newspaper.

Hopper House Receives Gift

The Edward Hopper House (NY) announced the imminent receipt of more than 1,000 artifacts and memorabilia of Edward Hopper’s family, his early years, and a library of books, articles, papers, and documents. The massive gift comes from the Arthayer R. Sanborn Hopper Collection Trust. In this newly formed partnership, the rarely seen collection is to be known as the Sanborn-Hopper Family Archive. The collection includes original letters, drawings from his school years, the “TC” (Three Commodores) notebooks, his first art tools from his first attic studio, photographs, original newspaper articles, and more.

Expansion in Newark

A grant from the Henry Luce Foundation has launched a major project at the Newark Museum (NJ) to expand and reinterpret its permanent galleries of American art. The grant has also made possible the appointment of William L. Coleman as Associate Curator of American to help develop the project, a transformational next step for the museum.

The two-year project will focus on Modern and Contemporary American art as well as historical and contemporary Native American collection and will support the American art installations in the museum’s newly renamed “Seeing America” galleries. Physical renovations will include improved sightlines and expanded wall space in reconceived galleries that will house works from the Native American collection and a selection of African American, Latin American, and European American art. An artist in residence will be another feature of the enhanced museum as well as two catalogs, planned for publication with the reopening of the new galleries in February 2019.

D.C. Joins Rescue Efforts in TX and LA

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is awarding up to $1 million in emergency grants to preserve humanities collections at libraries, museums, colleges, universities, and other cultural and historical institutions in the areas of Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Harvey. Acting Chairman Jon Parrish Peede announced that “NEH has designated these funds to support the people in Texas and Louisiana in their efforts to protect the historical materials that document their invaluable contributions to American culture. We are proud to partner with Humanities Texas and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and their dedicated staffs in a coordinated federal-state response.”

NEH provided approximately $250,000 in initial funding to the two-state humanities councils to be re-granted according to their assessments of local needs. The Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force also will receive NEH funding to conduct outreach and assess the damage.

“We at Humanities Texas deeply appreciate NEH’s strong support of our state’s educational and cultural institutions that have been devastated by the hurricane. We will work with the affected communities to ensure that NEH’s funding goes as far as possible,” said Michael Gillette, executive director of Humanities, Texas.

In addition, cultural institutions in FEMA-designated disaster areas were able to apply directly to NEH for streamlined emergency grants of up to $30,000, beginning on September 8, through the agency’s website, www.neh.gov. This special Chairman’s Grant opportunity will be open until December 31, 2017.

All current NEH grantees impacted by Hurricane Harvey may apply to change the scope of their grants to repurpose the agency’s funding to focus on critical needs. These grantees should contact the appropriate NEH division for further instructions.

Forever Stamps Mark Andrew Wyeth’s 100th Birthday

Twelve Forever stamps highlight Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, thus commemorating his 100th birthday. A dedication took place in his home town of Chadds Ford, PA, at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. In keeping with the policy of its stamp program, to celebrate the best of American life, history, and culture, the Postal Service circulates these miniature images that feature details of different Wyeth paintings: Wind from the Sea (1947), Big Room (1988), Christina’s World (1948), Alvaro and Christina (1968), Frostbitten (1962), Sailor’s Valentine (1985), Soaring (1942-1950), North Light (1984), Spring Fed (1967), The Carry (2003), Young Bull (1960), and My Studio (1974). The selvage shows a photograph of Wyeth from the 1930s.

New Outdoor Art Space Opened in Portland

The Portland Museum of Art (ME) opened the David E. Shaw and Family Sculpture Park to the public during the past summer. Located along the High Street in the Joan B. Burns Garden, the new park provides visitors a new perspective of the Arts District, the city of Portland, and the museum. The aims of the museum—creating a park as a place that makes art available to everyone, including the disabled, free of charge, as a community meeting ground, and as an outdoor gallery—have been met.

Director of the museum Mark Bessire says of the addition: “The PMA that inspires me is one that welcomes people of all backgrounds, connects the relevancy of art to our everyday lives, and serves our communities as a center for conversation….”

Museum Visits Top Half a Million

Museums for All, an initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), has facilitated more than 514,000 museum visits by low-income community members since its inception in in 2014. There are 190 museums participating in the initiative to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit and reap the many awards of regular trips to their museums. Individual admission fees range from free-$3.00 to individuals and families presenting an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and a valid photo ID.

A wide range of institutions now participates in Museums for All: art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more. They represent 37 states nationwide and the District of Columbia; California and Illinois have the greatest number of museums that are active in the program.

Campbell Speaks

At the end of a long Art Newspaper interview of Thomas Campbell after his resignation as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) Thomas Campbell was asked a final question:

Q: Its always been a “he” that runs the Met so far, but do you think it is ready for a female director as to your successor?

A: I can’t opine on that. It’s something for the search committee. I would say that across the country there is a big demographic shift going on. In the AAMD (Association of Art Museum Directors), there are a great many women directors, more than there were 20 years ago. There are some very capable individuals out there and, internally, something like 70% of our staff are women and many of my senior executive staff are women. So, I think our search committee has a very strong field, both male and female, to work with.

African Art and Google

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (DC) joins more than 180 museums, cultural centers, and fashion houses around the world to bring 3,000 years of the world’s fashion together in the largest-ever virtual exhibition of style. The “We Wear Culture” project, launched in June, is organizes and hosted by Google Arts & Culture and uses state-of-the-art technology to allow visitors to explore everything from the ancient Silk Road and courtly fashions of Versailles to British punk and the stories behind the clothes people wear today. The National Museum of African Art is telling immersive stories based on artifacts from its “Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa Project” that will reach new audiences through this global collaboration at g.co/wewearculture.

