News

  • Met's Well-Heeled Neighbors Seek to Block Expansion

    In recent weeks, Greg Sargent reports in the New York Observer, an incendiary fundraising letter has been circulating among wealthy Upper East Side residents who are fighting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s multimillion-dollar expansion plan. The letter calls the Met “arrogant” and sets a goal of raising more than three hundred thousand dollars to finance a legal action against the expansion.

    Read more
  • Berlin Museum, Closed Since World War II, Will Reopen

    Renovation work is to begin on Berlin's Neues Museum, one of the city's last remaining war ruins, the BBC reports. Listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, it has been empty and unused since it was bombed during World War II. British architect David Chipperfield, who is designing the renovation, says the museum will be ready to reopen in 2009.

    Read more
  • Museum Hunts for Schwitters's Last Paintings

    Staff members at the Armitt Museum in England’s Lake District have launched a search for numerous works by Kurt Schwitters that they believe could be gathering dust in houses throughout the area, the BBC reports. Schwitters sold paintings for only a few pounds when he lived in the Lake District during the three years preceding his death in 1948. Peter Jackson, chairman of the Armitt, said, “We know that [the works] are out there lying in garages and lofts.”

    Read more
  • In Israel, A New Museum for Works by Persecuted Artists

    The Bar-Gera Museum, dedicated to works by politically persecuted artists of the twentieth century, opened on June 22 in the Israeli city of Ashdod, Deutsche Welle reports. Named for collectors and Holocaust survivors Kenda and Jacob Bar-Gera, the museum houses art that was considered subversive in the former Soviet Union, in Franco-era Spain, and in Nazi Germany.

    Read more
  • Vatican's Art Collection Goes Online

    The Sistine Chapel is now online, MSNBC reports. The Vatican put its enormous art collection on the Internet on Tuesday, launching a new site for the Vatican Museums that it hopes will attract more tourists while also “disseminating the church’s message around the globe.”

    Read more
  • Under New Director, British Museum Weathers Difficulties

    The British Museum, which is currently celebrating its 250th anniversary, has been troubled lately by budget deficits, staff cuts, closed galleries, and an unprecedented one-day strike. Yet the mood inside the museum's sprawling neoclassical home in Bloomsbury is not glum, Alan Riding reports in the New York Times. Credit seems due to Neil MacGregor, 56, who last year took over as the museum's director.

    Read more
  • Schiele Painting Fetches Record Sum

    Egon Schiele's painting Landscape at Krumau, 1916, which was returned to its owners sixty-five years after it was looted by the Nazis, fetched a record price of more than 12.6 million pounds (21 million dollars) at Sotheby's in London on Monday night. The price, which far exceeded Sotheby's high estimate, was a record for a Schiele, and made the painting the most expensive work of art ever sold after being looted in war and later restituted, Will Bennett reports in The Telegraph.

    Read more
  • Estimated Number of Looted Items Climbs Again

    As low as 1,700 a few weeks ago, the estimated number of items lost during the looting of Iraq's National Museum is on the rise again. U.S. and Iraqi officials have confirmed the theft of at least six thousand artifacts from the museum, Guy Gugliotta reports in the Washington Post. The U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that the official count of missing items had reached six thousand on June 13 and is likely to climb as workers continue to take inventory at the museum.

    Read more
  • Tracking the Rise of the “Celebrity Curator”

    In the Chicago Tribune, critic Alan G. Artner outlines what he feels is a disturbing trend: the rise of the itinerant “celebrity curator,” who is not loyal to any particular museum or institution—with Francesco Bonami and Okwui Enwezor being prime exemplars of the phenomenon. Artner feels that the recent proliferation of international contemporary art expositions has contributed to this trend, which he believes has shifted the focus toward curators and away from artists and museum collections.

    Read more
  • Doug Michels, Artist and Designer, Dies at Fifty-Nine

    Doug Michels, an artist, architect, and designer who was a member of the influential experimental design studio Ant Farm, died in Australia on June 12, The Washington Post reports. He was fifty-nine. In the 1960s, with partners Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Curtis Schreirer, Michels practiced a kind of “underground architecture” that created such well-known projects as the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas; from 1979 to 1982, he worked as a senior designer for Philip Johnson.

    Read more
  • Chicago's Terra Museum to Close

    After more than two years of controversy and legal infighting, the board of Chicago's Terra Museum of American Art has decided to close the museum in late October 2004, CNN reports. The one hundred million dollar art collection assembled by the late Daniel Terra will remain in Chicago, with a large portion of it going to the city's Art Institute.

    Read more
  • Pierre Restany, Champion of New Realism, Dies at Seventy-Two

    Pierre Restany, who has died at age seventy-two, was perhaps the best-known art critic in France, a standing he owed in part to his championing of the “New Realism” movement that introduced artists such as Yves Klein, Christo, and Daniel Spoerri to the public. As The Telegraph reports, “Nouveau Réalisme” was born in a manifesto written by Restany in 1960, with the stated aim of fostering “new approaches in the perception of the real.”

    Read more