Monday, September 20, 2010

Technology Breakthrough for the Challenged

This should ease the transition for the challenged.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some Thoughts for September 2010

This has been a summer that could only be described adequately in a full chapter of the book that undoubtedly I will never write. The Roadshow started out in San Diego where we were moderately rocked by an offshore earthquake. This is, of course, run-of-the-mill stuff if you are from California. If, however, you are accustomed to the earth staying in one place, we did think about it. The next stop was Billings, Montana where just days before our arrival a fairly uncommon tornado tore half the building apart where we had planned to stage some of our long lines. The convention people in Billings were literally the best we have an encountered and helped our terrific crew and staff pull off another great stop. Unfortunately one of our guests passed away in the hall - another first for the Roadshow. The next stop was Miami Beach, where life even in this economy was not inexpensive. But we had a great show. Stop number three was Biloxi where a tropical storm threatened to derail us but then never materialized. In Iowa we understand many roads were shut down to severe flooding just after we left and had completed show number 5. Our final stop was the nation's capitol where we all were dreading August humidity. The only threat, however, was a massive Tea Party demonstration led by Glen Beck and Sara Palin days after our departure. All things considered we must be grateful for a very uneventful but successful summer.
As we move into the fall market, I think much in the U.S. depends on the election in October. I drove four out of six stops this summer covering about 10,000 miles and one thing I kept hearing over and over again was real anger - regardless of the party affiliation. How that translates in the fall remains to be seen, but if we see the change that all the pundits seem to be predicting, the markets will depend on what the current administration does in the two months before the new Congress is seated. Some are predicting events that certainly the market won't like. In my opinion a bad stock market means an unstable art market. On the bright side that could be more opportunities for you if you are buying. As usual great material will hold its value and we shall see more high prices in both Paris and New York, but the market will be unstable.. how unstable remains to be seen.

African art Picture of the Month Sept 2010

Zulu, Kwa-zulu, South AfricaDiam. 21” c. early 20th century. cotton, human hair, red ochre over grass-fiber basketry frame. These Zulu hats were presented to a woman at her wedding. As a married woman she would keep this throughout her life and it would only be worn during ceremonial occasions..

Auction News 2010 - some Crazy High Moments

1. Hammer time: Bugatti breaks £20m
A 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic has become the most expensive car ever to sell at auction, fetching over $30m (£20m) in California yesterday.One of only three ever built, the gorgeous Atlantic - styled by Ettore Bugatti's son Jean - was bought by an anonymous bidder at the Gooding classic car auction in Santa Monica. The exact amount remains undisclosed, but reports from the show floor suggest it could be as high as $40m (£27m), smashing the $12.2m (£8m) paid for a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa at the same show last year.That is, in technical terms, a hell of a lot of cash. But this is a hell of a lot of car. First bought by Lord Philippe de Rothschild in 1936, the Atlantic was fitted with a supercharger in 1939, boosting the power of its 3.3-litre inline eight to a heady 210bhp. In its prime, the Atlantic would run to a dizzying 123mph. Since 1971, it was owned by Bugatti collector Peter Williamson, who restored the Atlantic to its original specification after an ambitious previous owner decided to paint it red. And fit new rear windows. Oops. Williamson did a good job: the Atlantic won top prize at the Pebble Beach Concours in 2003.And now... well, who knows? No word on which deep-pocketed collector has acquired the Atlantic, but let's hope he or she isn't going to hide it away in some high-security vault deep within a shark-infested laser volcano.Question for the day, then. If the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic rolled off the delivery truck in front of your house this morning, where would you take it? A blast down the French Riviera? The Nurburgring? Asda?