Menil Adds Fifth Building to Campus

A 30,000-square-foot, $40 million Menil Drawing Institute (TX) is the fifth art building on the Menil 30-acre campus. The new building began its inaugural year on October 7. As a preamble to the opening, the Menil Collection presented “The Beginning of Everything: Drawings from the Janie C. Lee, Louisa Stude Sarofim, and David Whitney Collections in the main building. And in the new facility, a variety of inaugural year exhibitions and activities will take place including the exhibition “The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns” with works drawn from the same gifts and bequests. In addition, another exhibition, “Think of Them as Spaces: Brice Barden’s Drawings,” will help to introduce the new galleries.

New Museum Opens in Illinois

Evanston, Illinois, is home to a new museum. The Hamil Time & Glass Museum opened in September with two collections: rare and historic timepieces from every corner of the world, and stained-glass windows and glass art pieces including and highlighting American masters of the turn of the 20th century—John La Farge, Mary Taillights, and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The museum, built with open vertical spaces to accommodate large stained-glass windows and timepieces, tells the story of the impact that time and glass have had on world culture. Exhibits explore the history of time, the art of creating beautiful timepieces, and the science and mechanics of inventing clocks and other timepieces to tell time accurately.

A few interesting facts about timepieces:

The pendulum was invented in 1656 by Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch mathematician and scientist and is based on Galileo’s theories.

The second hand appeared on dials in the 1500s in German clocks but they were inaccurate, often by hours a day. These clocks would have to be reset every morning according to sundials.

Second hands became commonplace in 1675 and, with the added precision of the pendulum, became much more precise.

More interesting facts about stained glass:

19th-century artists created colors and textures that had never existed in the glass.

Their stained-glass windows and other art pieces won competitions in Europe, reigniting a passion in stained glass hat had not been seen since the 14th century.

Glass is made from melting sand at about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Oklahoma Museum Gifts Teachers

Following last November’s election and the defeat of a state question that would have legislated a much-needed raise, the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa supported Oklahoma public school teachers by offering them free, annual museum memberships. To date, 1046 teachers from 80 public-school districts across the state—more than 10 percent from outside the Tulsa Metro area—have joined the program.

The non-partisan, non-profit Oklahoma Policy Institute reported that, of the 50 states, Oklahoma’s 2015-16 average classroom teacher salary ranked 48th, ahead of only South Dakota and Mississippi. Average salaries decreased from the previous year by more than $7,500, after accounting for inflation.

“I am grateful,” commented one recipient. The free membership both “supports the arts and connects my students to artistic experiences.” “Thankful,” wrote another whose husband is also a teacher. “It would otherwise be a ‘luxury’ not in our family budget.” “Thank you so much for celebrating teachers,” said another.

This small effort for teachers perfectly aligns with our commitment to lifelong learning, community engagement, and providing access to all,” said Philbrook Director Scott Stulen.

July 2017

News from New Jersey

Together with the renewal efforts taking place around the city of Newark, the Newark Museum (NJ) is undertaking a $5 million project to improve and update its facilities. Exterior enhancements will include new double glass doors to serve as the main entrance, a public terrace to be used for programs and events, and a new ramp to make the building fully accessible. Inside, the new main entrance will result in a transformation of the existing space—updated visitor’s amenities, a spotlight on the Arts of Global Africa collection, a new 5,000-square-foot exhibition space, and a new lift to accommodate all visitors.

The museum is open to the public throughout construction.

Adding to its physical renewal, the Newark Museum received a $750,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to expand and reinterpret its permanent galleries of American art and to document the collections through two new publications. The two-year grant will support the renamed and fully renovated “Seeing America” galleries in which African-American, Latin American, and European-American art will be showcased.

100 Years

On November 25, 1917, the New Mexico Museum of Art officially opened its doors to the public. A crowd of 1,200 gathered to celebrate the opening of the state’s first art museum. “The art museum shall uplift us to the level of our own better natures and make us worthy of the heritage which the mighty past has left us,” said the opening speaker.

This year, 100 years later, the New Mexico Museum of Art—after a two-month closure for restoration and the installation of new exhibitions—will host a series of 100 programs, events, and celebrations honoring its past and looking ahead to its future. November 25 will be the kick-off day when guests can participate in a day-long celebration of the following year-long birthday events.

Nature’s Museum

A 5 1/2-acre wooded area around the Kreeger Museum’s (DC) Sculpture Garden opened to the public in May. It expands the exhibition space for contemporary sculpture while offering visitors the opportunity to explore the relationship between art and the natural world.

Arctic Landscape Is Brought to Life

With tourism increasing in Alaska, the Anchorage Museum (AL) has introduced a new Land Marks series using technology to expose its visitors, few of whom have ever seen the miracles of this part of the world, to remote Arctic landscapes. The series was launched in May with “Terra,” a wall installation showing digital and moving images of Arctic landscapes and wildlife.

Excitement among the museum’s professionals derives from the accessibility of the off-the-shelf technology used to deliver content. Nearly 1,200 Nanoleaf Aurora panels—triangular, color-changing, LED light panels—comprise the installation. These panels are available at retail outlets or online. Users control the light through their mobile devices or by verbal commands. Most often, units are used as decorative or lighting elements in homes or businesses. Here, the Anchorage Museum is exhibiting the largest installation of Nanoleaf Aurora panels to date, and the first to integrate film and digital images. The museum’s design team fabricated 28 sheet metal panels to hold the 1,188 triangular lights used in the installation, which is almost 58 feet wide and nearly 6 ½ feet high. Nanoleaf Canada Limited is based in Toronto.

