News

  • Met Researcher Questions Provenance of Antiquities

    Oscar White Muscarella, a senior research fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is convinced that not just some but nearly all of the antiquities in major museums have been plundered. Put simply, Kareem Fahim writes in the Village Voice, Muscarella's view is that the practice of acquiring antiquities, outside of scholarly excavation, is inevitably immoral and promotes a trade that is akin to “white slavery.” Of the Met's blockbuster exhibition “Art of the First Cities,” Muscarella says, “It's loot.”

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  • Study Says Art Students Die Young

    The Guardian's Bill Parry reports that a study published last week in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine compared eight thousand people who had studied science, medicine, law, or art at the graduate level, and found that the art students were the least likely to live long and healthy lives. Art students tend to come from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds and have fewer employment and income prospects than their peers in other disciplines, and these factors may affect longevity, researchers theorized.

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  • Akron Museum of Art Selects Architects for New Wing

    Austrian architects Wolf Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky, of the firm COOP Himmelb(l)au, have been selected to build the Akron Art Museum's new thirty-four-million-dollar expansion wing. It's the architects' first project in North America, Steven Litt writes in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Their design calls for a giant roof structure that resembles the wing of a jet.

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  • Frick Names New Director

    Anne Little Poulet, curator emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has been named the new director of the Frick Collection, Carol Vogel reports in the New York Times. The announcement, made to the staff yesterday, came after six months of searching and speculation. Poulet will replace Samuel Sachs II, who announced in January that he would step down after having run the institution for six years.

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  • Filmmakers Claim to Have Footage of van Gogh, Circa 1890

    Celluloid film had scarcely been invented when Vincent van Gogh committed suicide in 1890. Yet, USA Today reports, a team of Dutch filmmakers claimed Monday it has made a documentary about a snippet of film shot that year in which the artist allegedly appears. According to Lumineus Film Productions producer Jeroen Neus, van Gogh was attending a party in his native village of Zundert when he was coincidentally captured on film for a few seconds.

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  • British Family Demands Repatriation of Schiele Painting

    A British family is pressing the Austrian Government to return an Egon Schiele painting they say was stolen from one of their relatives during World War II, the BBC reports. The painting, Hauser am Meer (Houses on the lake), is valued at ten million pounds (fifteen million dollars) and is currently in the collection of the Leopold Museum in Vienna. There is a dispute over whether the Leopold is bound by an Austrian law that allows for the return of looted artworks.

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  • China Pays Record Price to Bring Cultural Treasure Back Home

    The Shanghai Museum has paid 4.5 million dollars for a thousand-year-old set of Chinese calligraphy books, the highest price ever paid by a Chinese institution for calligraphy, Joe McDonald reports in the Washington Post. The “Chunhuage Tie,” as the set is known, includes works by several master calligraphers and was purchased from Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, a New York City art dealer. The acquisition comes amid Chinese efforts to recover art treasures from abroad.

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  • After an Eventful Week, Ground Zero Planners Look Ahead

    Last week, key decisions were made about the future of the former site of the World Trade Center: An agreement was reached about the placement of the location of Daniel Liebeskind's 1,776-foot-tall tower, and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was chosen to design the site's new transportation hub. In the wake of these decisions, Nightline's Dave Marash spoke with Lower Manhattan Development Corporation president Kevin Rampe about the future of the rebuilding project. “It's important to remember . . . that this site isn't just Larry Silverstein's site,” said Rampe. “It belongs to the public.”

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  • Harvard's Art Museum Employees Fear Layoffs

    Employees of the Harvard University Art Museums are bracing for a round of cuts as the museums try to shrink a projected operating-budget deficit of almost 1.5 million dollars, the Boston Globe's Catherine Foster reports. Workers were told by memo last week that layoffs would be part of a larger plan to balance the budget, while the headline of a Harvard Crimson article on the subject screamed, ‘'Massive Layoffs to Hit Art Museums.'’

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  • Iraqi Artifacts Will Tour United States

    The Iraq National Museum is lending some of its greatest treasures to the US, the BBC reports. After recovering much of what was initially thought to have been stolen, the museum is eager to show off its items of cultural importance. Among the valuables that will form part of a traveling exhibition is the collection of Assyrian jewelry known as the Nimrud artifacts.

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  • Investigators Target London and NYC in Search for Looted Art

    American and Iraqi investigators this week released a “most wanted” list of thirty priceless antiquities still missing from the Iraq National

    Museum’s collection, along with some 13,000 other pieces, Christopher Dickey and Tara Pepper report in Newsweek. According to investigator and US Army colonel Matthew Bogdanos, the investigation into the missing antiquities is now focused on the buyers. “We go to the front end,” he said, meaning dealers in New York and London.

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  • Wadsworth Atheneum Rethinks Expansion

    Dutch architect Ben van Berkel, whose design for the expanded Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has been compared to a dustbuster or stealth bomber, said Tuesday he is willing to start over on a more modest plan, the Hartford Courant's Tom Condon reports. Not to use him, van Berkel said, could mean losing two years of extensive work on the structural problems facing the museum complex. The architect was responding to comments last week from new Atheneum Director Willard Holmes that the redesign (which originally was projected to result in an eighty-million-dollar reconstruction) was being reviewed

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