2. Michael Jackson glove sells for $160,000 at auction
When Michael Jackson’s denim jacket from his Jackson 5 days sold for $26,000 — more than five times its estimated sale price — it was the first indication that the late pop star’s belongings were going to sell for more money than anyone may have anticipated.
Even his brothers’ and sisters’ items were selling for thousands at Julien’s Auctions summer sale on Friday at Planet Hollywood. On the one-year anniversary of Jackson’s death, everything was a hot commodity. ans, bidders and curious passersby filled the auction area at Planet Hollywood for the nearly six hours of bidding on 251 lots of Jackson memorabilia.
But there was one item that everyone really came to see — one of Jackson’s signature Swarovski crystal-studded gloves. After nearly 150 lots and much anticipation, the glove finally made its appearance. At an auction in November in New York, a glove Jackson wore when performing his signature moonwalk for the first time at the “Motown 25” concert in 1983 sold for $420,000.
“I’ll start the bidding at $1 just so you all can say that you bid on Michael Jackson’s glove,” auctioneer Kathleen Guzman said as bidders raised their paddles in a frenzy.
Then the real bidding began. It started at $31,000 and rose to more than $100,000 within seconds.
Julien’s Auctions employees raised their own studded-gloved hands furiously as competing bids came in from anonymous bidders over the phone and online. In the end, a $160,000 bid from Wanda Kelley of Los Angeles won out. The glove was expected to see for between $20,000 and $30,000. Kelley said she was prepared to go higher than her $160,000 winning bid, but she was reluctant to say how much higher. “Let’s just say I wasn’t walking out of here without that glove,” Kelley said coyly shortly after claiming her prize. Aside from the glove, Kelley scooped up most of the gold records in the Jackson collection. She said she’s been a fan all her life but wasn’t aware that today marked the anniversary of his death. “I’ve just been so busy. I was up in my hotel room watching CNN and it was a surprise to me to hear it was the anniversary,” Kelley said.
Julien’s Auctions owner Darren Julien said the price of Jackson memorabilia has skyrocketed since his death last June. That was more than obvious during Friday’s sale. Julien said Jackson's 251 lots sold for $1.98 million, nearly double what the auction house originally expected.
His MTV music video award, priced between $6,000 and $8,000 in the Julien’s catalog, sold for $37,500. Handwritten lyrics to “Bad” went for $8,000, 10 times its estimated sale price. A signed fedora went for $45,000 and a corduroy shirt for $23,000.
The jacket Jackson wore during his 1996 wedding to Debbie Rowe sold for $60,000 to a woman sitting with Anna Nicole Smith’s former boyfriend and the father of Smith’s daughter, Larry Birkhead. The T-shirt Jackson wore in his “Beat It” video sold for $36,000, and an autographed replica of the jacket he wore in the video went for $110,000.
Susie Lopez of California paid $24,000 for a caricature drawn and signed by Jackson. Lopez traveled to Las Vegas with the goal of picking up one his drawings after losing a bidding war at a New York auction in November.
“The drawings are just so personal, not like some of the other items up for bid. I don’t think people realize what a great artist he was,” Lopez said as she held her catalog marked with other items she was interested in. “I got what I came for.”
Noboru Ochiai scooped up one of the priciest items of the afternoon, a custom jacket for $100,000, along with a fedora for $37,500. Both were worn by Jackson during a 1997 interview with Barbara Walters.
Ochiai was bidding for Japanese pop star and magician Princess Tenko. He was hoping to pick up a pair of Jackson’s autographed black loafers for Princess Tenko, but he lost to an anonymous bidder on the phone who purchased the pair for $75,000.
As for the glove, Ochiai wasn’t even considering bidding. “Too expensive,” he said.
Donning their Jackson T-shirts and “I love MJ” bracelets, Kandice Jones of Las Vegas and her daughter Deanna didn’t come to bid but to remember Jackson and compare prices with their own memorabilia.
Kandice Jones said she’s been collecting Jackson memorabilia since 1979 and has lost count of how many pieces she owns today. Perfume bottles once owned by Jackson, an autographed copy of his “Thriller” album and a signed Jackson doll are among her most prized possessions.
Her love of Jackson has become a family affair passed on to her children.
“I really didn’t realize how passionate I was about him until he died,” Deanna Jones said. “I was crying for days.” The Jones family was devoting the day to celebrating and remembering Jackson, beginning with a memorial service Friday morning and the auction in the afternoon.
Later tonight, they’ll be watching their VCR tape copy of his memorial service from last year and making one of Jackson’s favorite dishes — cheese enchiladas.

3. NEW YORK, NY - One of the things that made cowboy actor Roy Rogers so famous was his horse "Trigger".
Roy Rogers' had his faithful companion preserved by a taxidermist after its death in 1965 at the age of 30. Trigger was put on display at the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, which was relocated to Branson, Missouri, and closed, in late 2009.
Wednesday one of America's most memorable horses was sold at auction for $266,000 in New York to owners of a Nebraska television station.
The golden palomino was featured in over one hundred movies and The Roy Rogers Show. Trigger had 150 trick cues and could walk 50 feet on his hind legs.
The horse was purchased at the Christies Auction by RFD-TV in Omaha, Nebraska. The station announced plans to acquire more Roy Rogers and Dale Evans memorabilia at the auction and open a museum.
Items at the auction came from the now-closed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouri.

4. NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s September 2010 series of Asia Week auctions in New York included Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on 15 September. The high point of the sale came in LOT 304 A 'GE' OCTAGONAL VASE (BA FANGHU)SONG DYNASTY estimated to sell between 400,000—600,000 USD Sold with a hammer Price with Buyer's Premium of 1,762,500 USD . It is 8 1/2 in. in height. It is described as very thinly potted, of pear shape and octagonal section, resting on a slightly flared foot pierced with a circular aperture on the sides, rising from a swelling body and tapering to a gently everted mouth, the collar with a double-band of horizontal raised ribs, flanked by a pair of tubular handles, applied overall with a lustrous opaque creamy-gray glaze, suffused with black and gray craquelure among finer golden-orange crackles, the footrim unglazed and burnt to a dark-brown color in the firing

Collection of an old Chinese-American family, by repute.

Ge ware is one of the most celebrated wares of Chinese ceramics, along with the first 'official' 'Ru', and the extensively copied guan. According to Regina Krahl in her discussion of this group in Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994, Vol. One, p. 213, 'Originally, the term Ge, often mentioned in classical Chinese literature, may have been applied to a distinct ware from a specific but unidentified kiln; later, however, it appears to have turned into a connoisseurs' term for wares with certain features.'
The shape of this vase, referred to as fanghu (the ba preceding denotes the eight sides), is based on ritual bronze prototypes that were discovered and excavated during the Song dynasty. The Northern Song emperor Huizong (r. 1101-25) was a keen collector of both archaic bronzes and jades and commissioned the production of ceramic vessels after bronze pieces in his collection.
Two similar, but slightly smaller, vases are in the National Palace Museum collection in Taipei, and are illustrated in Porcelain of The National Palace Museum: Ko Ware of the Sung Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1962, pls. 3 and 4 (Fig. 1). Another smaller example is illustrated in Gakuji Hasebe, Ceramic Art of the World: Sung Dynasty, Tokyo, 1977, Volume 12, p. 207, no. 205. A larger vase (height 10 1/2 inches) was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 19th March 1991, lot 506.

Bonhams plans in November to auction a seal made of white jade for the Chinese emperor Qianlong could fetch more than £5m . The seal is one of a set of three commissioned by the emperor and made in 1793. It features a dragon to represent the emperor and includes the motto: "Self-strengthening never ceases."

A New Direction for PBS?