An additional attraction at the Anchorage at Rasmuson Center is the new wing to the museum, which makes its debut in September. It adds 25,000 square feet for the collection of Northern art, new Discovery Center space, and an informal gallery and event space.

A Little Havana Emerges in Miami

El Museum de Little Havana (FL) is, as of May this year, a permanent museum on Calle Ocho in Miami. It features the history of the neighborhood, home to many Cuban exiles and immigrants from Central and South America, and showcases the social, cultural, and political import of the area in South Florida. The announcement was made at the site by the partners who effectively brought it about: the Barlington Group and the HistoryMiami Museum.

In the first half of the 20th century, before it became the quarter it is today, homesteading farmers, a Jewish population, and pockets of post-WWII ethnic groups called the neighborhood home. The late 1950s and after saw an influx of Cubans; it was at that time that it became known as Little Havana.

The resources of the HistoryMiami Museum are evident in the inaugural exhibition of El Museum de Little Havana: photographs and artifacts tell the story of the history of the three-square-mile neighborhood.

Big $$ for Fellows

The Meadows Museum (TX) at Southern Methodist University in Dallas announced that it has received a new grant of $80,000 ($40,000 for each of two years) from the Center for Spain in America to fund two more years of the museum’s pre-doctoral Meadows/Prado Curatorial Fellowship. These fellowships provide a scholarly, professional, and international experience, offering its participants the opportunity to research Spanish art at both museums. One appointment is made by each institution annually. In 2014, with Mellon Foundation support, the program was expanded to include a post-doctoral fellowship.

“The Meadows Museum takes great pride in training the next generation of curators, art historians, conservators, and museum professionals,” said Director Mark Roglán.

Conserving Computer-Based Art

A research and treatment initiative to preserve software and computer-based artwork was undertaken in 2016 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. It began with the restoration of Shu Lea Cheang’s web work Brandon (1998-99). Begun and completed: all pages are now accessible, text and image animations are displayed properly, internal and external links are no longer broken. Brandon can once again be accessed at brandon.guggenheim.org.

Glass Sculpture Provides Respite

The Chihuly Sanctuary—the most comprehensive health care environment structure ever created by glass artist Dale Chihuly— was unveiled in mid-May at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Located on the second and fourth floors in the heart of the 10-story cancer center, the Chihuly Sanctuary features ten site-specific art installations designed to provide a place of respite and reflection for patients, families, and staff. It will serve as the cornerstone of the Healing Arts Program with art on display throughout the massive 615,000-square-foot, $323M building on the campus of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine.

Chihuly created a new body of work he calls Glass on Glass—a combination of painting and sculpture that is both two- and three-dimensional, transparent, and opaque. The glass on glass pieces will make their world premiere at the Chihuly Sanctuary. To create these pieces, Chihuly paints with vitreous-glass enamel on glass panels—glass on glass. He then creates overlapping compositions that are encased within a frame. When lit, they come to life as multidimensional paintings in color, light, and glass.

The Art of the Draw

Four Santa Fe (NM) cultural institutions celebrate the “Art of the Draw” during the summer months of 2017. The multi-venue collaboration celebrates drawing as fundamental for creation in the arts and sciences for representational painting, sculpting, engineering, design, and architecture. Four exhibitions/events explore drawing as the root of art.

At the New Mexico Museum of Art: “Lines of Thought: Drawings from Michelangelo to Now: From the British Museum” (Sept. 17) Works that span more than six centuries.

At the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: “A Great American Artist, A Great American Story” (Oct. 31) Drawings presented in conjunction with finished paintings, show how O’Keeffe worked out ideas before picking up her paintbrush.

At the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Museum of Contemporary Native Arts: “Action Abstraction Redefined” (Dec. 31, 2018) Objects and drawings created in the 1960s and 70s .

At the Santa Fe Desert Chorale Summer Festival: For the program entitled “Liberté: Music of Resistance and Revolution,” the eighth movement of Francis Poulenc’s Figure Humaine, a score dedicated to Pablo Picasso.

DuPont Corporation Gifts Delaware Museums

DuPont has announced that it will make a substantial donation of significant works of art from the DuPont collection and the Hotel du Pont to the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Delaware Art Museum, and the Hagley Museum & Library. The gift includes works by three generations of the Wyeth family, Frank Schoonover, and Edward Loper, among others.

Polk Museum of Art Goes Academic

After more than a year in planning, the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida, became central Florida’s only community academic art museum on June 1, when a new affiliation was launched between the museum and Florida Southern College. The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, home to the world’s largest collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, brings a host of benefits not only to the college, but also to the local community, the state of Florida, and visitors to the region.

Thanks to generous donors, the museum will maintain its free admission policy, and will host art exhibitions and expand its role as a venue for community events. It will retain its own non-profit status and strive to draw visitors to the Lakeland area from throughout the United States.

A new chapter for the college and the museum began with a major exhibition of works from the Dutch Golden Age. “Rembrandt’s Academy: Old Master Paintings from Private Dutch Collections,” organized by the Hoogsteder Museum Foundation, The Netherlands, will be on view through September 24. Another exhibition on the horizon will feature paintings of American figurative art, a selection from a recent gift donated by alumnus J. William Meek III. Meek’s collection and the coming exhibition focuses on figurative works that illustrate the human form. In addition, the same exhibition will include Meek’s other gift of artworks from the estates of major American artists.

Adirondack Museum Redefined

No longer bearing its former handle, the Adirondack Museum (NY) has opened as the Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. The new branding and updates serve to better represent the institution to the next generation of visitors, while maintaining its collection and its same kaleidoscopic range of programs and activities.

