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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather Metropolitan Museum Posts Best Attendance in Nearly a Decade

More than 5.2 million people visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the fiscal year that ended Wednesday, the institution’s best performance since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Despite the impact of an economy in recession, the number of visitors was up more than 10 percent over the comparable period a year earlier. “Attendance fell by a million” after 9/11, said Harold Holzer, a spokesman for the museum, “and has been working its way back” ever since, “hovering around 4.7 million” in recent years. Visitors from abroad accounted for nearly 40 percent of the attendance, and the single most popular exhibition was “Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” which opened on April 27, will close on Aug. 15 and has already attracted more than 380,00 visitors.

message 2: by createjoy (new)

createjoy | 31 comments ohhhh I so miss living close to NYC!

message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments WHAT DO VISITORS WANT?

By Sarah Douglas, ART INFO
Published: July 2, 2010

When the 2009-10 fiscal year ended on June 30, we got an insight into precisely this question. According to figures released this week from several top museums (all of which have had particularly high attendance), the answer is, well, not all that unpredictable. Visitors, as it turns out, want Monet, Picasso, Vermeer, King Tut ... and Tim Burton.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art saw 5.24 million people come through its doors. Picasso brought in 381,000 of them during its first two months; Vermeer’s Milkmaid, on loan from the Rijksmuseum, 329,000.

MoMA saw 3.09 million people, with "Monet's Water Lilies" show making up 857,386 of the tally and its Tim Burton exhibition netting 810,511. Finally, Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario clocked 878,478 visitors, with a full 404,364 coming to see “King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs.”

message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments PICASSO SHOW IN LONDON IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

By Carol Vogel, New York Times
Published; July 1, 2010

LONDON — Since it opened on June 4, nearly 1,000 people a day — a giant number for a gallery show here — have been going to the Gagosian Gallery at Britannia Street to see “Picasso: The Mediterranean Years (1945-1962).”

The exhibition was organized by John Richardson, the Picasso biographer, and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, the artist’s grandson, the same people behind a hit Picasso gallery show in New York last year. The London exhibition charts a period of the artist’s life that has rarely been explored: the years when he spent most of his time in the south of France surrounded by bullfighters, poets, master craftsmen and fellow artists like Matisse. And his children.

His children played a big part in his life in the 1950s. In addition to Paulo, his son by his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, and his daughter Maya, by his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, Picasso fathered two more children during those years — Claude and Paloma — with Françoise Gilot, his young art-student mistress.

Their images fill many of the walls in the exhibition, but not just as subjects of paintings and drawings. There are also light-hearted watercolor silhouettes and a bronze sculpture of a girl skipping rope.

“I wanted to show Picasso at home,” said Mr. Richardson, who works as a consultant to the Gagosian Gallery. And so there are many objects the artist made that offer an unusually personal look at Picasso the family man. Most have never been seen before and have been lent by his family.

Picasso made toys for his children, including cutouts of birds. And he is said to have made dolls for Paloma, although she was never allowed to play with them.

He also made colorful masks decorated in pastel and charcoal. “The masks were mostly for him and the grownups and less for the children,” Mr. Richardson said. “They were so crucial to Picasso’s work. He felt a change of mask could signify a change in personality, whether it be sex or age. He was always interested in metamorphosis and playing around with identities.”

“Masque,” from the Picasso exhibit in London.

The show also includes a whimsically painted tie he made in 1956 that depicts a colorful toreador. “I don’t know who he made that particular tie for,” said Mr. Richardson, who was a friend of Picasso’s and got to know his bohemian circle during the 1950s, when Mr. Richardson lived in the south of France with the scholar and collector Douglas Cooper. “He often made them for friends. He once made me a tie and a crown, but they were stolen many years ago.”