ARLINGTON, VA.- PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger today announced the launch of PBS Arts, a new website that offers Americans the opportunity to experience the arts and explore the creative process through special virtual exhibits, videos from PBS national and local programs and interactive features. The website is part of PBS’ ongoing commitment to strengthen public engagement in all forms of artistic expression and performance – in front of the camera and behind the scenes – and to bring more of the arts into the lives of millions of Americans. PBS Arts’ initial offerings include four concurrent virtual exhibitions, including “Ruin and Revival,” which features works from the “Storm Cycle” collection by New Orleans-based artist Thomas Mann. In this exhibition, Mann commemorates the city’s ongoing recovery and renovation, and celebrates its resilience. Producers from the PBS series CRAFT IN AMERICA filmed Mann in and around New Orleans at locations that inspired his sculptural works. The “Ruin and Revival” virtual exhibition offers additional arts-focused Katrina footage, including a Louisiana Public Broadcasting report, video excerpts of PBS host Tavis Smiley’s recent journey to New Orleans and Smiley’s conversation with Branford Marsalis about the Musicians’ Village, a physical and spiritual home for performing artists in the city. “PBS and its member stations strive to help the American people discover the power and remarkable breadth of the arts,” said Ms. Kerger. “For 40 years, we’ve used television to give the public a front-row seat to the world’s greatest cultural experiences, and now PBS Arts will help us achieve this goal online. PBS Arts will also allow us to transport audiences from these front-row seats and give them opportunities to interact with artists and share their experiences of being engaged and enriched by the arts.” PBS Arts is organized into exhibitions and searchable by artistic discipline. The website will feature initially at least one new exhibition each month with content spanning all genres of the performing and visual arts, including dance, theater, contemporary music, opera, painting, sculpture, film and photography. One new web exclusive, SOUND TRACKS Presents “Quick Hits,” is a spinoff of the PBS SOUND TRACKS: MUSIC WITHOUT BORDERS television pilot, which showcased stories about music and musicians from around the world. The premiere episode of “Quick Hits” presents Italian superstar Jovanotti (considered the Bono or Bruce Springsteen of Italy) in a San Francisco stage performance and interview with public radio reporter/host Marco Werman, along with a photo slideshow. In September, “Quick Hits” will feature the Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge. Other exhibitions will showcase stories and videos from signature PBS series such as ART:21 and AUSTIN CITY LIMITS. PBS Arts will explore the process of artistic creation, behind the scenes and directly with the artists. Users will be encouraged to comment on the exhibitions and performances as well as upload their own related content. PBS Arts will allow viewers to share content with their friends, family and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Full episodes of — and additional footage from — upcoming PBS specials and series such as CIRCUS, a six-hour program premiering in November, will give PBS Arts visitors additional opportunities to delve into the many arts and cultural programs found on PBS. The site’s launch coincides with the recently released National Endowment for the Arts report, Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation , which indicates that people who engage with the arts on-air or online are three times more likely to attend a “live” event than non-media participants. For many adults, electronic media represents their sole means of experiencing dance, theater and music, the research showed. The debut of PBS Arts kicks off PBS’s multi-platform initiative to reinvigorate public engagement with the arts through an exploration of performance, artistic expression and the creative process — on-air, online, in the classroom and in every community. PBS believes access to the arts educates the nation’s children, defines cultures, increases creativity and innovation, fosters civic engagement and promotes appreciation for diverse traditions. With the goal to cultivate vibrant and connected communities, PBS brings more arts to more Americans than any other media company.
PBS Arts Paula A. Kerger Thomas Mann Arts Dailey

Are Your Last Wishes Worth Anything

Collectors and artists donating their collections to non profits who have promised to honor their last wishes would not always be pleased with what really happened. You remember the Barnes Foundation... a "2004 court ruling permitted the foundation, which has struggled financially, to contravene the wishes of Albert C. Barnes, who built the collection and stipulated that no picture in it could be lent, sold or moved from the walls of the galleries that he built for it in Merion. Judge Stanley R. Ott of the Montgomery County Orphans’ Court said in the ruling that he considered the move “the only viable alternative” to save the Barnes from bankruptcy. But opponents — a couple dozen of whom protested Friday morning outside the groundbreaking ceremony — contend that the collection’s financial troubles are surmountable and that the move is motivated primarily by the Philadelphia political establishment’s desire to generate more downtown tourism. “This is not about art — it’s about politics,” said Evelyn Yaari, a member of Friends of the Barnes Foundation, which organized the protest, waving signs with messages like: “Crime Scene. Do Not Enter. Destruction of National Historic Landmark in Progress.”

Or maybe you recall the wishes of George Gustav Heye and what he envisioned for his collection of 1 million objects. "The National Museum of the American Indian is home to the collection of the former Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. The collection includes more than 800,000 objects, as well as a photographic archive of 125,000 images. The collection, which became part of the Smithsonian in June 1990, was assembled by George Gustav Heye (1874–1957) during a 54-year period, beginning in 1903. He traveled throughout North and South America collecting Native objects. Heye used his collection to found New York’s Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation and directed it until his death in 1957. The Heye Foundation’s Museum of the American Indian opened to the public in New York City in 1922."

"In order to remove the collection, the museum - formally known as Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation - must have the approval of the New York State Attorney General. George Gustav Heye obligated the original trustees ''and their successors'' to ''maintain the museum within this state.'' The present trustees have indicated that judges may rewrite trust priorities if that is necessary to protect the trust's most important obligations - the preservation of the collection. Still, as native Americans we have a very personal interest in seeing that the original agreements are honored..." ROSEMARY RICHMOND Executive Director American Indian Community House New York, May 22, 1987

You would think that some consideration of what the original benefactor would want might hold some water. Now, in the case of the Heye Foundation material, we have a token presence in New York, a very small group of objects on display at the National Museum of American Indian on the Mall, and the bulk of the objects instorage in Maryland accessible only by appointment and permission. The majority of the non-indian community interested in the rich tradition of native americans hate the fact that this beautiful building pretends to be a museum. It is in every way a cultural center, which any rationale person would agree that the native american community deserves. This really isn't the point. The point is that Heye certainly envisioned both indian and non-indian people learning from what he collected. That trust has been betrayed.

