Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Kim Kolker and Andy Warhol

In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to appraise a print by an artist who just continues to set auction records.

A client who in the 1990s purchased a signed and numbered Warhol print " Mick Jagger 140" found that her initial purchase price of $5,000, has since grown to a retail replacement cost in a gallery of approximately $90,000.  Signed by both Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol, this print was part of a series of 10 screenprints from 1975, in an edition of 250 with 50 artist proofs and 3 printer proofs, based on Warhol's own photographs. 

Warhol's work has been overall steadily gaining in price since the 1990s. Last time I checked Artnet.com, there were 331 galleries and auction houses that were selling his work.  Artcyclopedia lists his work as part of the collections of 144 museums worldwide. It is almost impossible to understand today's world of advertising and graphic design without knowing of Warhol's work. Certainly, a study of his current market influence could take someone months of studies, so I will not even attempt a crude condensation. However, I will say that even in craft stores like Michael's, one can purchase a Warhol-inspired canvas print of your favorite photo, one photo repeated in four equal quadrants and printed in bright, flat colors like a silkscreen print.

In 1986 I had the pleasure of meeting Warhol at a Dallas local bookstore signing for his book "America". It is primarily a picture book of 10 years of black and white Polaroid archives, culled from his exposure to the famous and elite like Betty Davis, Sylvester Stallone, Pee Wee Herman or Madonna, to anonymous crowds on American streets, accompanied by his own commentary. I was told much later that none of the pictures were actually taken by Andy. For a long time I thought this was true.  Just a little fun Andy was having and the joke was on me.  Now I am not so sure.  Given that he once called himself, "deeply superficial", I might never know. Let the buyer beware.

Pictures of the Month November 2010

Japanese Maple in North Carolina

Aurora Borealis, Canada

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia

Some Thoughts From Me for November 2010

Recently I seem to be repeating myself when I say that this world cannot get much crazier, but it always does. When the bumper sticker of the moment is literally centered about what the federal government can and cannot due with a citizen's junk, I tempted to believe that we may be approaching the limit of insanity. However, for your benefit and mine I won't even suggest that things can't get any wackier (spelling). Actually, with all the truly serious things going on - personal insanity and government stupidity becomes almost a bit of humorous relief.

On a serious note Roadshow lost a great guy and a true professional in Barry Weber who died last month of cancer. I spent some time with him this summer laughing with him at a late dinner in Billings, Montana  and then later in Miami Beach listening to his horrendous karaoke. (For the record  I am much worse).  In retrospect I am certain he knew how sick he was but kept it from all of us. It was his moment and he planned to play it his way. I respect Barry and genuinely liked him. He will be missed.

In this issue I have given you an update of  Fisk University selling off part of their Okeefe collection to Crystal Bridges in Arkansas. I get the fact that things change and sometimes you have to make tough decisions; however, Okeefe specifically said the collection could not be sold. In previous issues I have commented on how little our last wishes really mean and cited George Heye and  Albert Barnes as examples of philanthropists who also lost their battles in abstentia. The Fisk board provided only a pathetic defense of their actions. The judge in the case attempted a Solomonic resolution by not cutting the baby in half but it still didn't feel right.

My Park West articles - there now two new ones on the blog - point out sadly how even professionals that work in and around the art world sometimes fail to understand very basic elements in the buying, selling, insuring, and appraising of art. When this happens and expectations are not met then clearly bad things happen. I don't plan to wade into the legal swamp on this case. Park West Gallery is a very sophisticated operation and they know precisely what they are doing. Park West has carefully measured their liability and seemingly have a strategy to defend their actions. These legal cases will decide whether these strategies should prevail in the marketplace. The Park West case dramatically proves why we need more qualified personal property appraisers in the U.S. and Canada. We are now at around 2000 trained personal property appraisers - which is down 30% from a decade ago. And for people needing a job in a down economy there is plenty of work in this area.