“Consumer research indicates that the travelers and tourists of today have different expectations of cultural attractions. They want rich interactive experiences that immerse them in their environment and create instantly shareable and long-lasting memories,” explained Executive Director David Kahn. “To compete with new destinations in the Adirondack region and around the Northeast, we need to ensure our identity reflects what we truly are: a 121-acre indoor-and-outdoor experience. We provide a fun, active, and educational way for visitors to immerse themselves into the reality of life, work, and recreation in the Adirondacks.

“We remain steadfast in our mission to expand public understanding of Adirondack history and the relationship between people and the Adirondack wilderness.”

Museum Mile, New York Style

Celebrating its 39th year, New York’s Museum Mile took over Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 105th Street, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on a balmy night in June. Since its inception 39 years ago, more than 1.5 million people have taken part, visiting along the way seven of the city’s premier cultural institutions, which are open free to the public for the duration of the evening. The opening ceremony took place at El Museo del Barrio, the farthest north of the participating museums, which also include the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Neue Galerie New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum; the Jewish Museum; the Museum of the City of New York.

Special exhibitions and works from permanent collections were on view inside the museums’ galleries and live music from jazz to Broadway tunes to string quartets regaled the crowds in the street.

At the Museo del Barrio: “Belkis Ayón: NKAME”—a retrospective of this Cuban artist who mined the founding myth of the Afro-Cuban fraternal society Abakuá to create his visual iconography. Also, in partnership with the Wallach Art Gallery, El Museo presented “UPTOWN: nasty women/bad hombres,” which featured the work of artists engaged with sexism, racism, homophobia, the power of the media, and violence.

At the Museum of the City of New York: “Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York”—an exploration of how immigrant and migrant communities in the city developed salsa into a global phenomenon.

At the Jewish Museum: “Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry”—paintings, drawings, costume and theater designs, photographs, and ephemera.

At the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum: “The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s”—interior and industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion, architecture, music, and film.

At the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: “Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim”—works by Picasso, Kandinsky, Pollock, Mondrian, and Brancusi.

At the Neue Galerie New York: “Austrian Masterworks from the Neue Galerie New York”—Klimt, Kokoschka, Kubin, and Schiele.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Rei Kawakubo/Come des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”—womenswear from 1981 to the present.

DNA Evidence in Long Island

The Innocents, a 2002 series of photographs by Taryn Simon is on display at the Guild Hall Art Center (NY) in East Hampton through July. The exhibit marks the 25th anniversary of the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that aims to use DNA evidence to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.

The display shows innocent people who had served time for crimes they did not commit at the site of their alleged criminal act, or at the site where they were incorrectly identified.

“This entire exhibit is about misleading visual evidence,” said Andrea Grover, executive director of the Hall. She goes on to opine that in “an indirect way” the series relates to the idea of fake news and the intensifying of ideological bias in the media. “This series encourages one to look at photography in a much deeper way—not to look at it as factual, as some absolute truth.”

About the series, Simon writes: “Photography’s ability to blur truth and fiction is one of its most compelling qualities. But when misused as part of a prosecutor’s arsenal, this ambiguity can have severe, even lethal consequences. Photography can turn fiction into fact…its ambiguity, beautiful in one context, can be devastating in another.”

The Logic of Time on Display

Themed displays are on a downward trajectory; chronological displays have come back. When the new Villa Getty (CA) reopens in 2018, after nine years of renovation and expansion, galleries will have been rehung based on the chronological output of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans. Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum Timothy Potts: Themed galleries are “fine as a social history of art, [but chronology] is the only way you can understand the direction of stylistic change.”

It’s a mini-trend: The National Gallery of Art (D.C.) reopened its East Building last September with an historical narrative of Modern art. The Museum of Modern Art (NY) recently closed its nine-gallery, year-by-year presentation of works from the 1960s.

Curator at the Villa Jeffrey Spier explains: The rehang will be “a more intellectually coherent” presentation with a clear sense of stylistic development over time.

April 2017

Houston Welcomes New Museum

Rice University (TX) announced the opening of its new, internationally focused arts institution. The Moody Center for the Arts was conceived as a platform for creating collaborative works and for presenting innovative transdisciplinary experiences to the public as well as the university community. The center, a 50,000-square-foot, $30 million building, opened in late February with the mayor of Houston, civic officials, leaders of other cultural institutions, donors, artists, students, and the public in attendance. The occasion was the setting for gala parties, panel discussions, and the world premiere of a Vespertine Awakening, a commissioned dance work, and a late-night student party.

Small Liberal Arts College Receives Large Gift

The Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, three hours north of Boston, was the recipient of a gift of 1,500 works of art ranging from Van Gogh to Weiwei. Peter and Paula Lunder, collectors with strong ties to Maine and the college are the donors whose generosity to the college included a previous gift in 2013 of hundreds of works to open a $15 million space designed to house their collection. The new donation, which includes money to endow a new study institute, is valued at more than $100 million.

The Lunder Institute for American Art will host on-campus residencies for scholars, artists, and graduate students, and develop exhibitions and conferences centered around the museum’s collection.

“It’s game changing, says Colby President David A. Greene. “You may get this at a major university, but this is the kind of thing that is just never done at a liberal arts college.”

Maine Museum, Reimagined, Reopens

After a month-long closure for renovations, the Portland Museum of Art reopened as a reinstalled, re-envisioned museum. For the inaugural spectacle, a massive 130-foot-wide cinematic production, Lights Across Congress, was screened onto the façade of the museum, at the end of which the museum doors were open to the gathered visitors. More than 20 community organizations, businesses, and supporters as well as ice sculptors, food trucks, and the Friends of Congress Square Park took part in the festivities.

