Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category.

Forgetting History, Statolatry, Thugocracy

If forgetting history is now the purpose of higher education, I may be taking some risk by reminding the flagship censors of the persecution of Boris Pasternak by Soviet officials when Dr. Zhivago was published in the West and awarded the Nobel Prize. I will go further into danger and remind them also that Thomas Merton wrote a brilliant appreciation of that novel and its author. Among much else of value Merton said this: “It is characteristic of the singular logic of Stalinist-Marxism that when it incorrectly diagnoses some phenomenon as ‘political,’ it corrects the error by forcing the thing to become political.”

Censors on the flagship, by Wendell Berry

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Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at the Met

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Metropolitan Museum of Art admission is free

Many New Yorkers give $1 when they enter.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art tricks visitors into paying for admission though a century-old law and lease specify free entry most days, a class action claims in state court.

The museum, in Central Park along Fifth Avenue, agreed to the no-fee policy in exchange for a perpetual, rent-free lease of the Beaux-Arts building from New York City, which also picks up the tab for maintenance, utilities and security, lead plaintiff Filip Saska says.

The deal was meant to provide access to great art for citizens “without regard to financial means,” according to the complaint in New York County Supreme Court.

But Saska claim the museum has been transformed “into an expensive, fee-for-viewing, elite tourist attraction, where only those of financial means can afford to enter this publicly subsidized institution situated on prime city-owned land.”

Class Demands Free Entry to the Met, by Marlene Kennedy, Courthouse News Service

What sucks is that many people who know about the suggested donation policy – and end up paying less – are the ones who don’t need to.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Suggests You Pay More

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“Land of Dreams”

A new YouTube video – “Land of Dreams” – featuring Rosanne Cash and other musicians, shows different tourist experiences in the United States.

From Discover America.

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Queens Museum of Art

One can go to the Queens Museum of Art at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park and enjoy the wonderful bird-eye’s view of the tri-borough with all the buildings, airports, rivers, Central Park, etc. … free, no charge and ample parking … just off the Grand Central Parkway, years ago, I would use that as a pit-stop when I am tired driving along the LIE … also, the Flushing Meadow park is wonderful for a stroll, the site of the World’s Fair in the early 60’s … many years ago, I traveled to visit the Bronx Botanical Garden and I was disappointed because it is so similar to Central Park … Central Park is free and the Bronx charges an admission fee, parking, etc.
p/s: my last Con Ed bill was $20 and change for the last 32 days, which is less then $1 a day for electricity, so cut down your energy consumption and you will not have to worry about nuclear generating plants … use less electricity and sacrifice some creature comfort….
Queens Museum of Art, web site, New York City Building, Flushing, NY, 718-592-9700 | directions | wikipedia
New York Botanical Garden, web site, 2736 Marion Avenue, Bronx, NY, 718-817-8700

Museum of Arts & Design

I went to the Museum of Arts & Design last month. I must say that this is the best new museum in New York for a very long time. The exhibitions are very sophisticated and well crafted. The cliche that “my child could have done this art-work” does not apply here. I am so happy that Columbus Circle is finally getting done. There is the MTA subway station to be renovated. A great plus for New York.
Thursday night is the best time to visit because it is pay-as-you-wish … 6 – 9pm.
Museum of Arts & Design, web site, 2 Columbus Circle, NY, NY, 212-299-7777 [Yelp | Wikipedia]

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I – 3/19/2007 – 7/8/2007

We do not normally reproduce press releases on AGINY, but the subway is so integral to NYC, and the design impacts so many people every day, that we are reproducing this press release, and encouraging our friends and readers to stop by the Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex in Grand Central Station and see these exhibitions, opening March 19, 2007.

Chandelier from City Hall Station Station opened 1904. Material: Bronze. Image credit: New York Transit Museum
Chandelier from City Hall Station Station opened 1904. Material: Bronze. Image credit: New York Transit Museum

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of Great Public Works, Part I (3/19/2007 – 7/8/2007) and Architects of the NYC Subway, Squire Vickers and the Subway’s Modern Age, Part II, (7/30/2007 – 10/28/2007)

Be sure not to miss two new exciting – consecutive – free exhibits at the New York Transit Museum entitled, Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of Great Public Works, Part I (3/19/2007 – 7/8/2007) and Architects of the NYC Subway, Squire Vickers and the Subway’s Modern Age, Part II, (7/30/2007 – 10/28/2007). Culled from the extensive collections of the New York Transit Museum, The New York Historical Society, the
Episcopal Diocese of New York, The Bronx Zoo / Wildlife Conservancy Center, and private collectors, more than sixty historic artifacts, architectural drawings, and photographs will display, the vision of the subway’s first architects, John L. Heins and Christopher G. LaFarge and the subsequent work of Squire J. Vickers at the Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex in mid-town Manhattan.