Social Media and ArtTrak

In the past few months all those that work here at the gallery were convinced that we didn't have another minute to take on new projects and challenges. Well we were wrong. Many of you may recall a few short months ago when we introduced a new intern named Courtney Brown. Courtney finished the internship and is now on the ArtTrak payroll as a social media expert. You can already see big changes on our Facebook and Twitter sites. Soon we will be addressing another issue that  we face constantly. As a result of our participation on Antiques Roadshow, the Tribal Art Dealers Association, and our 36 years in business we spend a great deal of time answering questions from our clients, friends, and folks just researching on the Internet. We will soon begin answering these questions in HD video segments that will  be posted on Utube and linked off our various sites. If you have thoughts or requests on issues you want us to address, let us know.  JB

Breaking News at Teotihuacan Nov 2010

MEXICO CITY.- Iconographic studies of Teotihuacan murals confirm the extension of the lineage of a ruler of the ancient city of Tikal, Guatemala, already revealed by epigraphists of the Maya area. The aforementioned investigation sums up to interpretations of Stele 31 of Tikal that relate to the dynastic line of Atlatl-Cauac (“Dart-thrower Owl”), possible ruler of Teotihuacan between 374 and 439 AD, and whose son, Yax Nuun Ayiin I, was seignior of Tikal. The emblem of this lineage would be represented by the image of a bird with a shield, observed in Teotihuacan murals, declared Dr. Raul Garcia Chavez, researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). There would be a relation between the register at Tikal and other Maya sites of late 4th century, which refers to the son of Atlatl-Cauac, Yax Nuun Ayiin I, as ruler of Tikal between 379 and 404 AD, commented the researcher during his participation at the 6th Academic Conference of Archaeology at Templo Mayor Museum. The archaeologist from Estado de Mexico INAH Center, remarked that a series of enthroned figures with eye rings and headdress began appearing at iconographic register of Teotihuacan from 370 of the Common Era, possibly symbolizing the supreme ruler of the Central High Plateau city. Iconography apparently indicates that the Teotihuacan ruler “was part of a clan whose emblem was an owl with a shield crossed by a hand taking up a dart or the dart-thrower. Sometimes it was represented with a cotton tassel headdress and the eye rings; others, without eye rings but enthroned”, explained the specialist. “Evidence (at Teotihuacan) is fragmented. Some representations at the murals, among them a green-feathered bird with a dart-thrower (atlatl) and a shield, could refer to this character “Dart-thrower Owl” or maybe to his representation as a mythic element”.
“This representation has been found in many examples of Teotihuacan mural painting. Nevertheless, most paintings are fragmented so iconographic discourse is incomprehensible”. Archaeologist Jorge Angulo Villaseñor, from INAH Direction of Archaeological Studies, commented that it is hard to believe that arrival of Teotihuacan people to Tikal and other Maya cities like Copan and Kamilnaljuyu, also in Guatemala, derived from a military conquest, since troop supply seems like an enormous effort, so it is feasible that there were political alliances. “In Teotihuacan there is a fragmented iconographic system that given the formal similarities makes sense. Numerous representations found in the Central High Plateau are evidence of a representation-communication system with a specific purpose, maybe veneration and exaltation of a group of persons, in this case, the supreme ruler of Teotihuacan, Atlatl-Cauac and his genealogy”, concluded Dr. Garcia.