Another unusual artifact in the show is a wooden door, “Anatomie Feminine,” dated June 13, 1946, on which Picasso drew a woman’s body in India ink, its keyhole intact. “During World War II there was an Argentinean ambassador in Paris who entertained all the artists — Matisse, Braque, Cocteau, Leger,” Mr. Richardson recalled. “His had one of the few households where you could get marvelous wines and cigars and great food, despite the rationing. And he wanted the artists to make him something. So he sent this door from his house over to Picasso to decorate. Picasso never did it at the time. Then one day, years later, he rediscovered it and painted it.”

Mr. Richardson and Mr. Ruiz-Picasso were responsible for “Mosqueteros,” the Picasso show held at one of Gagosian’s New York spaces last year, focused on the late paintings and prints. It drew about 100,000 visitors during its run. The London exhibition, which runs through Aug. 28, will not be coming to New York, gallery officials said.

message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments GETTY BUYS TURNER’S “ROME" FOR $44.9 MILLION

By Carol Vogel, NYTimes
July 7, 2010

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J.M.W. Turner’s final painting of Rome, “Modern Rome — Campo Vaccino” (1839), was bought by the J. Paul Getty Museum at a Sotheby’s auction in London on Wednesday evening for $44.9 million. The price, which includes Sotheby’s fees, is a record for the artist at auction, outstripping an 1841 view of Venice, “Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio,” which sold in April 2006 at Christie’s in New York for $35.9 million.

“This painting transcends even Turner; it’s his best, it’s Turner at the top of his game,” Scott J. Schaefer, the Getty’s curator of paintings, said in a telephone interview from London after the sale. “Turner often suffers from condition problems, but this painting has been behind glass for about 150 years. It’s never been touched.” The painting, which is in its original frame and had been on loan to the National Galleries* cq plural. aaw of Scotland in Edinburgh since 1978, depicts the Italian capital bathed in a cloudy light. It has been on the market only once before, in 1878, when it was bought in London by the fifth Earl of Rosebery, who briefly served as prime minister after Gladstone. It has remained in the family ever since.

message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather Lower East Side Tale, Refracted Nine Times

Published: July 8, 2010

“Lush Life” works at Invisible-Exports include, left, “The End of Abundance” by Karen Heagle; top right, “Soaring Hawk” by Gina Magid; and an untitled work by Xaviera Simmons.

Heaven knows the tired old New York art world could use a fresh story or two. This summer it gets one, secondhand, in “Lush Life,” a big and unusually ingenious group show spread over nine galleries, all but one on the Lower East Side.

Assembled by two independent curators, Omar Lopez-Chahoud and Franklin Evans, the show was inspired by the Richard Price novel “Lush Life,” the 2008 best seller that doubled as a Raymond Chandleresque police drama and a picaresque homage to the Lower East Side, a neighborhood that was long an immigrant enclave and is now, increasingly, a yuppie playground.

Mr. Price’s story takes place almost entirely within its bounds, which extend from, roughly, Houston Street south to Canal, and from the Bowery to the East River. The nine gallery shows — at Sue Scott Gallery, Y Gallery, Collette Blanchard Gallery, Lehmann Maupin, Salon 94 Freemans, Invisible-Exports, Scaramouche, Eleven Rivington and On Stellar Rays — correspond to the nine chapters of the novel, and work in each refers, sometimes specifically, to the book’s plot.

On an early fall night in 2002, with the emergency mood induced by 9/11 still in the air, a young white man, a waiter in a local upscale bar-restaurant, is shot and killed on Eldridge Street in a mugging attempted by an even younger black man from nearby public housing. The killer runs off, and the rest of the book is basically about the hunt for him by a hard-boiled but ruminative police detective from the neighborhood precinct.

Needless to say, other street-soiled characters enter the picture, as do images of bars, drugs, bereaved families and interrogation rooms. Along with repeated displays of racial conflict and police politics, there’s a quasi-mystical apparition, a soupçon of sex and the constant presence — as an active personality more than as a passive backdrop — of the neighborhood itself and its stratified histories.

“(Bar) Unfinished Business, 2010,” by David Kramer, flanked by his ink and pencil drawings, at the Sue Scott Gallery, which is one of nine participants in “Lush Life.”

