Judith H. Dobrzynski
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture

Judith H. Dobrzynski's Real Clear Arts

Badly Bungled Philanthropy

The New York Philharmonic* just gave everyone a lesson in how not to fundraise. I am talking, of course, about the announcement that David Geffen has promised $100 million to the Phil for the renovation of Avery Fisher Hall.  There are two problems with this gift.

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MFA’s Gets A Load of Rothschild Loot

Literally. Bettina Burr (known as Nina, pictured left)–the daughter of Baroness Bettina Looram de Rothschild, who reclaimed about 250 pieces of Nazi-looted art from Austria after it passed a new restitution law in 1998–has donated 186 objects to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The trove, which includes jewelry, jeweled boxes, furniture, prints, drawings, miniatures, paintings and rare books, is most of what remains that had been passed down to her and her relatives from her ancestors in the Austrian Rothschild family. The great collectors were Nathaniel (d. 1905) and Albert von Rothschild (d. 1911).

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I’m Away…

I’m taking a winter vacation this year and therefore am unlikely to be posting until my return during the first week in February.

Monumental Art Undertaking in Saudi Arabia: Needs Partners

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, which just partnered with LACMA. The Center, pictured below, hasn’t received much national press in the U.S. (though apparently it held a meeting with the press at Art Dubai). It’s a venture of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned global petroleum and chemicals giant of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At its founding, it had American oil companies as partners, but no more (they’re not listed in “History” on the website, either).

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The Story Behind LACMA’s Saudi Partnership

Press releases often provoke more questions than they answer. That was certainly the case when one from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art issued one on Jan. 6 about its new collaboration with Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. It said that LACMA and the Center: Continue Reading

“Provocative Intervention” In Dulwich’s Galleries

The other day, the Dulwich Picture Gallery announced a 2015 program with “an intervention in the Gallery’s permanent collection offering a provocative challenge to the public.” And what could that be?

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Walters’ Founding Story: A Sorry Flaw

I really enjoyed my visit to the Walters Art Museum early this year. However, it is suffering a malady that must be discussed–because it is far from the only museum afflicted by this disease.

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NEA Reveals The Real Targets For Art Museums

The National Endowment for the Arts released three reports today on arts participation, barriers to it, the impact of the arts and culture industries on the economy–all information from 2012. There’s much to digest. Here’s the link to them.

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No So Fast: Private Art Museum Under Scrutiny

“I’m not against it being done, but it’s got to be done well,” [Rob] Storr [dean of the Yale School of Art], said. “If there’s to be a public forgiveness for taxes there should be a clear public benefit, and it should not be entirely at the discretion of the person running the museum or foundation.”

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Whitney’s New Collection Database: The Good, The Requested

In the runup to its move downtown this spring (to the building at right), the Whitney Museum just announced an expanded online database of its permanent collection. It’s grown from 700 works of art to more than 21,000 by some 3,000 artists–”spanning all mediums—painting, sculpture, film, video, photography, works on paper, installation, and new media.” Continue Reading