Increasing the accessibility
of cultural capital
: "In New York, a place whose cultural institutions attract people from around the world, there are residents who not only have never visited those institutions but also some who have never even been uptown."
NYTimes: "The paleontologist Richard Leakey has called their removal a “sacrilege.”
Kenyan villagers have said their theft led to crop failure and ailing livestock. It is little wonder, then, that the long, slender wooden East African memorial totems known as vigango are creating a spiritual crisis of sorts for American museums." [more inside]
This week the Getty Museum announced that it is making 4600 digital images
of public domain materials in its collections freely available, with plans to release more as their status is confirmed. You can browse the collection here
, or take a look
at some selected highlights
. Want more free images? Try these repositories
The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. While its home, the grand Andrew Carnegie mansion in Manhattan, is currently undergoing a major renovation, you can still experience the richness of the collections through its Object of the Day
blog. Recent highlights range from scratch & sniff wallpaper
to the elegant simplicity of an Eames dining chair
On May 24th, 1813, Jane Austen visited a blockbuster art exhibition--the first major retrospective of Sir Joshua Reynolds
, the premier English portraitist of the 18th century. Debuting 200 years to the day later, What Jane Saw
is a room-by-room virtual recreation of the exhibition, based on the original catalog of the paintings and contemporary depictions of the building where it was held.
Last summer, the Museum of Modern Art took one of its best-known paintings off the wall, Jackson Pollock's One: Number 31, 1950
, so that it could be conserved. They've been blogging about the process
of restoring this dense, multi-layered work, including closeup photos
that reveal an earlier restoration in the mid-60s before it came to MOMA.
Confessions of a Genius Art Forger
— In one of Germany's greatest art scandals, former hippie and talented artist Wolfgang Beltracchi forged dozens of paintings over a period of 35 years, earning millions and fooling top collectors and museums. In a SPIEGEL interview, he reveals how he did it and why he eventually got caught. Photo Gallery.
Background... [more inside]
Closer to Van Eyck
is an ultra-high-resolution look at one of the greatest masterpieces of Flemish painting, the Ghent Altarpiece
) an astounding 100 billion pixels in size
. Stolen, with permission, from peacay's Twitter stream.
Throughout 2011, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been producing Connections
, a series of short audiovisual pieces in which various staff members talk about their favorite parts of the Met's vast holdings. The last of the 100 videos was posted today.
The Morgan Library Black Hours
, one of the world's most beautiful and striking illuminated manuscripts, has been digitized in its entirety
. Richly decorated in blue and gold on black vellum, it is one of a surviving handful of such manuscripts produced in late 15th century Bruges. (Poorer quality, but still interesting, images of another such work, the Black Hours of Charles the Bold
, are also online.
Paintings by Leonardo da Vinci are among the rarest and most coveted treasures in the museum world. So how did the National Gallery manage to assemble two thirds of the world's supply
for its new show Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan
The Corning Museum of Glass
), not to be confused with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington
, has named 60 favorites
of their own collection and campus. The choices range from ancient, like the glass "portrait"
of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep II
, to the scientific, like the initial 200-inch disk
intended for the Hale telescope at the Mt. Palomar observatory
, to modern sculpture, like Family Matter
by Jill Reynolds
. [more inside]
Bowing to pressure from right-wing critics, the National Portrait Gallery has decided to remove David Wojnarowicz's
film "A Fire in My Belly"
from its groundbreaking exhibit "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture"
. [more inside]
The Victoria and Albert Museum is using crowdsourcing to determine the best images, crops and enlargements
of items in its online database
. [more inside]
Want to see Trajan's Column
, Michelangelo’s David
(with or without fig leaf), and Notre Dame
all in one room? (Well, two rooms.)
The Victoria and Albert’s “Cast Courts
” are an amazing example of Victorian plaster casting
, allowing those who couldn't afford the Grand Tour
a chance to see great works of art and architecture.
