The reaction in Indianapolis to the museum’s decision to go from free general admission to an $18 general admission has been very instructive. I’ve been watching local comments, and–not statistics, just my impression–the tally is overwhelming against. Again, the opposition is not necessarily against all museum admissions, it’s opposed to the gigantic jump and the way it was announced. Some commenters continue to blast Charles Venable for saying nothing since the press release was issued.
Real Clear Arts
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Who was it that said one look at Chartres Cathedral turned him into an art historian? Or art-lover for life? Henry Adams? Bernard Berenson? I can’t remember, but it was probably more than one person. Kenneth Clark called it “one of the two most beautiful covered spaces in the world” (Hagia Sophia in Istanbul being the other).
What the Indianapolis Art Museum did Friday has to fall into the category of major PR blunder. In a press release headlined “IMA announces new campus enhancement plan to improve visitor experience and financial sustainability,” it sneaked in the fact–in the ninth paragraph, no less–that: (more…)
Imagine being a French farmer, plowing your field near a village named Berthouville in rural Normandy; it’s 1830. And you hit something, stop and discover the first items in a trove that grew to 90 silver and gilt-silver statuettes and vessels dating to the 3rd century and before.
Financial salvation for the Detroit Institute of Arts, and perhaps even the Grand Bargain in Detroit, which was part of the emergence from bankruptcy deal approved by the court on Friday, was almost jeopardized a few weeks ago: that’s when a political ruckus emerged over the pay packages in the last years for Graham Beal, the DIA’s director, and Annmarie Erickson, his deputy.
All in all, I thought the lead article in last Sunday’s NYTimes special section on the visual arts–Museums Morph Digitally–was good (it was written by my friend, Steve Lohr), though I wasn’t crazy about the line that “ museum curators and administrators …talk of …the importance of a social media strategy and a “digital first” mind-set.” Maybe digital is second, but surely not first, except perhaps to promote their actual collections.
Now it’s the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh’s turn to find fantastic art works in its storerooms, as many other museums have done. Among the newly discovered pieces: a hand-painted enamel bowl with roundels of butterflies from the Yongzheng period, a “bizarre googly-eyed dragon bowl” and cinnabar lacquer panel (below right) from the Qianlong period, a ritual bronze from the Western Zhou period, a Gupta period Buddha head (at left), a gilded bronze Thai Buddha head and a Bamana Boli figure.
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.”