From 1901 to 1908, John L. Heins and Christopher G. LaFarge not only designed the first subway stations, but also the control houses, power substations and ornamental kiosks, in the popular Beaux-Arts style, evoking classical architecture using ceramics, metal, and wood. Because Heins & LaFarge began working more than a year after
subway construction began, their primary duty was to decorate and make beautiful the stark
utilitarian spaces built by engineers achieved by using ceramics, terra cotta relief’s and unique
station plaques to identify and adorn each station. Says Roxanne Robertson, Director of Special Projects,

“The crown jewel of the subway is the old City Hall Station which was designed by Heins and LaFarge. Visitors are still inspired by the arched tile ceilings, skylights, and brass chandeliers. This station still has the feeling of entering a grand cathedral and remains the NYC subway’s most spectacular space.”

Elements adorning the subway also included ceramic tiles, mosaics, terra cotta reliefs, sconces, iron railings and circular air vent covers. Examples of brass ticket booth grilles and metal exit signs in the exhibition are graceful, with their function masked by the beauty of design and materials. Design drawings of Manhattan’s control houses for 72nd, 103rd Streets and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue show three similar structures with decorative arches, glass, metal, and terra cotta. Architects of the NYC Subway… also presents a dozen pieces of these original station ceramics. Because an immense amount of ceramics had to be designed, fabricated, and installed in less than three
years, numerous companies were hired to produce these pieces. The work of the noted ceramics firms Grueby Faience Company of Boston, Atlantic Terra Cotta of Staten Island and New Jersey, and Rookwood Pottery Company of Cincinnati, are also represented in the
exhibition.

Architects John L. Heins, Christopher Grant LaFarge, and Squire J. Vickers determined the aesthetics of New York’s subway system. These men created the decorative motifs that adorned the subways, allowing each station to be unique while contributing to its overall style. In 1907, Heins died of meningitis. Though he would work as an architect until his death in 1938, LaFarge worked on the subway only until 1908. Architect, Squire J. Vickers, was then hired and become the architect responsible for New York’s subway station’s design elements for the next four decades.

In addition to being business partners, John L.
Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge were friends, classmates, and brothers-in-law. The two met as architecture students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying a curriculum based on the French school of Beaux-Arts classical approach to architecture, but also stressing logical planning and design. They graduated in 1882, and in 1886, formed their own New York City firm. Heins & LaFarge specialized in ecclesiastical and residential buildings.

Today they are best remembered as the original architects for the Cathedral of Saint John theDivine. They began the cathedral project in the 1890s and would continue with it for two decades. During this time, Heins would also be appointed the State Architect of New York, responsible foroverseeing the design and construction of all state buildings.

In the first years of the new century, Heins & LaFarge continued with the Cathedral, but also designed the New York City subway stations and the Astor Court Buildings of the Bronx Zoo. Though these important civic projects might seem, at first, to be disparate, Heins & LaFarge used similar architectural elements and fabricators for each project. The Guastivino Fireproof Construction Company fabricated magnificent arches for the grand City Hall subway station, the Belmont Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, and the Elephant House of the Bronx Zoo. The Atlantic Terra Cotta Company produced ceramics for numerous subway stations and the Lion House at the Zoo. Pieces of these Zoo and subway ceramics, including examples taken from the 33rd Street, 110th Street, and 116th Street subway stations, are featured in the exhibitions. An architectural drawing for the Zoo’s Monkey House shows a frieze with classical design elements that can also be seen in subway station ceramics.

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I, at the New York Transit Museum, 212-878-0106, March 19, 2007 – July 8, 2007, at the New York Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex at Grand Central, Monday-Friday, 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm. Admission is Free. These exhibitions are made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support: Major sponsors: ARUP, Daniel Frankfurt, P.C., and Parsons Brinkerhoff. Supporting Sponsor: STV. Sponsors: FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS, PC, and Domingo Gonzalez Associates.
New York Transit Museum

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Provenance

After retiring from truck driving in 1987, Teri Horton devoted much of her time to bargain hunting around the Los Angeles area. Sometimes the bargains were discovered on Salvation Army shelves and sometimes, she willingly admits, at the bottom of Dumpsters.