First and Only—Writers Featured

A grand opening took place on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago in the spring of this year—the American Writers Museum, the first and only museum of its kind in America, celebrates American writers by exploring their influence on the country’s history, its identity, its culture, and its people.

The interactive, high-tech museum will showcase the personal stories and literary works of diverse American writers, from Mark Twain to Dr. Seuss. Themed galleries, changing exhibits, educational programing, and special events will crowd the calendar. Visitors will come face to face with great writers in the Writers Hall, accompany roving writers such as Kerouac and Steinbeck on their travels, visit writers’ homes and fictional sites in Nation of Writers. Exhibits will de-mystify famed writers’ lives and methods. Readers Hall will host films, talks, readings, and presentations to schools and other groups.

Re-Visioned: A Philip Johnson Work

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Kreeger Museum (DC), designed by Philip Johnson in 1964, finished in 1967. Two prominent Washington architects took on the task of conceiving and curating a special exhibition celebrating the occasion.

“ Our vision for this anniversary exhibition goes beyond the expected historic sketches, photographs of construction, and archival correspondence between Mr. Johnson and his client. Instead we have asked artists to create entirely new artistic material based on the inspired design of the building. We want the public to see the museum in new and fresh ways; through the eyes of some of the region’s most prominent art photographers. Each artist creates images that will engage the public and challenge them to look at Philip Johnson’s work from the artist’s unique point of view. In that way, the building itself transforms from being the subject of the exhibition to becoming the inspiration.” –Hickok Cole Architects Michael E. Hickok and Yolanda Cole

Storm Wreaks Havoc

Early in January, high winds hit the Albany, Georgia, area, leaving devastation in its wake. The Albany Museum of Art sustained severe damage that resulted in its closing: sections of the roof were torn off allowing rain into offices, galleries, and vaults. Several inches of water on the second and first floors caused the outage of power and humidity control.

Due to immediate action by Director Paula Williams, reaching out to staff, board members, insurance companies, lenders, volunteers, and professionals in the field, a task force was formed to help in the recovery. Conservationists assessed damage, while unharmed objects were transported to off-site fine-arts storage facilities. The extent of the damage and the time and cost to repair them are still not known.

Houston (TX) Gets New Gallery

Houston’s new international arts center, the Moody Center for the Arts, opened on the campus of Rice University on February 24, 2017. A noncollecting institution, it was built for collaborative works of all kinds and for presenting transdisciplinary experiences. It opened with five art exhibitions, a world-premiere dance performance, and four days of events celebrating the center’s presence on the campus as well as in the community.

Designed by Michael Maltzan, the Moody contains an art gallery; a gallery for experimental artwork; a multi-media gallery for video and installation art; a studio theater seating 150 people; a Maker space—wood shop, metal shop, paint shop, and prototyping area; studio classrooms; a tech-issue library; audio visual editing booths; offices; and a café.

“Art-Less” Day Protests Ban"

In its wisdom, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College (MA), marked Presidents’ Day this year with its response to President Trump’s executive order to ban citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. The response, “Art-Less,” highlighted the contributions of immigrants by de-installing or shrouding works on view from the permanent collection that were either made by artists who were immigrants, or given to the institution by immigrant collectors. Easily removable objects such as paintings were de-installed, while other pieces such as objects in display cases, were shrouded with black fabric. Both actions demonstrated what has been gained from the contribution of immigrants. Some 120 objects, or about one-fifth of the works on display were affected.

Director Lisa Fischman: “We’ll see pockets of absence all over the museum. The African art section is almost entirely lost to view.” (Around 80 percent of the works were donated by a family who came to the U.S. from Poland after WWII.)

The Davis encourages other institutions to take a similar approach. For the entire Art-Less week, objects removed or covered are labeled “made by an immigrant” or “given by an immigrant.” The graphic design of the labels are available on the Davis website for other museums to use. “I don’t see why we wouldn’t respond [to the ban], said Fischman. “I wouldn’t expect art to influence policy, but I would expect the encounter of art to transform lives.”

$1B Museum to Rise in LA

Star Wars creator George Lucas announced plans to build a museum, the Lucas Museum, in Los Angeles to house his collection of artworks—some 10,000 paintings and illustrations—and memorabilia in Exposition Park, nestled between the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The final decision came after plans to establish his museum in Chicago faltered due to a two-year legal fight with conservationists. In addition, the choice of Los Angeles came after almost ten years and a competition with San Francisco, which finally offered Treasure Island as the museum venue.

The promised location in Exposition Park, said members of the board, “best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community.” The focus will be on narrative art, but at present, directors are focusing on “building what we believe will be one of the most imaginative and inclusive art museums in the world.”

Noted: Openings and Acquisitions

* Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, previously known as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, will open a new 12,700-square-foot, $5-million space in the city’s Arts District, transforming a classic mid-century warehouse into a state-of-the-art museum. In addition to galleries, an education annex, indoor/outdoor café, and garden, the museum will also feature an experimental kitchen café.

* Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami is due to move to its new 37,000-square-foot home in the city’s Design District.

* A private equity tycoon plans to open a private museum in New York City’s Chelsea district. It will show modern and contemporary art.

* The Marciano Art Foundation is due to launch an exhibition space in Los Angeles in a former Masonic Temple.

* The Bass Museum (Miami Beach, FL), refurbished, is scheduled for a spring 2017 reopening. The museum has been closed since May 2015. Fifty percent more space has been added.

