So this week the art world and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s* members are getting a first look at the Leonard Lauder Cubist collection–assembled over the past 40 years. The masterpieces and seminal works he has purchased amount to the best private Cubist collection in existence, by design: He always has a museum gift in mind as he collects. When I spoke with him in 2012, he said: “Many people collect to possess. I collect to preserve, and no sooner do I have a collection put together than I am looking for a home for it in a public institution.”
Real Clear Arts
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In the last two years or so, I’ve often praised the Detroit Institute of Arts for conducting itself in the right way–with respect to passing the millage and in how it has handled itself during the city’s bankruptcy. Now, though, it has made a major mistake–in terms of optics if not substance.
Contrary to some belief out there, I’m not against all participatory, experiential activities in art museums. (I don’t believe museums should be as quiet as cathedrals, either, but that’s another post.) Here’s a participartory program that sounds, in advance, without my being there, like a good one.
I’d wager that most people don’t think of “beauty” when they think of the art of Anselm Kiefer. So when Janne Siren, the director of the Alrbight-Knox Art Gallery, and I met last week, I was surprised by the catalogue he gave me for the Kiefer exhibition that, alas, closed there on Sunday. It was titled Beyond Landscape, and here’s part of its description: (more…)
Life is constricted, to some extent, for all single-artist museums–and more than most at the Clyfford Still Museum. As decreed by the artist, it can never exhibit works by any other artist and it can’t have a restaurant or auditorium, among other things. Yet almost about three years ago, in November, 2011, it opened in Denver.
Last week, as Bonhams in London was preparing to auction a lot of second millennium B.C. Egyptian antiquities consigned by the St. Louis Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Metropolitan Museum of Art* stepped in. Bonhams withdrew the lot, estimated at £80,000 – 120,000 (US$ 130,000 – 190,000), and the Met purchased the Treasure of Harageh items (partially pictured at left).
If you thought everything about the future of the Corcoran Art Gallery was parsed and settled, much to the dismay of its students, faculty, curators and various formers in all three categories, think again. There’s another outrage.
Last week, I was honored to sit opposite Nobel-prize winner/neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel at a small dinner. Kandel, seeking to understand how memory works, figured it out by studying its physiological basis in the cells of sea slugs. For that, he won the Nobel in 2000. More recently, he has turned some of his attention to art. In 2012, he published The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present.
In its sixth incarnation, ArtPrize–the open competition in which the public chooses the winners–is trying a new tack. Not only will experts also weigh in separately–as they have in the past–but also their choice will receive a grand award prize of equal size, $200,000, the same as the public. This is good, more about which in a minute.
As the city of Detroit goes through U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking approval of its exit strategy — which includes the “grand bargain” that will save the Detroit Institute of Arts from having sell any works of art — some creditors have been obstructing the way. One, so far, bond insurer Syncora, has cut a deal with the city, agreeing to the plan in exchange for a $50 million payoff (to be raised in a bond issue), plus leases on the tunnel linking Detroit and Windsor, Canada, and a parking garage. Another billion-dollar creditor, insurer FGIC, is still holding out — it remains to be seen if this too can be settled with a side deal or if FGIC will press ahead — and how far.