MEXICO CITY.- The first images of the interior of the tunnel found under the Feathered Serpent Temple, in Teotihuacan, captured by a small robot introduced by archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), were presented to the media due to the relevance of the event in the history of Mexican archaeological research.
This is the first time a robot is integrated to archaeological exploration in Mexico; a similar devise was used in Egypt 10 years ago to explore a tomb.
Tlaloque 1, named after the mythological beings that helped Tlaloc, covered the first stretch of a tunnel that has not been walked for 1,800 years. Images reveal that the passageway built more than 2,000 years ago to represent the underworld, is stable enough to be explored by archaeologists soon.
During the presentation of the images to communication media representatives, the INAH national coordinator of Archaeology, Salvador Guilliem, was present. It was mentioned that this robotic device adds up to the technologies used by archaeologists in this project. Several weeks ago, geo radar was used to determine with precision that the tunnel conducts to 3 chambers, where the remains of important characters might have been buried.
Archaeologist Sergio Gomez Chavez, director of “Tlalocan Project: Underground Road”, informed that this is the first time that this kind of device is used in Mexico; “Apparently it had been used in Egypt, and us, as INAH researchers, are the first ones to develop it and use it in our country”.
Tlaloque 1 is a 30 by 50 centimeters by 20 in height, 4x4 traction vehicle. It is equipped with 2 remote-controlled camcorders that are able to do 360 degree turns; one at the front and the other at the back. The device has its own illumination source and transmits images to a computer monitor in the exterior.
Gomez Chavez mentioned that 3 months ago, it was programmed to use a device that could get into the tunnel and capture images of the interior, to evaluate the risks of entering the tunnel, since it has remained closed for thousands of years.
“The robot was designed and built especially for this investigation by engineer in Robotics Hugo Armando Guerra Calva, who obtained his degree at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico (IPN). Fifteen days ago the first tests were conducted and it worked well, but we noticed that we needed to reduce the height of the devise and provide it with more potent lamps.
“In the first test the robot advanced a few meters through a small space between the vault and the debris used to fill the tunnel. Images were very important to determine the conditions of the interior: the conduct was excavated in the rock; in some parts, the marks of tools used by Teotihuacan masons are still evident. The roof presents an arched form, and, at least the part explored by the robot, appears stable, giving us many possibilities to explore it physically in the next weeks”.
Although the tunnel was intentionally filled up with rocks and debris, Tlaloque 1 was able to cover a few meters through a 25 centimeters high space. Excavations must be conducted in order to clear the entrance. “We calculate we will be able to enter the tunnel in early December 2010”, declared archaeologist Gomez.
He declared that the device also captured details of the great carved rocks inside the tunnel: apparently they are sculptures or perfectly carved rocks, of great weight and dimensions, introduced by Teotihuacan people to close the entrance between 200 and 250 of the Common Era, nearly 1,800 years ago”.
The surface to be passed by the robot is covered with fine dust and sand, which provoked it to skid, so it was decided to increase the potency of the 4 engines to improve traction.
Two months after INAH announced the discovery of the tunnel, archaeologists have achieved to unblock the mouth of the Prehispanic passageway. After getting to the floor, it was confirmed with the help of a geo radar device, that it is nearly 2.5 meters high 4 meters wide and 100 long.
“Studies conducted with geo radar by Dr. Victor Manuel Velasco, from the Geo Physics Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), have detected 3 chambers in which the remains of important personages of the city might have been buried; this hypothesis must be confirmed with exploration”.
The tunnel was discovered in late 2003 by archaeologists Sergio Gomez and Julie Gazzola, but its exploration has required years of planning and resource negotiation so the most advanced technology can be used. A laser scanner device, which belongs to the INAH National Coordination of Historical Monuments, has also been used to conduct the 3-dimensional register of the tunnel.
Investigations –part of the celebration of the first 100 years of archaeological exploration and inauguration of public visits to Teotihuacan – have allowed to verify that the tunnel was constructed before the Feathered Serpent Temple and the Citadel, structures that were the scenario of rituals linked to original creation myths, while the tunnel must have been related to the underworld concept.

Fisk/Crystal Bridges Update November 2010

In her latest astonishing Memorandum and Order, issued today, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled that Fisk University can sell a half-share in its Stieglitz Collection to Alice Walton's planned Crystal Bridges Museum for $30 million. But what Lyle giveth with one hand, she taketh away with the other: The financially struggling university can use only $10 million of the windfall "for its viability."

The remaining $20 million must be "removed from Fisk and used to endow a Nashville connection for the collection." Income from that endowment, estimated by the judge at "$1 million or less each year," would be paid to Fisk to maintain and display the collection. If the teetering university were to close, the money would stay with the collection, securing its future in Nashville.

This 35-page ruling would let Crystal Bridges get its hands on Fisk's modernist American masterpieces (contrary to the no-sale stipulation made by the collection's donor, artist Georgia O'Keeffe), but would deny the university most of its desired "large infusion of cash," without which, Fisk has repeatedly maintained, it "cannot continue to operate." This is a lose-lose decision.

Over the Tennessee Attorney General's vigorous objections, the judge has allowed this violation of donor intent on the grounds that Fisk needs money to survive and that "without Fisk, Nashville would never have been the beneficiary of the Collection." Hobbs Lyle believes that the $10 million is enough to keep the place afloat, while other funds are sought.

In its initial response to the ruling, the AG's Office has stated:

We are disappointed with the approval of the Stieglitz Collection's sale to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas contrary to the express wishes of the donor....This is a lengthy and intricate opinion, which we will continue to analyze as we review our options.
The AG has, over the course of this case, endorsed several Nashville-only solutions for the collection, the most recent being the establishment of a new endowment, to be funded by Fisk alumna Carol Creswell-Betch, which would, in the AG's words, "allow the art to be displayed on the Fisk campus full time at no cost to the university."

Fisk asserts that it needs much less (a mere $130,000 a year) to maintain its collection than the $1 million that might be generated by the court-mandated $20-million Crystal Bridges-funded endowment. What's more, in a statement responding to the latest ruling, the university revealed that some additional Walton largess may be in the offing:

Alice Walton has agreed to fund an endowment of $1,000,000 which is to be used for the support and maintenance of the Collection. Clearly, the funds that will be produced from this endowment will generate many times the amount actually needed to maintain the gallery, support the Collection and provide for art education.
This reopening of Alice's coffers suggests a new question: Might Walton decide to sweeten Fisk's pot with additional funds to defray debts and support general operations, if the collection-sharing gambit, green-lighted by the court, goes through? And who, we wonder, is defraying the impecunious university's legal bills through years of litigation?