* The Getty Museum in Los Angeles paid a record $30,000 million at auction for Orazio Gentileschi’s Danaë, a rendering of Zeus stealing into the bedroom of a princess. It joins another of the museum’s collection of Gentileschi’s work from the three-part series, Lot and His Daughters.

* The Philadelphia Museum of Art was the recipient of a bequest including more than 50 works of art by Cy Twombly, Philip Guston, Agnes Martin, and Edward Hopper. Also included in the bequest is a $10 million endowment to support contemporary art programs.

* The Museum of Modern Art (NY) recently received a gift of 102 modern works by Brazilian, Venezuelan, Argentinian, and Uruguayan artists from the Phelps de and Gustavo Cisnero, thus reinforcing it positions as a prominent center for the study of Latin American art. In addition, the couple endowed a new research institute at the museum dedicated to Latin American art.

* Real estate investor James Goldstein has promised to donate his estate and its contents to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as a $17 million endowment upon his demise. His Modernist home near Beverly Hills is the first work of architecture to enter the museum’s collection.

* The Cincinnati Art Museum has acquired the Joel and Bernice Weisman collection of 800 Japanese prints made during the period that spans the 17th to the 20th centuries. An extensive reference library accompanies the collection, which represents a broad spectrum of artists and styles across the ages.

Can You Name Five Women Artists?

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC) launched the second year of its #5WomenArtists social media campaign during March—Women’s History Month. The object: to reach a wide audience to celebrate women artists. Using the hashtag #5WomenArtists, the museum challenges social media users to answer the question, “Can you name five women artists?” “Our goal,” says Director Susan Fisher Sterling, “is to reinforce the numerous conversations we have sparked around the globe about gender parity in the arts.”

Last March, nearly 400 art museums, libraries, and galleries from 20 countries shared their favorite women artists, and more than 11,000 individuals joined in. National Museum of Women in the Arts greatly increased its social media reach, including raising its Instagram followers by 140 percent. Drawing on the enthusiasm generated by the first campaign, more than 150 institutions from 41 states, 16 countries, and five continents have signed on as contributors in 2017 at museumVIEWS publication time.

This year, to enhance the campaign, NMWA is partnering with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo (NY) and Balboa Park in San Diego (CA). Albright-Knox’s annual #ArtMadness competition asks fans to vote for their favorite artworks, highlighting the importance of female artists. With a focus on parks and nature, Balboa Park celebrates women in arts and culture by inviting organizations, artists, and photographers to “takeover” its Instagram account; NMWA posts works from its collection for one day during the week-long takeover.

NMWA works closely with Google Arts & Culture, which highlights works from more than 1,000 museums worldwide. By the end of March, the museum will have added 100 images to the Google platform, which is used in museums and classrooms around the world.

Muslim Center to Enrich Manhattan

Sometime in May, against the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s ongoing attempt to ban immigrants from six mainly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani, a Qatari national based in New York, is due to launch the Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, a cultural space in downtown Manhattan. The institute will host exhibitions traveling from the Arab and Islamic worlds.

“It made absolute sense to build an institute that would not only showcase the breadth of art and culture from the Arab and Islamic worlds, but also challenge certain stereotypes and misconceptions that hinder cross-cultural understanding,” Al-Thani says.

Plans are in place to hold quarterly exhibitions at this non-collecting institute. Other expectations include a residency program, translation facilities, and the production of publications. Although the location has not been announced, the organization declares itself an independent, non-profit center supported by donors and sponsors.

“We exist because of an ever-challenging environment,” says Al-Thani, “and the current political climate in the US will only encourage us to continue our hard work and make sure that through our institute’s program, we will be able to engage the community to learn more about our cultures and differences.”

January 2016

Speed Receives Gift

The Speed Art Museum (KY) has received a gift of 35 contemporary artworks from Los Angeles-based collector Gordon W. Bailey. The gift focuses on works created by African-American artists from the South. All the artists are making their debuts in the museum’s permanent collection.

New Galleries in D.C.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has reimagined its permanent collection: refurbished galleries, featuring recent acquisitions, an expanded presentation of the much loved Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly by James Hampton, traditional pieces such as quilts, and works that reveal a more personal vision.

“The Smithsonian American Art Museum has long recognized folk and self-taught art as integral to the greater story of American art,” said Betsy Broun, museum director. “The museum’s mission to tell the story of America through the art of its people is particularly relevant at a time when museums everywhere are realizing that an expanded narrative of American art is necessary for engaging and satisfying contemporary audiences and accurately portraying the scope of creativity in this country.”

In other news, the Smithsonian American Art Museum reports that it has surpassed its campaign goals for both financial and significant gifts, a combined total of $105 million with more than a year remaining in the campaign. A portion of the funds are earmarked for renovation of the historic building, the addition of an education center in the National Historic Landmark Renwick Gallery, and enhancing the endowments. Most recently the museum was gifted with four multichannel video installations by David Hockney, several works by Bill Traylor and William Edmondson, a Grandma Moses painting, 100 photographs by Irving Penn, a steel sculpture by David Smith, works by Mel Bochner, Louise Bourgeois, Eric Fischl, Richard Prince, Richard Estes, Harriet Frishmuth, Nicholas Nixon, Dale Chihuly, and Roy Lichtenstein.

2016 Hugo Boss Prize Awarded

Announced by Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation (NY), and Mark Langer, chairman and CEO of Hugo Boss AG: Anicka Yi has been awarded the Hugo Boss Prize of 2016. Yi is the 11th artist to receive the biennial prize which was established in 1996 to recognize significant achievement in contemporary art. The winner receives $100,000, and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim in April 2017.