Even the most stubborn deal scrounger probably would have been satisfied with the rate of return recently offered to her for a curiosity she snagged for $5 in a San Bernardino thrift shop in the early 1990s. A buyer, said to be from Saudi Arabia, was willing to pay $9 million for it, just under an 180 million percent increase on her original investment. Ms. Horton, a sandpaper-voiced woman with a hard-shell perm who lives in a mobile home in Costa Mesa and depends on her Social Security checks, turned him down without a second thought.

Ms. Horton’s find is not exactly the kind that gets pulled from a steamer trunk on the “Antiques Roadshow.” It is a dinner-table-size painting, crosshatched in the unmistakable drippy, streaky, swirly style that made Jackson Pollock one of the most famous artists of the last century. Ms. Horton had never heard of Pollock before buying the painting, but when an art teacher saw it and told her that it might be his work (and that it could fetch untold millions if it were), she launched herself on a single-minded post-retirement career — enlisting, along the way, a forensic expert and a once-powerful art dealer — to have her painting acknowledged as authentic by scholars and the art market.

Could Be a Pollock; Must Be a Yarn,” by Randy Kennedy, The New York Times, November 9, 2006
Where is the provenance???

“Provenance” is a list of the previous owners of a work of art, tracing it from its present location and owner back to the hand of the artist. Provenance has many uses: It can help to determine the authenticity of a work, to establish the historical importance of a work by suggesting other artists who might have seen and been influenced by it, and to determine the legitimacy of current ownership.

Provenance Research, Harvard University Art Museums

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Must see exhibition for all New Yorkers

Pablo Picasso, Seated Woman with Wristwatch, 1932
Pablo Picasso, Seated Woman with Wristwatch, 1932

Roy Lichtenstein, Girl with Beach Ball III, 1977
Roy Lichtenstein, Girl with Beach Ball III, 1977

I strongly diasagrree with Michael Kimmelman’s charcaterization of the Picasso exhibition at the Whitney Museum as

one of those dull affairs incubated in the world of academe: a walk-through textbook that goes to extraordinary lengths to state the obvious

What a horrible review by the chief art critic of the NYTimes … Friday evening I went and enjoyed the exhibition very much … I read the review after seeing the show … there are so many paintings from faraway places that are shown for the first time in NY … after the show at the Whitney, I went home and ate a simple supper of silky tofu with 2 Chinese fermented eggs, dressed with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds … the red wine was a south-east Australian 2004 Penfolds Koonunga Hill shiraz cabernet … .
This exhibition is a must see for all New Yorkers …
“Picasso and American Art,” Whitney Museum of American Art, September 28, 2006 – January 28, 2007, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, Friday’s from 6–9 pm is pay-what-you-wish admission, (press release – 5-page pdf)

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Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting – in DC

The National Gallery of Art in Washingtan, DC, has a not-to-be missed exhibition underway … and the Chinatown bus only runs about $35 round-trip …

Titian, Pastoral Concert (Concert Champêtre), c. 1510, oil on canvas
Titian, Pastoral Concert (“Concert Champêtre”), c. 1510, oil on canvas

This show was 13 years in the making. Visually seductive and rich with exciting ideas, it is one that visitors will long savor.

Show reveals relationships,” by Sheila Wickouski, The (Fredericksburg) Free-Lance Star, July 27, 2006

A major new international exhibition, Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting, will present more than 50 masterpieces from the most exciting period of the Renaissance in Venice. Premiering June 18 through September 17 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the exhibition explores the relationships between these and other artists, emphasizes their innovative treatments of new pictorial themes such as the pastoral landscape, and reveals what modern conservation science has discovered about the Venetian painters’ techniques.
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The time span covered by the exhibition represents, visually and intellectually, the most exciting phase of the Renaissance in Venice, when the old Giovanni Bellini (d. 1516), Giorgione (d. 1510), and the young Titian, among others, were all working side by side. The exhibition will present approximately 60 paintings that best exemplify the new ideas and ideals: music, the pastoral landscape, the female nude, and the romantic portrait. It will include Bellini and Titian’s Feast of the Gods (1514 and 1529), Giorgione’s Adoration of the Shepherds (c. 1500), Laura (1506), and Three Philosophers (c. 1506).

Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, June 18 – September 17, 2006, West Building, Main Floor. Mondays through Saturdays, 10 am – 5 pm, Sundays 11 am – 6 pm.
The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall between Third and Seventh Streets at Constitution Avenue, NW. The West Building is at 6th Street NW at Constitution Avenue NW , Washington, DC. The nearest Metro stops are Judiciary Square on the Red Line, Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Square on the Yellow and Green Lines, and Smithsonian on the Blue and Orange Lines.
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