Sunday, November 24, 2013

What's Happening Museums Fall 2013

1. MINYA EGYPT – Looters Strike Egyptian Museum: The Malawi National Museum in the Egyptian city of Minya has been vandalized and looted in the country's latest wave of violence, with Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities reporting that the antiquities museum had been broken into and vandalized on Thursday night. An official Ministry statement accused members of the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind the attack, in which statues and sarcophagi were damaged, display cases were smashed, and contents stolen. [Daily Mail]
2. NEW YORK - Planned African Art Museum Becomes Policy Think Tank: Manhattan's long-delayed Museum for African Art has changed its name and shifted its focus slightly, rebranding as the New Africa Center and aiming to take on more of a policy-making role, in the vein of Asia Society. "The policy landscape in the U.S. regarding Africa is certainly less dynamic than it should be," said the co-chair of the Center's board, Hadeel Ibrahim. "By expanding our mandate, we are able to attract the increasing number of people who are interested in the continent but whose interest may lie in dance, film, policy or business." [WSJ
3. LONDON - U.K.'s Top Art Jobs All Go to Men: The major upcoming vacancies at leading U.K. art institutions like the British Museum and Tate will almost certainly be filled by men. "In culture, there are a number of women," says Serpentine Gallery's director Julia Peyton-Jones. "However, there is not a woman running one of the four national institutions in this country: the Tate, the
National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery or the British Museum… The glass ceiling exists because there’s not a way to enmesh women in the professional world… We don’t know how to do it, and we also don’t know how to support women so they can do it." [Bloomberg]
4. PARIS – Winged Victory Will Fly Again: Next month the Louvre will begin a nine-month renovation on iconic 2nd-century BCE sculpture "The Winged Victory of Samothrace," which happens to be the museum’s second most popular attraction. [WSJ]
5. LAS VEGAS — There may no longer be a major art museum in Las Vegas — the Las Vegas Art Museum shuttered in 2009 — nor a joint outpost of the Guggenheim and Hermitage museums — which closed in 2008 — but there is a museum-caliber art collection hidden in plain sight on the Vegas Strip. CityCenter, MGM Resorts’ sprawling five-complex campus, houses major works by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Henry Moore, Isa Genzken, Frank Stella, and more, as well as large-scale, site-specific commissions by the likes of Maya Lin, Nancy Rubins, Jenny Holzer, and a brand new James Turrell installation. The collection forms a component of MGM CEO and chairman James Murren’s vision for CityCenter as a more civic-minded hotel-casino-condo-mall megadevelopment.
6. WASHINGTON DC The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, slated to open in Washington, D.C., in 2015, has amassed a collection of some 18,000 artifacts including works by Wadsworth Jarrell and Sam Gilliam, though the institution is still looking to acquire pieces by Sanford Biggers, Rashid Johnson, and more. [TAN
7. BAHGDAD -  Saddam’s Palace Gets Arty Makeover: Saddam Hussein’s former palace in Basra is about to reopen as the Basra Museum. The new cultural center will display antiquities from the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Arabic eras of Iraq’s history. "It's important to affirm Mesopotamian ideas and culture in the face of aggressive Shia Islam, which puts about that there is nothing before or after Shia Islam," said Lieutenant General Sir Barney White-Spunner. "In fact, the story of Iraq goes back before the pyramids. This is the garden of Eden; the land of the great flood." [Guardian]
8. TERVUREN BELGIUM - Europe's "Last Colonial Museum" Revamps: The Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, considered by many to be the "last colonial museum" in Europe, will shutter on November 30 to completely renovate and rejigger its galleries and collection — which includes the terrifying statue of a leopard-man that was famously featured in a Tintin comic. "This museum shows how the white man saw Africa a century ago, at the time of his colonial triumphs," says Joseph Djongakodi Yoto, a representative of the museum's African diaspora association. The institution will reopen in mid-2017. [AFP]
9. KANSAS CITY, MO.- The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art joins Kansas City in mourning the death of Marion Bloch. The 83-year-old wife of Henry Bloch died after a long illness.
“I know that Mrs. Bloch was a vital presence at the Nelson-Atkins for many years,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of the museum. “Henry was absolutely devoted to Marion and there is no stronger testament to true love. My deepest sympathies go to the entire Bloch family.” Marion Helzberg was born in 1930, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Southwest High School and the University of Missouri. During her junior year of college, Marion’s brother
introduced her to his close friend, a budding entrepreneur named Henry Bloch. They married in 1951. “Marion’s love made me whole,” said Bloch. “She was a remarkable woman; selfless and kind, beautiful and loving and strong.” With Henry, Marion was at the forefront of many civic and philanthropic initiatives in Kansas City. Their personal legacy includes generous and steadfast support of the Nelson-Atkins.
10. LONDON (AFP).- The sister of the Emir of Qatar was named the most influential figure in the art world in a "power list" published by Britain's ArtReview magazine on Thursday.
Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bint al-Thani has around $1 billion a year to spend on art as head of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), according to ArtReview -- 30 times more than New York's Museum of Modern Art. "No wonder, then, that whenever Sheikha Al-Mayassa is in town, everyone from government ministers to mayors queue up to pay their respects," the magazine said as it published its annual "Power 100" ranking. China's Ai Weiwei, who topped the list last year, is the
But Sheikha Al-Mayassa, who climbed the list after coming in 11th place last year, came first because of her "sheer buying power", ArtReview said. The QMA bought French post-impressionist Paul Cezanne's masterpiece "The Card Players" for $250 million last year, making it the most expensive painting sold to date. "If and when Doha finds it has bought enough art, there's going to be a hole in the market that no one else can fill," ArtReview said. The wealthy Gulf state, which has just 1.5 million inhabitants, is trying to establish itself as the region's cultural hub.
It runs several museums and galleries in Qatar including the Museum of Islamic Art, the largest of its kind in the region.
highest-ranked artist for 2013, coming in ninth place.

11. CLEVELAND, OH.- The Board of Trustees of the Cleveland Museum of Art announced today that David Franklin has resigned his position as Director, effective immediately. Dr. Franklin had been the Director of the CMA since September, 2010 and will be retained as a consultant for a period of time in order to insure an orderly transition.
“Thanks to our outstanding team, the Cleveland Museum of Art has made tremendous progress
during the past few years. Our Museum and its finances are in an excellent position to take advantage of an exciting and dynamic future,” said CMA board chair Steven Kestner. “The Museum is one of the premier art museums in the world and we are confident that we will find a great leader to continue the momentum.” Museum Trustee Fred Bidwell has been named by the Board to assume the role of Interim Director until a new director is in place. Kestner noted that, “Fred’s unique combination of business experience and passion for museums and collecting makes him a great choice to lead the Museum during the search.”

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