News

  • New Director for National History Museum

    This week, Brent Glass took over the third most popular museum in the world—the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, writes Jacqueline Trescott in the Washington Post. In 2001, the museum was rocked by a bitter internal dispute over donor involvement with exhibition subject matter, a fight that brought national attention and a repudiation by national history groups of the Smithsonian's direction and Secretary Lawrence Small's leadership. The director left, and a donor even took back most of her thirty-eight-million-dollar gift.

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  • WTC Plans Publicity: Too Much of a Good Thing?

    While architects have publicly proclaimed the World Trade Center site proposals displayed at the Winter Garden in Lower Manhattan as the greatest architecture show ever, many have privately expressed reservations about the designs' details, the handling of the competition, and even the spotlight in which the contestants now stand, writes Julie Iovine in the New York Times. “Architecture is finally having a visible presence, perhaps too visible,” said Ricardo Scofidio of Diller + Scofidio in Manhattan.

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  • Free Admission at British Museums Pronounced a Success

    In Britain, scrapping admission charges at national museums has been a resounding success, leading to many more visitors, the government announces today, writes Maeve Kennedy in The Guardian. The most dramatic increase has been at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has seen a 111 percent increase, helped by the opening of its newly renovated British galleries.

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  • Guggenheim Cancels Its Plans for Lower Manhattan

    In a three-paragraph e-mail message, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced that it had withdrawn its proposal to build a four-hundred-foot-tall building designed by Frank Gehry south of the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan, writes David W. Dunlap in the New York Times. Thomas Krens, the foundation director, acknowledged as unrealistic the prospect of financing the 950-million-dollar project at a time when the museum is cutting budget, staff, and programs.

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  • Thing.net in Danger

    The Thing, provider of Internet connections to dozens of New York artists and arts organizations (including artforum.com), allows its clients to exhibit online works that other providers might immediately unplug, writes Matthew Mirapaul in the New York Times. As a result, Thing.net's own Internet-connection provider is planning to disconnect the Thing over problems created by the Thing's clients.

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  • Board President Steps Down at Wadsworth Atheneum

    George David, chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corp., has stepped down from his position as president of the board of trustees at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, writes Frank Rizzo in the Hartford Courant. Four other board members of the museum, Agnes Gund among them, also resigned.

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  • A Look at Los Angeles's “Erase-itechture”

    With 1,211 demolition permits in 2001, Los Angeles presses forward with its perpetual self-reinvention, writes Christopher Reynolds in the Los Angeles Times. But nobody knows just how much valuable history the wrecking balls obliterate each year, because about 85 percent of the city's standing structures have never been surveyed for historic or cultural significance, as a study by the Getty Conservation Institute found in late 2001.

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  • Corporate Collecting: Now at Risk?

    Among Enron's woes surrounding its collapse was the loss of its ambitious twenty-million-dollar program for the purchase of contemporary art, writes Tim Vincent in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Lea Fastow, wife of embattled CEO Andrew Fastow, headed an acquisition committee that, by the time of Enron's bankruptcy, had spent four million dollars in the first year of the committee's operation.

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  • Glen Seator, Sculptor, Is Dead at Forty-six

    Glen Seator, who became known in the 1990s for his highly detailed sculptural installations, died on December 21 at his home in Brooklyn, writes Ken Johnson in the New York Times. One of the most talked-about works in the 1997 Whitney Biennial was Mr. Seator's B.D.O., which consisted of a life-size reconstruction of the Whitney director's office tilted at a 45 degree angle.

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  • The Rise and Stall of LACMA's Renovation

    How does a four-hundred-million-dollar project to transform the Los Angeles County Museum of Art go from fast-forward to pause in 364 days? wonders Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times.

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  • Herb Ritts, Photographer, Dies at Fifty

    Herb Ritts, the photographer whose images of the well known helped to further mythologize celebrity in the 1980s and '90s, died yesterday in a Los Angeles hospital, writes Ginia Bellafante in the New York Times. He was fifty and lived in Los Angeles.

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  • Museum Under Review: Too “Politically Correct”?

    Australia's National Museum is set to become an ideological battleground for the government, with the appointment of Melbourne academic John Carroll to assess whether the institution is too “politically correct,” writes Annabel Crabb in The Age. The review follows a recent decision by the board to reduce the term of museum director Dawn Casey—an Aborigine—to a one-year contract and brings to a head the conflict between the museum's council and its curatorial staff over the institution's direction.

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