Judge Rejects Fisk Deal to Sell Georgia O'Keeffe Share

NASHVILLE (AP).- A Nashville judge has rejected Fisk University's proposal to sell a joint share in a 101-piece collection donated by late artist Georgia O'Keeffe to an Arkansas museum. Fisk argued that its precarious financial state prevents the historically black university from maintaining and displaying the collection. Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle agreed Friday that the cash-strapped school is unable to exhibit the collection. But Lyle said the Fisk proposal to sell a 50 percent stake in the collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., for $30 million does not meet the terms of the donation O'Keeffe made to the school in 1949. Lyle ordered the state attorney general to offer a "Nashville-based solution" ... More

Here again a bequest was made based on a set of permanent conditions. Considering the history of over turning the wishes of our generous dead patrons, I would bet here that the Walmart money behind Crystal Bridges will also prevail.

It might give you some basis for considering carefully your last wishes.

Big Problems at the Cairo Museum

In the early 1970's I was in Cairo at the museum when museum security noticed that Tutankahmen's gold staff was missing. This caused great panic where museum personnel were fired only to find out later that it had been carelessly kicked under a case raised off the floor. Or so it was reported... Apparently things have not improved in the past 40 years as another scandal has rocked a Cairo museum. This time the artwork is van Gogh's 1887 "Poppy Flowers" which was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum after officials discovered that no alarms were working, and only seven of 43 cameras were operating. Prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud told Egypt's state news agency Sunday that the thieves used a box cutter to remove the painting from its frame. He blamed the theft on the museum's lax security measures, calling them "for the most part feeble and superficial." He said the museum guards' daily rounds at closing time were inadequate and did not meet minimum security requirements to protect internationally renowned works of art. Mahmoud also said his office had warned Egypt's museums to implement stricter security controls ... More

Picture of the Month September 2010

Picture of the Month

Maybe there is a message here

Pre-Columbian art in the news - September 2010

1. MEXICO CITY.- Fifteen years ago, 5 ceremonial censers were found in community plots at Tlahuac, a Mexico City delegation. The dwellers are celebrating the return of one of them dedicated to Chicomecoatl, the Mexica maize goddess, which replica will be guarded at Cuitlahuac Regional Community Museum from September 4th 2010. It was in August 3rd 1995 when Jesus Galindo Ortega discovered the terracotta censers covered with stucco, which dimensions go from 106 to 120 centimeters and present a great ornamental richness, as well as a good conservation state. These high-quality pieces represent priests dressed as deities participating in a ceremony dedicated to maize and fertility, as the 36th Borbonic Codex page illustrates, where several lords at the Titl ceremony carry the same iconographic elements of the censers. The censers represent Xilonen, goddess of fertility; Chicomecoatl, ... More

2. MEXICO CITY.- Nearly 6,000 fragments of Teotihuacan-style ceramics, more than 1,400 years old, were found recently in Costa Grande Region, in Guerrero, by specialists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). The finding reveals that Prehispanic groups such as Tepoztecas, Cuitlatecas and Tomiles that dwelled the area had relations with Teotihuacan, and not only Mezcala groups as thought before. “Fragments of vessels and flat bowls with finger support, some of them with the Tlaloc effigy and theater censers of a Teotihuacan style never seen before in Guerrero were found”, explained the archaeologist Rosa Maria Reyna, who explored with Elizabeth Galeana the El Embarcadero Archaeological Site, where the finding took place. “This finding opens new interpretations about the relations of Teotihuacan people with other cultures, and at the same time, promotes research of cultures and archaeological ... More
3. MEXICO CITY.- Recent explorations conducted by experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) point out that Plan de Ayutla Archaeological Site, in Chiapas, could have been the political center where the lineage that founded Bonampak originated,more than 1,400 years ago. This hypothesis is based on interpretation of inscriptions at different monuments. The archaeological zone that will be open to public before 2012, according to the compromise of President Felipe Calderon, could have been in Prehispanic times one of the legendary cities identified by epigraphic as Sak T’zi or Ak’e. The first hypothesis regarding Plan de Ayutla identity points out that it might have been Sak T’zi, city that between 600 and 800 AD struggled with Maya metropolis of Tonina, Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan, informed archaeologist Luis Alberto Martos. The site located in Ocosingo municipality “is key to unders ... More
4. MEXICO CITY.- One of the earliest human skeletons of America, which belonged to a person that lived more than 10,000 years ago, in the Ice Age, was recovered by Mexican specialists from a flooded cave in Quintana Roo. The information it has lodged for centuries will reveal new data regarding the settlement of the Americas. The Young Man of Chan Hol, as the skeleton is known among the scientific community, due to the slight tooth wear it presents, which indicates an early age, is the fourth of our earliest ancestors found in the American Continent, and has been studied as part of a National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) project. After 3 years of studies conducted In Situ to prevent information loss, the Chan Hol skeleton was subtracted from the water by a team of specialists headed by biologist Arturo Gonzalez, coordinator of the project Study of Pre Ceramic Men of Yucatan Peninsula and director of Museo del De ... More