The show at Sue Scott, “Chapter 1: Whistle,” serves, superbly, as a scene setter. It opens with a short film by the Danish artist Nanna Debois Buhl about the Lower East Side, with Jacob Riis’s century-old photographs of subhuman poverty accompanied by the bland words of a contemporary tour guide.

And seen in the context of the novel, other works take on specific narrative dimensions.

A 2005 abstract painting by Joanne Greenbaum, with its linear webs, can be imagined as a bird’s-eye map of the area, with Alice O’Malley’s blurry, beautiful shots of bars and shops bringing us down to ground level. David Kramer has equipped the gallery with a functioning bar, and a piece by Derrick Adams — stacked photographs of a black male head ornamented with silver brickwork patterning — can be taken as a reference to the low-income housing that surrounds relentlessly gentrifying terrain.

An image from “The Story of Edward Holmes,” Tommy Hartung’s video at Lehmann Maupin.

A rumored appearance of the Virgin Mary in a Rivington Street deli — in reality nothing more than an accident of condensation on a freezer door — makes for one of the novel’s more sardonic early episodes. And it is neatly suggested here by Judi Werthein’s video of her own projected “live” figure of the Virgin created in Spain in 2006.

The show wraps up with an installation by David Shapiro of drawings, small sculptures and found objects spread out on a tarp like a sidewalk display, and with a wall sculpture by Justen Ladda: a narrow lozenge of polished cedar called “Blue-Red Night Mirror,” which can, with a little imagining, be taken as a blood-tinged reflection of the noirish “Lush Life” world.

If none of the other shows now open — the one at Eleven Rivington makes its debut on Thursday — offer as many point-for-point correspondences with the novel as this one does, there are still plenty of direct allusions to it.

For example, the dialogue-intensive book’s long second chapter is taken up primarily by the marathon police grilling of a co-worker of the victim who is initially suspected of the shooting. The chapter’s real subject, though, is a broader one: the slipperiness of truth. Although it is pretty clear that the man is innocent, the intersection of his own self-centered fears and the need of the police to nail a perpetrator keeps the illusion of his guilt in play.

The corresponding exhibition, “Chapter 2: Liar,” at On Stellar Rays, alludes to the mistaken interrogation in an amusing video of polygraph performance by Carol Irving and in a bulky Ezra Johnson painting that consists of the words “Large Doubt.” But the pieces by other artists — Tim Davis, Scott Hug, Elisabeth Subrin — touch on more generic truth-suspending elements, like addiction, money and celebrity, that not only swim through the book but are shaping the new Lower East Side.


message 7: by Heather (new)

Heather 'Your Labels Make Me Feel Stupid'

In an effort to connect with visitors who feel bored, overwhelmed, or confused, museums are using focus groups, comment boards, and even full-time evaluators to help rethink and rewrite texts in the galleries
by Gail Gregg

Frank Lobdell's 15 April 1962 in the Oakland Museum of California was recently given a label makeover.

Just a few years ago, a visitor curious about Frank Lobdell's 15 April 1962, in the Oakland Museum of California, could have scanned its wall label to read this description of the painting: "A tightly coiled form struggles against the confines of the canvas. Thick paint, hot colors, hard lines, and a gouged surface reinforce the sense of uneasiness. They express the artist's view of the human condition as a struggle for meaning and dignity."

But in the four years since that text was written, curators at the Oakland Museum and countless other art institutions have initiated a quiet revolution in the way they engage and converse with visitors about the treasures in their care. These institutions are working hard to move away from what Graham W. J. Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, calls "the priestly voice of absolute authority." Their aim now is to provide information and context about the works—and then encourage people to respond to them in their own way.

The Lobdell label was one of many given a makeover in conjunction with the reopening of the Oakland Museum. It now reads: "The horrors of Frank Lobdell's firsthand experiences of World War II affected him deeply. With roughly coiled lines, intense colors, and a scabrous surface, Lobdell seems to be expressing the struggle of humankind, as raw paint strokes metamorphose into gnashing teeth in headless jaws."


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