Let the appeals begin! On second thought, let's just forget the whole thing. Crystal Bridges' unseemly megabucks collection-raiding campaign has dragged on way too long.

The Association of Art Museum Directors, which has publicly decried Fisk's planned monetization of its collection, must immediately assert---not just to the university, over which it has little sway, but, more importantly, to the Arkansas museum's officials---that this deal violates professional museum guidelines. Any effort to induce another collecting institution to violate ethical standards is in itself a violation.

Furthermore, the association should unequivocally declare that if this deal goes through, any application by Crystal Bridges' director, Don Bacigalupi, to join the ranks of his colleagues at AAMD will be dead on arrival.

Maya Vase - Picture of the Month November 2010 - Kerr 532

African art Picture of the Month - November 2010

Triple headed Boki headdress c. Early 20th century

Nigeria, West Africa

At the Auctions - What's Hot

Although a number of auction records have been set in the past several months, clearly Chinese art has been, is , and will be hot. This may be saying something more about the growth of the Chinese economy rather than acting as an indicator of a worldwide recovery.

1. LONDON (AP).- It was just an old Chinese vase that had been in the family for 80 years. It turned out to be much more. When the intricately painted 18th-century piece went on the block at Bainbridges, a small suburban London auction house, it sold for a record $83 million Thursday, scooped up by a Chinese buyer. "How do you anticipate the Chinese market?" asked the shocked auctioneer, Peter Bainbridge. "It's totally on fire." The sale price was more than 40 times the pre-sale estimate and a record for a Chinese work of art — an outcome Bainbridge called "a fairy tale" for the family who owned the vase.

2.  LONDON.- In the wake of Sotheby’s record-breaking Autumn sales series in Hong Kong, which totalled over HK$3 billion, Sotheby’s biannual sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art in London will take place on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 and presents for sale over 350 lots. The auction, estimated to realise approximately £5.76 million, will be headlined by a Magnificent Blue and White 'Peony' Jar, Guan, Yuan Dynasty, mid 14th century. A magnificent Blue and White ‘Peony’ Jar, Guan, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) comes to auction from a Private Portuguese Collection, with an estimate of £400,000-600,000 (lot 32, illustrated on catalogue cover). Blue and white wares are undoubtedly one of the greatest contributions to the art of ceramics in history. In shape, design and painting style, the present vessel is an archetypal example of the 14th century blue and white porcelain

3.  LONDON.- A new record has been set for any single print sold at auction with the sale of Pablo Picasso’s La Minotauromachie for £1,273,250 / $1,987,416 at Sotheby’s in London . The print eclipsed the pre-sale high estimate of £600,000 (the estimate was £400,000-600,000). Discussing the sale, James Mackie, Sotheby’s Prints specialist, said: “A new record has been set for any single print sold at auction with the sale of Pablo Picasso’s La Minotauromachie for £1,273,250. Pablo Picasso was the most important and innovative printmaker of the Modern period and he has been credited with the creation of some of the most significant works in the medium’s five-hundred-year history. La Minotauromachie is considered to be the artist’s masterpiece of printmaking. It reflects key themes of the artist and demonstrates a mastery of technique that is unsurpassed.

4. NEW YORK, NY.- In a sign that fine art collectors are growing ever more comfortable with bidding online, Christie’s International reports that the top lot in Thursday’s sale of The Sze Yuan Tang Archaic Bronzes from the Anthony Hardy Collection sold for $3.3 million to an online bidder, setting a new house record for the most expensive item sold online. The sale price smashed the previous Christie’s online sales of $1.27 million, set in April 2008 for a Stradavari violin purchased online using Christie’s LIVE™, the company’s proprietary online bidding platform. The new record of $3.3 million was set by an American collector who competed against bidders in the saleroom and on the phone to win the rare Chinese bronze wine vessel Fangyi, from the late Shang dynasty.

