Artists Covertly Scan Bust of Nefertiti and Release the Data for Free Online: Al-Badri and Nelles take issue, for instance, with the Neues Museum’s method of displaying the bust, which apparently does not provide viewers with any context of how it arrived at the museum — thus transforming it and creating a new history tantamount to fiction, they believe. Over the years, the bust has become a symbol of German identity, a status cemented by the fact that the museum is state-run, and many Egyptians have long condemned this shaping of identity with an object from their cultural heritage. (project link: The Other Nefertiti)
As an archivist, my ethical duty is to maintain those objects of intrinsic value to future generations. I’ve often found that others assume my profession is focused on facts and figures, the hard data from which a census or otherwise lifeless historical record can be drawn. Such data will inform one on how a people survived. As important as this data is, it cannot tell you how a people dreamed. [more inside]
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."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim offer 474 free art books online. 99 art catalogs from the Guggenheim. 375 MetPublications. An example: Masterpieces of Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art [more inside]
Saturday, September 26th, the Smithsonian museum family and their affiliates will be hosting a free admission event, if you go to their MUSEUM DAY site and print out the admission coupon. One coupon = 1+ admission. [more inside]
Circuits are flipping on in the nation's attic. A couple of weeks ago, 31 "digerati" -- like Clay Shirky, Chris Anderson, and George Oates -- dropped in to the Smithsonian Institution for the invitation-only conference "Smithsonian 2.0: A Gathering to Re-imagine the Smithsonian in the Digital Age". Dan Cohen of the Center for History and New Media provides a great summary (and continues to pose provocative questions) on his own blog. Those whose invitations were somehow lost in the mail can play fly-on-the-wall by watching the keynotes, paging through the Flickr pool of envymaking glimpses of their behind-the-scenes lab and collections tours, reading the blog (where Bruce Wyman of the Denver Art Museum lays out a succinct road map for museums using social media), and poking around in the SI's website gallery. Want to cheer on the USA's favorite 163-year-old "Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge" without taking the trip to DC? Thanks to their recent efforts, you can now follow the SI on Twitter, listen to its podcasts, watch its YouTube channel, visit the Latino Virtual Museum in Second Life, or use the FaceBook gifts page to send your best friends their very own pair of Dorothy's ruby slippers, Hope diamond, Negro Leagues baseball, or coelocanth.
The ransack of Italy is finally becoming big news. The Getty had a reputation for buying Italian antiquities of "uncertain provenance". It recently returned some treasures, but has remained in the market; it also kept the Morgantina Aphrodite. 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".
The National Museum of the American Indian opened on Tuesday. Although generally praised, the occasion did draw some mild concern that some groups are under-represented. The museum occupies one of the last few coveted spots on the National Mall. Washington Post collumnist Courtland Milloy comments on the contrast between the opening ceremonies for the museum in the home of the 'Redskins'. And I can't resist throwing in a plug for The Eiteljorg (flash splash screen) which is the only other museum with a partnership with the Smithsonian collection.
Scicult: bridging science & culture through contemporary art.
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.