In these difficult economic times, what's a museum to do? Is an art collection a financial asset or a trust to be held in perpetuity? These questions are being raised by The National Academy
in New York's recent sale (or "deaccessioning" in museum lingo) of two important paintings for $15 million to shore up its finances, first reported by Lee Rosenbaum's ArtsJournal blog.
The museum's director told The New York Times
that it was the only way for the 183-year-old academy, which runs a chronic operating deficit, to survive. The Association of Art Museum Directors censured the Academy
and called on its members to suspend any loans of art to the institution. New York lawyer Donn Zaretzky's ArtLaw Blog has
become ground zero for a fascinating debate involving art critics, museum directors, financial bloggers and others.
In 2006 in the Fitzwilliam Museum three enormous porcelain vases from seventeenth or eighteenth century China were smashed by a museum visitor who fell down the stairs. This presentation
"follows the vases' progress from scattered fragments to their redisplay in the Fitzwilliam Museum. The site includes slideshows, film clips of the conservation process and a timelapse of one of the vases under reconstruction". [more inside]
Visual Arts: No Revolution in Hyperspace
"A former insider laments the dumbing down of art museum websites." Nice, short overview of art museums and the web with good links.
Netsuke of the Meiji Period
is an online exhibit from the Los Angeles County Museum, noted for the depth of its collection. (more)
. The György Ráth Museum and the Ferenc Hopp Museum
also house a fine classic collection. (more)
. Today, netsuke carving is alive and well
- see the Kiho Collection
for one young master. If you would like to explore more sculpture for the hand
International Netsuke Society has a good link list to many excellent contemporary netsuke artists
An unexpected treasure trove online... The audioguides for Rome's city museums
are available as mp3s! Not only can you find guides
to one of the oldest public museums in the world, the Capitoline Museums
, but you can also hear several commentaries (including video)
on the ancient Roman Altar of Augustan Peace
, and download the audioguide
of both the Barracco Museum of Ancient Sculpture
, and that
of the Museum of Rome
. Download them before you go and save 5 euros at each museum, but they're *invaluable* even if you listen to them from home! Enjoy!!
"On September 30, 2006, for one day only, museums across the country will join the Smithsonian Institution in its long-standing tradition of offering free admission to visitors
DADA Hits the MOMA. DaDaism
was an art movement that arose prior to the rubble of WW1 where the artists
led a creative revolution that shaped the course of modern art by combining different mediums to create a message of protest and hope. The MOMA exhibit
tells one story (scroll to data and select full program - req flash 7)
and the New Yorker reaffirms
the influence on art today. However, the real story is with Richard Huelsenbeck
, the ring leader and founder of the DaDa movement An interview with him from December 1960 (45 mins mp3)
explains the start - as one of the few German artists in protest to the war. My favourite part is where he tells of picking out the name DaDa from an encyclopedia at a cabaret.
William Blake's Grave.
Museums and galleries only have a few weeks left to save William Blake
watercolour illustrations accompanying Robert Blair
’s poem “The Grave
”, before they are dispersed
at auction in New York on 2 May.
Sir John Soane
(1753-1837) was responsible for the design of quite a few of London’s public buildings
(and to some extent, its phonebooths
). His home, now a museum
, is filled to the brim with architectural relics, sculptures, paintings, drawings, stained glass, and assorted curiosities. Almost unchanged since his death, it also contains the gravesite
of his wife’s beloved dog Fanny, a mummified rat, an Egyptian sarcophagus
, and an imaginary monk named Padre Giovanni. Best of all, on the first Tuesday of every month the museum has a candlelight tour which enhances the spooky splendor
of the rooms.
The ransack of Italy
is finally becoming big news. The Getty
had a reputation for buying
Italian antiquities of "uncertain provenance". It recently returned
, but has remained
in the market
; it also kept the Morgantina
. But, perhaps, not for much longer. Marion True, a
senior curator there, has just
been indicted by the Italian authorities
"on criminal charges
involving the acquisition of precious antiquities".
Painted beehive panels
(accompanying article here
) from the Museum of Apiculture
[virtual tour, flash] in Radovljica, Slovenia.
MoMA Free Tomorrow for New York MeFi Readers!