5. NEW YORK - Christies auction house - The top lot of Christie's 10 November Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York was Roy Lichtenstein's Pop Art masterpiece Ohhh...Alright... which achieved $42,642,500, establishing a new world auction record for the artist. Painted in 1964 using his signature Ben-Day dots, Lichtenstein’s image of a blue-eyed, flame haired beauty illustrates the brash comic styling of the artist’s most celebrated period of artistic production. (RT: 1:52)

 6. HONG KONG - Asian buyers dominated as Sotheby’s kicked off its week of Hong Kong sales with an auction of contemporary and modern art. “Chapter of a New Century – Birth of the People’s Republic of China II,” a painting of a baby by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang, led the way with a price of $6.9 million, a record for the artist. The winning bidder reportedly represented a Shanghai museum. While just 77% of the 485 lots found buyers, a number of other works sold above estimates, including Zeng Fanzhi’s 1994 “Mark Series No.5,”($2.18 million), and Cai Guo-Qiang’s screen “Man, Eagle and Eye in the Sky:People ($1.53 million). In another session, Indonesian works dominated Sotheby’s auction of modern and contemporary Southest Asian art. The highest priced lot  was S. Sudjojono’s 1956 “A New Dawn,” which sold for 1.38 million, more than four times its highest estimate.

What's Happening in the Museums November 2010

1. NEW YORK, NY.- The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it would undertake a comprehensive, multi-year effort to redesign and rebuild the four-block-long outdoor plaza that fronts its landmark Fifth Avenue façade. The project will feature as one of its centerpiece elements the design and installation of all-new fountains outside the museum building.

2.  INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The most extensive exhibition ever mounted of Thornton Dial’s painting and sculpture will premiere at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, on view from February 25, 2011, to May 15, 2011. Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial will highlight the artist’s significant contribution to the field of American art and show how Dial’s work speaks to the most pressing issues of our time—including the War in Iraq, 9/11, and social issues like racism and homelessness. The exhibition will present 70 of Dial’s large-scale paintings, drawings and found-object sculptures spanning twenty years of his artistic career—including 25 works on view for the first time.

3. LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will present a major exhibition to debut its new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion. The Resnick Pavilion will open to the public in October 2010 with Olmec: Masterworks of Ancient Mexico. The inaugural exhibition will highlight the diversity of the museum’s encyclopedic collection and programming, as well as the flexibility of the Renzo Piano-designed pavilion. The new 45,000 square foot building—the cornerstone of Phase II of LACMA’s ongoing Transformation—will be the largest purpose-built, naturally lit museum space in the world. The opening exhibition will showcase this vast new space with monumental, twenty-ton ancient Olmec heads.

4. TORONTO.- The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), organizer of the Canadian tour of The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Warriors exhibition, announced that the out-of-country loan of Terracotta artifacts from China is unable to be extended beyond one year to Canada. As a result, the museums that planned to exhibit the artifacts during the second year of the tour, Calgary's Glenbow Museum and the Royal BC Museum will be unable to do so. The exhibition will travel as planned to Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts to a highly-anticipated opening in February 2011, as this scheduled stop is within the one-year time frame. The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army is achieving record attendance levels in Toronto, and an equivalent reaction was expected for subsequent western Canada venues.

5. MENOMONEE FALLS, WIS.- Today Kohl's Department Stores announced a more than $2.7 million donation over three years to the Milwaukee Art Museum that will continue the successful Kohl's Art Generation program launched in 2008 as well as create new programs for kids and families. Building on the $1 million contribution from Kohl's in 2008, this donation is the largest gift to an education initiative in the Museum's history. The donation comes from the Kohl's Cares(R) cause merchandise program, which sells special items, including plush toys and books, and donates 100 percent of the net profit to benefit children's health and education initiatives nationwide. One of Wisconsin's premiere destinations for art and culture, the Milwaukee Art Museum serves more than 300,000 visitors each year and is nationally recognized for its art education programming.

6. CHICAGO, IL -  The Art Institute of Chicago is suing a London engineering firm for what it calls delays and shoddy engineering in its Modern Wing addition that opened last year.  
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, cites $10 million in repairs and upgrades to the addition. Among the problems alleged in the suit were cracks in concrete floors, condensation clouding the main vestibule glass and an air-conditioning system that couldn't maintain a safe climate for artwork.
 The suit also alleges Ove Arup & Partners caused costly delays in the construction because metal blades for the "Flying Carpet" design of the roof required changes to prevent "a noticeable whistling sound on windy days," and the bridge connecting the museum to Millennium Park also needed modifications to achieve the "sharp, knife-like effect" envisioned by award-winning architect Renzo Piano's design.
 The suit said the engineering firm failed to offer any settlement after the Art Institute submitted a list of defects and expenses.