5. CHICAGO, IL - Art Institute of Chicago Showcases Major Works of Pre-Columbian Art from Mexico On September 16, 2010, Mexico will commemorate the bicentennial of its independence from Spain and the centennial of the 1910 Revolution that led to the formation of its modern republic. In recognition of these significant anniversaries, the Art Institute of Chicago joins dozens of other cultural organizations around Chicago to participate in the citywide celebration Mexico 2010. Working with the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City and the Museo Arqueológico de Xalapa, the Art Institute will present an exhibition of sculptural masterpieces from the country’s ancient civilizations, many of which have never before been seen in the United States. Ballplayers, Gods, and Rainmaker Kings: Masterpieces from Ancient Mexico opens September 16, 2010 in the museum’s Regenstein Hall (on view until January 2, 2011) and features seventeen extraordinary works of pre-Columbian origin spanning more than two millennia.
6. PHILADELPHIA, PA. - University Museum, University of Pennslyvania -River of Gold: Precolumbian Treasures from Sitio Conte is available and ready to travel. This exhibit presents more than 120 exquisitely crafted pieces of Precolumbian goldwork from Penn Museum’s 1940 excavations at the ancient cemetery site of Sitio Conte in what is now central Panama. The exhibition includes large embossed plaques, cast pendants and nose ornaments, gold-sheathed ear rods, and necklaces of intricate beads—as well as polychrome ceramics, and objects made of precious and semi-precious stones, whale-tooth ivory, and bone. In the first section of the exhibit, visitors are introduced to the geographical setting of central Panama and the excavations at Sitio Conte.The exciting story of the dramatic find of a multi-grave burial containing a wealth of gold is told through site photographs, maps, drawings, even a video from the original color film of the archaeological team. The second section reconstructs lifestyles of Precolumbian society in ancient Panama. The third section analyzes the tantalizing iconography found on Sitio Conte goldwork and ceramics to help viewers interpret aspects of a long-lost ideology. The sophisticated metallurgical processes by which the goldsmiths of Sitio Conte achieved extraordinary results are thoughtfully explained in the final section of the exhibition. River of Gold: Precolumbian Treasures from Sitio Conte is not only visually stunning, it also gives viewers an invaluable glimpse into a Panamanian society as it was 1,000 years ago.

What's Happening in the Museums - September 2010

1. FORT WORTH, TX.- Rarely does an exhibition offer an entirely fresh way of viewing the art of a great civilization. Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea does exactly that––by revealing and interpreting the importance of water to the ancient Maya. Shark teeth, stingray spines, sea creatures and waterfowl appear in works of stone and clay; supernatural crocodiles breathe forth rain; cosmic battles take place between mythic beasts and deities—all part of a new and vivid picture of the Maya worldview. Over 90 works, many recently excavated and never before seen in the United States, offer exciting insights into the culture of the ancient Maya, focusing on the sea as a defining feature of the spiritual realm and the inspiration for powerful visual imagery. Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean ... More
2. CLEVELAND (AP).- The Cleveland Museum of Art has hired a new director. He's David Franklin, the deputy director of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. He replaces Deborah Gribbon, who became interim director last year when Timothy Rub left to take the top job at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Franklin is an Italian Renaissance and baroque art scholar. He has lived and worked in his native Canada and in London, Oxford and Rome. The appointment of the 49-year-old Franklin was announced Thursday night. It comes as the Cleveland museum heads into the final three years of a $350 million renovation and expansion. The museum says its collection contains more than 30,000 artworks spanning thousands of years. ... More
3. CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Museum of Art has reached a milestone in its eight-year, $350 million expansion and renovation with new galleries for its Greek, Roman and early Christian and Byzantine treasures. The museum offered a media preview of the galleries on Friday and opens them to the public on Saturday. Admission is free.
The new galleries in the museum's iconic 1916 neoclassical building hold items spanning 5,000 years. Art history and humanities chair Gerald Guest at John Carroll University says the project will provide what he calls "an extraordinary canvas" to show off one of America's great art collections.