Latin America Art Comes to NYC

The Museum of Modern Art (NY) has received a gift from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, adding more than 100 works of modern art by major artists from Latin America to the collection, and establishing the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America. The institute will offer opportunities for curatorial research and travel, host visiting scholars and artists, convene an annual international conference, and produce research publications on art from Latin America—becoming a preeminent research center in the field.

The Cisneros gift includes 102 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, made between the 1940s and 1990s by 37 artists working in Brazil, Venezuela, and the Rio de la Plata region of Argentina and Uruguay.

Writers Museum Opens

“The first and only museum of its kind in the nation” crows the announcement of the opening in March 2017 of the American Writers Museum on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The museum will showcase the personal stories and literary works of diverse American writers, from Mark Twain to Dr. Seuss, through its themed galleries, interactive exhibits, educational programs, and special events.

Myth Makers in Maryland

Artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein (aka Myth Makers) are the builders of a sapling sculpture, constructed on the grounds of the Academy Art Museum (MD)—a 25-foot high bird sculpture, made from natural materials with the help of scavenging volunteers. The figure is based on the Hooded Merganser, a bird that is common in Maryland; figuratively it represents independence and bravery, referencing favorite Eastern Shore native Frederick Douglass.

Although monumental in scale, the artists’ works are temporary, site specific, and responsive to weather conditions. They last up to a year, appearing, fading, and disappearing. Similar works have been shown in Peru, Switzerland, Canada, China, on Broadway (NY), in Muskegon (MI), New Orleans (LA), and all around New England.

The goal of the museum is to engage the neighboring counties, a wider audience. To that end programs include links to the surrounding flora, history, visual arts, and language arts.

African Art Gallery Redesigned

The reinstallation of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s (OH) permanent collection of African art was unveiled in December 2016. Many of the artifacts are on view for the first time, the new design and layout placing artworks in thematic groupings—a cultural and historical context. Some objects are on view in visible storage drawers.

WWII Drawings at the Morgan

An artist named Philip Pearlstein found his métier while serving in the army: assigned to the visual-aids shop charged with producing charts, map keys, and manuals, he learned silk screening and printing techniques, and used his spare time, both in the U.S. and overseas to make sketches and watercolors of everyday army life. This cache of works survived the war and found its way to a New York Gallery and thence to the Morgan Library and Museum (NY) through a small group of generous donors.

After recording the realities of life as a G.I in basic training, the crossing of the Atlantic in a ship convoy, and landscapes and civilians he encountered, Pearlstein came home to graduate from the Carnegie Institute and move to New York to begin a career as a graphic artist. His companion on his move was a younger friend named Andy Warhola with whom he roomed and began work on catalogs and magazine illustrations. Both blossomed during the 1950s and 60s, Pearlstein becoming a major representative of the figurative tradition in postwar American art.

Architectural Masterpiece Preserved

Construction has begun on the West Mount Vernon Place, one of five historic buildings that make up the Walters Art Museum’s (MD) campus in Baltimore. When it reopens in spring 2018, the Walters will have completed a major revitalization that will preserve the architecture and history of the building while creating a space to present a new approach to the collection. The goal: to energize audiences, broaden the museum’s appeal, and extend the museum’s connection to the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood.

The project carries with it a $10.4 million price tag. Support has come from the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, Baltimore County, and other sources. $6 million has already been procured; the museum is working t raise the balance. Included in the project is the Hackerman House mansion, scheduled to reopen in spring 2018, the John and Berthe Ford Gallery, and the Carriage House, both to reopen in fall 2017.

The Walters’ strategic plan encompasses a set of multi-year goals and initiatives that envision the museum as a transformative force in the region. The completion of One West Mount Vernon Place is the spark that will ignite and inspire the community.

Fellowships Awarded by USA

The United States Artists has awarded 2016 USA Fellowship Awards of $50,000 each to 46 artists across nine creative disciplines—architecture and design, crafts, dance, literature, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, and visual arts. The 2016 Fellows were selected from over 500 artists nominated by their peers and judged by panels of experts in each discipline.

Founded in 2006 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations, USA has provided almost $25 million in the form of unrestricted $50,000 awards to nearly 500 artists.

This year’s group of Fellows will be celebrated in Chicago at USA’s annual Artist Assembly in March 27-29 2017.

Building Boom

Museums spent some $5 billion on construction between 2007 and 2014. Astounding, considering that at the same time the country was in a deep economic recession. The conclusion: It’s easier to raise funds for new buildings than for art.

Gender Equality??

A meager 27 percent of 590 major solo shows in 70 museums between 2007 and 2013 were devoted to women. This phenomenon is improving, particularly in the U.S. and Western Europe, but it’s not yet what it should be.

$ for Clinton

Millions were raised by artists for Hillary Clinton to no avail. Artists remain unbelieving at the unbelievable result of the election.

Monuments Men

The awe-inspiring group of men who were at work discovering lost and stolen artworks after WWII are poised to go back in action for the British Army, depending on the ratification of the Hague Convention that protects cultural property during war. Different men, same objective.

Late news

Picasso’s electrician Pierre Le Guennec—the one who stole 271 works, made between 1900 and 1930, from the maestro and hid them for 40 years—was given a suspended prison sentence, recently upheld by the court of appeals in Aix-en-Provence. The electrician’s wife received the same penalty. The artworks, including portraits of family and friends, two sketchbooks, and rare Cubist collages, none catalogued or signed, will be returned to the Picasso family.

Turns out that Le Guennec and his wife were buddies of Picasso’s late chauffeur Maurice Bresnu, who stole and ultimately sold some 600 of Picasso’s drawings.