7. CLEVELAND, OH.- Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, a major traveling exhibition, developed by the Fenimore Art Museum, making its debut at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) in March 2010, explores Native North American art from the Eastern Woodlands to the Northwest through more than 140 masterpieces spanning 2,000 years. The exhibition provides visitors with a broad understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic accomplishments and cultural heritage of this country’s first peoples. Art of the American Indians opens at CMA on March 7, 2010, and runs through May 30 before traveling to Minneapolis and Indianapolis.

8.   BOSTON, MA. -  MFA ready to unveil soaring new $504m wing
November 12, 2010  -  For months, Tsugumi Maki Joiner has had the best office at the Museum of Fine Arts, a desk in the center of the museum’s new glassed-in courtyard, with its soaring 63-foot high ceiling. Now, it is time to move. This week, Joiner, manager of gallery planning and installation for the MFA, prepared to return to her old space, a room without windows. But Joiner did not have time to wallow. Deadlines were looming. Today, the MFA shows off its $504 million new Art of the Americas Wing to more than 100 representatives of the media as it hosts a dedication ceremony attended by Senator Scott Brown, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and other dignitaries. Tomorrow brings a $1,000-a-ticket gala put together by Bryan Rafanelli, the Boston party czar hot off Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. Sunday, the museum opens for MFA members — some 60,000 households — and then Nov. 20, it opens to the general public. That left Joiner and other staffers darting through the galleries to help with last-minute preparations.

9. ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Saint Louis Art Museum announced that Carolyn Danforth has initiated a series of donations that will bring the extraordinary collection of American Indian artworks assembled by her late husband, Donald Danforth Jr., to the Museum. In addition to Mrs. Danforth’s gift, the Danforth Foundation has pledged $2 million to name the Donald Danforth Jr. Gallery of Native American Art to house the collection. In the Saint Louis Art Museum’s 131-year history, a handful of generous patrons stand out for their transformational gifts of significant collections. “This gift transforms the Museum’s collection of Native American art,” said Museum Director Brent R. Benjamin. “The Museum is indebted to Carolyn Danforth and the entire Danforth family for their commitment to fulfilling Mr. Danforth’s legacy. This generosity is an inspiration for others in the St. Louis community and beyond.”

10.  BAGHDAD (AP).- More than 600 ancient artifacts that were smuggled out of Iraq, recovered and lost again have been found misplaced among kitchen supplies in storage at the prime minister's office, the antiquities minister said Monday. The 638 items include pieces of jewelry, bronze figurines and cylindrical seals from the world's most ancient civilizations that were looted from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. After their recovery, the U.S. military delivered them last year to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office, where they were misplaced and forgotten about. The artifacts, packed in sealed boxes, were misplaced because of poor coordination between the Iraqi government ministries

11. HOUSTON, TX - Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria makes its U.S. debut at the MFA Houston September 19, 2010 through January 9, 2011. The exhibition has been organized by the Museum for African Art, New York, and the Fundación Marcelino Botín, in Santander, Spain, in collaboration with the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, which has loaned all of the objects on view. ―This is the first exhibition of Ife art to reach the United States, and Houston is proud to be the venue for its debut,‖ said Dr. Peter C. Marzio, MFAH director. ―Ife artists possessed an advanced understanding of human anatomy, proportion, and metal-casting,creating artwork that is stylistically similar to European classical art, yet gorgeously original. Remarkably, the Ife people were creating these sculptures before the European Renaissance began.‖
―These sculptures were first excavated in 1910, and more were discovered in 1938 when builders laying the foundation of a house in Nigeria struck these cast-metal heads buried in the earth,said Frances Marzio, MFAH curator of the Glassell Collections and organizer of Dynasty and Divinity in Houston. ―Rarely seen outside of Nigeria, these ancient, lifelike sculptures are a revelation, enriching and expanding our vision of African art.

12. FORT WORTH, TX - Kimbell Museum - Fiery Pool, The Maya and the Mythic Sea - closes January 2, 2011 - The Maya viewed water as animate and intelligent, a living and thinking force with the power to influence events. Water was central to the structure of the universe and present at the beginning of time—oceans, rivers, springs, and rain were united, both literally and spiritually. This section features works of art that portray water in its various forms, including figures of Chahk, the god of rain and storms, a central deity in the Maya pantheonPainted ceramics and architectural fragments show water as the source of both life and fertility, and the sea as a fearsome place of the unknown. The Maya cosmos is represented by primordial beasts, such as the world crocodile and the world turtle, which symbolize Maya conceptions of the sea and the origins of their world.