4. LOS ANGELES (AP).- Billionaire Eli Broad said Monday he had chosen an expanding downtown cultural district for a new museum to showcase his collection of art that includes works by Salvador Dali and Joan Miro. The developer-turned-philanthropist made his announcement minutes after a committee of state and local officials voted to let him lease county-owned land along Grand Avenue for the structure that could cost as much as $100 million. The 35,000 square feet of gallery space will feature paintings, sculptures and photos from Broad's 2,000-piece collection, which includes works not currently on permanent public display. "There's lots of art to go around," Broad said after the vote by the Grand Avenue Authority. "We want to show our art to the widest possible audience." The Broad Art Foundation will also coordinate loans of artwork to other museums from the planned venue totaling 120,000 square feet. Under the deal for the land, the foundation will pay $7.7 million over the cou ... More

5. BENTONVILLE, ARK.- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has acquired two stellar examples of Pop art by the artists who defined and shaped the movement. Dolly Parton (1985), painted late in Andy Warhol’s career, expressed his life-long fascination with celebrity and glamour in a dazzling homage to the Queen of Country Music. In Standing Explosion (Red) (1966) Roy Lichtenstein translated one of his signature comic book motifs into a burst of three-dimensional form. Both works capture the dazzling energy of American consumer culture while employing mechanical processes and materials, a hallmark of the Pop art movement. With her big hair, purple eye shadow and vivid red lips, Dolly Parton embodies the glamour that makes her a worthy successor to the pantheon of iconic superstars immortalized by Warhol in the 1960s. Characteristic of his celebrity ... More

6. DALLAS, TX.- The Dallas Museum of Art will present a significant look at African visual culture through African Masks: The Art of Disguise, a new exhibition of approximately seventy works of art exploring the highly developed and enduring art of the African mask and revealing their timeless beauty, function, and meaning. Centered on the DMA’s distinguished collection of African art, acclaimed as one of the top five of its kind in the United States and which has set precedents since its inception 40 years ago, African Masks: The Art of Disguise features several works of art from the Museum’s collection that will be displayed for the first time. Significant works from other museum and private collections are also included in the exhibition. African masks serve as supports for the spirit of deities, ancestors and culture heroes, which may be personified as human or animal, or a composite. Masked performances, he ... More
7. KANSAS CITY, MO.- Julián Zugazagoitia begins his post Wednesday, Sept. 1, as the fifth Director & CEO of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. An international scholar, museum director and consultant, he has served for the past seven years as the Director/CEO of El Museo del Barrio in New York. Already Zugazagoitia has become known among Board of Trustees members and the community as a personable leader who is enthusiastic about the arts. He has pledged to use his first weeks listening and learning about the Museum’s distinguished, encyclopedic collection and getting to know staff, volunteers and donors. During his first year, Zugazagoitia will explore the most remarkable treasures from the Museum’s 33,500 works of art in a monthly series of Thursday-evening conversations called Art Tasting with Julián. Beginning Oct. 21, Zugazagoitia and a curator will bring to life the finest works of each collection in the series. ... More

8. HOUSTON, TX - Many of us, when we hear the phrase "African art," think of the kind of masks and sculpture that inspired modern artists such as Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and Amedeo Modigliani. Designed to represent spiritual characteristics rather than to portray an individual, they feature heavily stylized features and abstract shapes.
Recent reinstallations of Houston's two leading African art galleries — the Menil Collection's in 2008 and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's this summer — have given visitors ample opportunities to study and appreciate these incredible objects. But both galleries omit a chapter of African art history most people outside of Nigeria have no idea occurred because of laws keeping cultural property in the country.
A landmark traveling exhibition that makes its U.S. premiere Sunday at the MFAH after three European stops is about to change that. More than 100 magnificent copper, terra-cotta and stone sculptures from the ancient West African city-state of Ife (pronounced ee-fay), now a city in southwest Nigeria, display a level of sophistication and realism we normally associate with the European Renaissance.
But Ife sculptors mastered human anatomy, proportion and metal casting significantly earlier. Most of the work in Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria was created between the ninth and 15th centuries. More (