Well, everyone, actually. The Museum of Modern Art in New York reopens tomorrow and graciously offers a day of free entrance for all. Your chance to avoid the much-criticized $20 admission (views: con
). Even good old free-admission Fridays
bear the price tag of aggressive name-branding
[paragraph 6] by an image-crazy donor (it's not charity anymore if it's advertising, folks, much less design-heady classiness-by-association). Some reports
(scroll) from the press preview
While trying to find anything about Japp Drupsteen's
odd video piece Hyster Pulsatu
(which I saw years ago on the sadly defunct Alive from off Center
aka Alive TV
and badly want to see again) I came across the site of the Netherlands Media art Institute Montevide/Time Based Arts
collection. Quite an interesting catalogue
, with many samples. No consumer releases, though they do rent
tapes and discs for institutional screenings.
- A Virtual Art Museum.
"Time passes, or rather doesn't pass.
It is just there, solid as a coffee mug
on the diner's counter
. Time hangs
like the reek of old tobacco in the hotel furniture
". We all think we know Edward Hopper
's images, even if we've never seen his paintings
. Somehow the solidity of the world
-- even the sky is like a wall
-- is at odds with the transience
of the people
in it, however long they sit
. Hopper's people, like Manet
, often appear consumed by the irreducible business of being
, too, would descend into his own silences
, would delay himself in self-doubt... (more inside)
As the Wiki
Insecula: L'encyclopédie des arts et de l'architecture is a French language art website containing images and descriptions of thousands of works of art from major museums and collections in France and elsewhere, including the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Palace of Versailles, the Centre Pompidou, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MOMA.
But it's not just museums and art. It's got Mayan ruins
, and of course lots of Paris streets
. I can't believe plep hasn't posted this already...
: bridging science & culture through contemporary art.
Daniel Rozin makes mirrors
. But not the
boring ones we're used to -- he prefers to make his out of wood
and occassionally, shiny balls
. His works are a combination of artistic expression and computer vision, and have been on display
around the world. Check out the quicktime videos of his mirrors in action
and prepare your mind to be boggled. [via cool/lame]
They Still Draw Pictures.
Drawings made by children during the Spanish Civil War.
The On-Line Picasso Project
offers 6,893 works for your ogling pleasure, plus an obsessively documented chronological bio. I'm stunned. (please read the user's manual, inside.)
: The Dutch and Othe Foreigners in Nagasaki and Yokohama 1800-1865
Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle
Multimedia artist Matthew Barney, 36, is almost universally fawned over by critics
and is hailed as the most important artist to come along in years. In a stunning installation at NYC's Guggenheim Museum
, he's made the museum into a bit player in his massive gesamtkunstwerk
. And now this gorgeous website
ups the ante on Flash-based sites. In addition to all this, the soundtracks from his Cremaster series by Jonathan Bepler
are breaking new ground in modern composition. Oh, yeah, Matthew Barney is the dad of Bjork's
child. Where does it end?
Celebrity Caricature in America.
The website of a 1998 exhibition at the (US) National Portrait Gallery. Via the National Portrait Gallery's online exhibitions
, where there are even more fine things.
Museums in Japan
: 387 total. Many in English.
Many of the paintings of this famous Dutch museum can now be viewed online.
Italy privatizes its culture.
At least that's what will happen when a bill turning management of all of its museums sails through the Parliament this week. Critics of the Berlesconi-driven measure say that trying to turn culture into a profit center is foolish as there are only a few attractions that make any money now.
I MUST go see this exhibit in San Francisco.
If I had to choose my favorite artistic medium, and the greatest practitioner of that medium, it would be the amazing black and white landscape photos by Ansel Adams.
Despite major American museums' and academia's unwillingness to host his Palestine Poster Project,
Dan Walsh has continued for 20 years on his quest to educate Americans about the Palestinian culture and cause with his collection of 3,200 original Palestinian solidarity posters. He has posted about a hundred of them
in the online gallery at his Liberation Graphics
website. He also has a fascinating collection of Che Guevera posters
as part of his Cuba Poster Project.