Later news

A double-sided drawing by Leonardo da Vinci—Saint Sebastian bound to a tree on the front, optical studies and text on the reverse—was discovered in Paris at the auction house Tajan. The discovery, authenticated by a bevy of important experts, is thought to be among the drawings referred to in da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, a tome of his drawings, sketches and scientific studies. To now, only three have been located.

A temporary export ban will apply if the work is declared a “national treasure” by French authorities, in which case France will be given 30 months to buy it at market value.

October 2016

Did You Know….

Charleston, South Carolina, was home to the first formal exhibition of Solomon R. Guggenheim’s modern art collection. The exhibition was presented at the Gibbes Museum of Art (SC) in 1936 and again in 1938, 21 years before Guggenheim’s collection found a permanent home in today’s museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

After purchasing a home along the Charleston Battery and a property in nearby Yemassee in the 1920s, Solomon and Irene Guggenheim quickly became prominent figures in the Charleston community. Before becoming the first director of the Guggenheim Museum, art advisor Hilla Rebay curated the 1936 and 1938 exhibitions, bringing international attention to Charleston and record attendance levels for the Gibbes Museum of Art. Presently on exhibit once again, the character of the exhibitions has been preserved, occupying the exact building of the original showing, and adopting the specified original arrangement: the works are separated into sections, one for non-objective works and another for objective paintings.

Kahlo Portrait Holds Message

Less than a week before the U.S. presidential election in November, a powerful self-portrait by Frida Kahlo standing astride the U.S.-Mexico border will go on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA). Painted in 1932, Self-Portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States seems to defy time: It comes on view as a timely witness to the anti-immigration rhetoric of politicians who vow to force Mexico to build a wall on the border between the two countries.

Just 25 years old, Kahlo was in the United States with her husband Diego Rivera, who was working on various commissions across the country. Unhappy with life in the U.S., she wanted to return to Mexico. Her self-portrait shows a defiant Kahlo in a pink dress holding a Mexican flag in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She stands on the pedestal between an industrial American landscape of skyscrapers and factory smokestacks (marked “Ford” and obscuring the U.S. flag in a haze), and a Mexican desert of ancient ruins, Mesoamerican objects, native plants, and a skull. The two countries’ shared roots are treated with similar irony, with plants reaching deep into the soil on the Mexican side and electric wires dangling into the dirt north of the border.

Buddha Restored in Public

For six months, visitors to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MA) can either follow on line or watch conservators as they publicly restores Hanabusa Itch?’s rare masterpiece Death of Buddha (1773), one of the most important Buddhist paintings of its time.

The elaborate process proceeds through several steps: the dismantling of the scroll, and its reassembling; the installation of a new mounting, one that uses custom-woven silk (a reproduction of the original), which is made for the MFA by traditional weavers in Kyoto; the replacement of the gilt metal fittings carved with mythical lions, which was created and signed in the 18th century. Time, skill, and patience all represented in the course of art conservation.

Asian Art Initiative

A $6 million bequest from Alfred P. Gale has enabled the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) to launch the Gale Asian Art Initiative, a multi-year program dedicated to enhancing visitor’s appreciation of and engagement with Asian art. In its first year, the initiative will focus on Chinese art and includes a number of programs and an exhibition of new and commissioned work by Chinese contemporary artist Liu Dan.

Each year the Gale Asian Art Initiative will highlight a different Asian culture accompanied by a robust roster of public programming and events.

Haring Mural in Danger

[A report from the August 2016 issue of The Art Newspaper]

Tenants due to be evicted from a building in the Morningside Heights area of Manhattan say they are worried about the fate of a mural that Keith Haring painted in 1983 or 84 across three floors of a stairwell. At that time the building was leased by the Catholic youth organization Grace House, which provided a home for young people. Having visited many times, Haring convinced the director, with help from the young residents, that he should decorate the walls.

The building was in jeopardy. The church cited its financial problems and no one knew the fate of the building. The tenants who remained filed a joint lawsuit against the church, alleging the eviction to be illegal. They also claimed that the mural is “part of our identities” as well as being a valuable example of Haring’s work. Julia Gruen, executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation had said in 2007, “In terms of imagery, it’s like a lexicon of [Haring’s] vocabulary.” The line of dancing figures moving up the stairwell begins with a Radiant Baby figure and includes other recurring icons like the barking dog.

The New York gallerist Jeffrey Deitch, who represented Haring’s estate after his death says, “The West 108th Street mural is an example of Keith’s generous character and his commitment to art as social engagement. Keith often spent more time creating public murals in children’s centers, hospitals, and playgrounds than he did in the studio.” Many of these locations have been torn down since his death in 1990, and in several cases sections of wall have been sold to help benefit charities.

Happily, new digital technology now allows mural works to be documented so that they can be recreated in another venue.

African American Collection Expands

In an effort to better reflect Detroit’s population, the Detroit Institute of Art’s new director Salvador Salort-Pons announced the launching of a three-year initiative of $3.7 million to expand its collection of works by African-American artists. The museum expects to hire a curator of contemporary African-American art to oversee acquisitions, exhibitions, and public programs. In addition the initiative will allow the introduction of paid internships designed to “pipeline African-Americans into museum fields where they are significantyly under-represented,” says the director.

African American Collection Expands

In an effort to better reflect Detroit’s population, the Detroit Institute of Art’s new director Salvador Salort-Pons announced the launching of a three-year initiative of $3.7 million to expand its collection of works by African-American artists. The museum expects to hire a curator of contemporary African-American art to oversee acquisitions, exhibitions, and public programs. In addition the initiative will allow the introduction of paid internships designed to “pipeline African-Americans into museum fields where they are significantyly under-represented,” says the director.