9. LONDON, Unted Kingdon - Sainsbury family donates £25m to British Museum
The British Museum is located in Bloomsbury, London Two charitable trusts established by the Sainsbury family have donated £25m to the British Museum in what is thought to be one of the biggest gifts to the arts for two decades. The Linbury Trust, established by Conservative peer Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover in the 1970s, will pay £12.5m to the museum over the next three years.
A further £12.5 million will come from the Monument Trust established by Lord Sainsbury's late brother Simon. The money will go towards a major redevelopment of the London museum's facilities, helping fund a new World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre. A spokeswoman for the museum described the donations as "incredibly generous". The gift was a vital part of a project which would "benefit future generations". "This is an incredibly important project for the British Museum and has been planned for a long time," the spokeswoman added.

10. NEW ORLEANS, LA - New Orleans Museum of Art Names Susan M. Taylor New Museum Director E. John Bullard will retire as Museum Director after 37 years at NOMA
NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) announces the appointment of Susan M. Taylor as Director Designate. She will officially become the Museum's sixth director on September 1, 2010. Taylor will succeed E. John Bullard, who will retire as one of America's longest-serving museum directors. Bullard will remain on staff as Director Emeritus to aid Taylor in the transition and will continue to work on NOMA's centennial celebrations throughout 2011. "As NOMA commemorates a century of art, I am thrilled that Susan Taylor has been selected to lead the Museum into its next chapter of service and success," Bullard said. "I have known her for a number of years and know that she is an outstanding choice to lead our institution." A museum director for over 20 years, Taylor most recently directed Princeton University Art Museum, where she is well-known for instituting wide-ranging innovations in collections development, planning, programming and outreach. She is also deeply involved in the ongoing debate about collection ownership and cultural property issues, having successfully resolved several ownership claims for works of art in Princeton's collection. "I am delighted to be joining a museum of the caliber of NOMA," Taylor said. "To follow John's legacy and write the next chapter of the Museum's history is a remarkable opportunity." Taylor is the former director of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College. During her twelve-year tenure at Wellesley, she oversaw the construction of an award-winning museum facility designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. She holds art history degrees from Vassar College and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Bullard's retirement from NOMA has been planned for nearly a year. In September 2009, the Museum Board formed a search committee and in October enlisted the services of Laurie Nash of Russell Reynolds Associates. Taylor was selected from a large field of applicants. "Susan Taylor was selected from a field of strong candidates thanks to Laurie Nash of Russell Reynolds Associates," said Donna Rosen, trustee and member of NOMA's Search Committee. "I spoke to many museum directors around the country about Susan. Words that came up most often while describing her were 'imaginative, encyclopedic knowledge of the history of art, high standards, seizes opportunities, visionary, intelligent and of our time.' In fact, through the search process, all of these accolades were revealed." "NOMA is a true jewel in New Orleans' cultural crown and building on the great job John Bullard has done is a daunting task," said Stephen Hansel, president of NOMA's Board of Directors and Chairman of the Search Committee. "Susan Taylor was our Search Committee's overwhelming first choice because of her broad experience, charm, contacts and managerial expertise. We are confident that she will lead NOMA to even greater heights."
11. WASHINGTON, DC.- The Phillips Collection reopens Saturday, September 4 after closing due to a renovation-related fire on the roof of the Phillips House. The Phillips House will remain closed for repairs until further notice. All other galleries will open, including those where special exhibitions Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings and Robert Ryman: Variations and Improvisations are on view through September 12, 2010. Regular museum admission is waived for the month of September; visitor contributions by donation are gladly accepted. Interruptions to programming schedule may occur. Visitors should check for updates at The Phillips Collection has received an outpouring of support from friends and colleagues in the city of Washington, D.C. and across the nation since the fire. Director Dorothy Kosinski says, “All of us at the Phillips are tremendously grateful for the countless ... More