News

  • Impressive Crowds Bode Well for Saatchi Gallery

    It was launched with more hype than the Titanic, but the new Saatchi Gallery is showing signs that it will stay afloat for a lot longer, Fiachra Gibbons writes in The Guardian. More than twenty-one thousand people dodged past Damien Hirst's spotty Mini on the stairs of the County Hall museum in London during the bank-holiday weekend to take a closer look at Tracey Emin's now notorious bed and ponder Sarah Lucas's ribald arrangements of fruit and vegetables.

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  • Despite Downturn, Cultural Institutions Move Forward

    The weak economy and its attendant fund-raising challenges won't sideline the two highest-profile cultural projects in Boston, say officials at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art. The expansion of the MFA and the construction of a new ICA on the Boston waterfront will be considered landmark developments if they do in fact come to fruition, Geoff Edgers writes in the Boston Globe.

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  • TV News Engineer Charged with Smuggling Paintings

    Members of the news media and US soldiers are being investigated for taking art, artifacts, weapons, and cash from Iraq, with criminal charges already brought against Benjamin James Johnson, who worked as an engineer for the Fox News channel. In a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, Johnson is charged with attempting to smuggle twelve Iraqi paintings into the United States, Curt Anderson reports in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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  • Museum Anchors New Cultural District in Tokyo

    Although Tokyo's new Mori Art Museum, set atop a skyscraper in the seedy, tourist-filled Roppongi district, does not open until mid-October, it is already having a large impact on the city's art community. Smaller galleries are gravitating to Roppongi, which is being greeted as a new cultural center, Annabel Wright reports in the Daily Yomiuri.

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  • Virginia Museum Eyes the National Stage

    “Our collection is as broad as the Met, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston,” Michael Brand, the director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, told the New York Times's Adam Goodheart. “In the past, this museum has portrayed itself merely as the top institution in the Southeast. And while that is something we're still very proud of, it's not where we want to end.” The museum is now well poised to make that leap, writes Goodheart.

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  • In Baghdad, Artists Look Ahead with Apprehension

    For Iraq's artists, the prospect of postwar life conjures both excitement and anxiety, Anthony Shadid writes in the Washington Post. While the relative privilege many artists enjoyed under Saddam Hussein is gone, ahead there is hope for a newfound freedom of expression and an end to the isolation that has made Baghdad a backwater.

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  • Buy-Back Programs May Incite More Looting

    “Buy-back” programs designed to purchase looted Iraqi artifacts, which have been independently suggested by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art director Philippe de Montebello, and Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks, should be rejected, writes Daniel W. Eck in the Chicago Tribune. Eck, the legal counsel of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, asserts that “even a well-meaning plan to pay bounties for these artifacts would provide an incentive for rampant mob looting in the future.”

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  • To Fill Funding Void, Arts Groups Turn to Corporations

    Corporate sponsorships have been common in sports and other industries for years and lately have become widespread in the arts, writes Bob Keyes in the Portland Press-Herald. Nationally, corporate sponsorships for the arts totaled nearly 600 million dollars in 2001, according to the Harvard Business Review, while the National Endowment for the Arts operated on a budget of just over 100 million dollars the same year—a disparity in funding levels that illustrates arts groups' growing dependence on corporate partnerships.

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  • Plans for a Sprawling “Creative Village” in California

    Santa Cruz government officials are considering a proposal for a new forty-million-dollar arts complex, Dan White reports in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Dubbed a “creative village” by its potential developer, Artspace Projects, the complex could include one hundred artists’ live/work housing units, one hundred studio spaces, and a riverfront esplanade that would serve as an outdoor gallery and “viewing platform” along the San Lorenzo River.

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  • Pew Foundation Grants Hit Fifteen-Year Low

    Faced with a decline of more than one billion dollars in its endowment since 1999, the Pew Charitable Trusts—one of the ten largest charitable foundations in the nation and a major supporter of the arts—expects to award less grant money this year than in any year since 1988, Patricia Horn reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Every day I wake up hoping that we hit the bottom, but I don't think we have,” says Rebecca W. Rimel, Pew's chief executive officer.

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  • FBI Seizes Iraqi Art in US; Expects More to Arrive

    Art collectors and dealers say they already are getting queries about artifacts looted from Iraq's museums, and the FBI said Monday that at least one suspected piece has been seized at an American airport, Curt Anderson reports in the Washington Post. Lynne Chaffinch, manager of the FBI Art Theft Program, told a small group of reporters that she expects the thieves will attempt to sell most of the stolen pieces in wealthy countries such as the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, France, and Switzerland.

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  • New Digs and a New Deputy Director for the New Museum

    The New Museum of Contemporary Art has hired former venture capitalist Lisa Roumell as its new deputy director, Miriam Kreinin Souccar reports in Crain's New York Business. Roumell will be responsible for the daily operations of the museum and will help oversee its plans to build a new thirty-five-million-dollar, sixty-thousand-square-foot facility at 235 Bowery. She replaces Dennis Szakacs, who left the museum after six years to become the director of the Orange County Museum of Art in California.

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