Saturday, 17 March 2018

Reading list, 17 March 2018

Re-upping this Julia Halperin piece, How the Dana Schutz Controversy—and a Year of Reckoning—Have Changed Museums Forever, because is makes perfect companion reading to this set of 5 takes on Museums and #MeToo from the Walker, featuring an artist, director, critic, educator and journalist writing about museums showing the works of artists who are alleged (or actual) harassers.

I've been strongly influenced by Maciej Ceglowski's thinking, and his recent foray into fundraising for Democratic candidates in tilt-able districts is fascinating.
The Chinese have two different concepts of a copy. Fangzhipin (仿製品) are imitations where the difference from the original is obvious. These are small models or copies that can be purchased in a museum shop, for example. The second concept for a copy is fuzhipin (複製品). They are exact reproductions of the original, which, for the Chinese, are of equal value to the original. It has absolutely no negative connotations. The discrepancy with regard to the understanding of what a copy is has often led to misunderstandings and arguments between China and Western museums. The Chinese often send copies abroad instead of originals, in the firm belief that they are not essentially different from the originals. The rejection that then comes from the Western museums is perceived by the Chinese as an insult.
Byung-Chul Han, The copy is the original, Aeon Magazine

Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne is leaving the LA Times to become the city's chief design officer, sitting inside the mayor's office alongside roles like chief data officer and chief sustainability officer.

Susan Goldberg, editor in chief of National Geographic, writes about commissioning writers to investigate the magazine's own biases and racism for their new issue on race.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Reading list, 10 March 2018

Read this, if you read nothing else: Julia Halperin's round-up of comments from directors and curators for artnet News, How the Dana Schutz Controversy—and a Year of Reckoning—Have Changed Museums Forever

A new study finds regular arts-focused field trips are correlated with improved student performance across a range of measures, attributed possibly to students being more engaged at school.

After experimenting with smart-watch interpretation for their permanent collection galleries, the Barnes Foundation finds human guides get the best response from visitors.

Texas Forever

From Hyperallergic: Seph Rodney's Is Art Museum Attendance Declining Across the US? and Bob Beatty's Running the Numbers on Attendance at History Museums in the US.

What's the microfiche for digital news? The internet isn't forever, by Maria Bustillos for Longreads.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Reading list, March 3 2018

'Would you burn the Mona Lisa if it was sent?' - a detailed and really interesting account, less of how Australian biosecurity ended up destroying 18th century French botanical specimens collected in Australia, and more of how botany has worked over the last 300-ish years and how the international research community (used to, anyway) share specimen.

The Albright-Knox Museum is co-running a work skills development course based around carpentry, bringing a kaupapa of creativity and artistry that creates pride in people's work. Best of all, they have a three year plan to exit and hand over the mahi to a new non-profit.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Reading list, 24 February 2018

A thorough review by Roberta Smith for the NYT of “Outliers and American Vanguard Art” at Washington's National Gallery of Art. Five years in development, curator Lynne Cook has chosen to focus on three periods of the 100 years when 'taught' and 'self-taught' artists and practices overlapped. I wish I could see this show, it sounds like a great model for a exhibition that is overdue in Aotearoa.

Steve Braunias rounds up pay rates for book reviews across New Zealand publications.

The second part of that Charles Venables interview (part 1 here). His observations about smaller galleries, smaller exhibitions and smaller collections are very interesting in terms of contemporary museums' bigger-bigger-best focus.

Interjection: I think one thing to remember when reading about this refashioning of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is that (a) it does have these beautiful adjoining gardens to make the most of but also that (b) it's on a (from the perspective of a public-transport-inclined New Zealander) godforsaken highway on the outskirts of Indianapolis, sandwiched between a cemetery and a country club, and more like the Gibbs farm than MOMA in terms of its accessibility and the likelihood you'd just drop in for a half-hour browse. It makes sense to think of it as an entertainment campus. It doesn't necessarily make sense to think of it as a model for the future of museums (unless you happen to own a 550-seat theatre and some spacious gardens as well as a museum with an outstanding collection and acres of exhibition space ....).

And a fascinating response to the Venables interview from Tim Schneider, looking at the longer 9but actually reasonably short) history of our current Western museum model: Why Newfields, the Museum the Art World Loves to Hate, Was Inevitable (and Other Insights).

Musing on the dearth of leadership development programmes for arts leaders in Canada.

Following the Pantograph Punch's announcement that is is going to reduce the amount published, pay contributors better and stop running reviews, the site's editor Lana Lopesi writes persuasively on the necessity of reviews for an informed culture. I'm of course chair of the PP board, and my decision to stand (and to originate The Dowse's partnership with the site) was strongly influenced by my belief that we need to find new ways of funding criticism.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Reading list, 17 February 2018

Turns out if I don't write these posts regularly I just end up with dozens of open tabs waiting for my attention ...

Michael Parry of MAAS has written a thorough and really fascinating review of Melbourne Museum's flagship summer exhibition Inside Out. It's especially interesting because he's woven together his experience visiting the show with his experience in a senior leadership role developing such shows. It's a terrific model of a professional, constructively critical response to an important exhibition.

The Wireless gets into sexism and Wikipedia. I respond with a Twitter thread so long and dull that I'd probably recommend it only if you're looking to nod off. But speaking from my own experience - the sexism that exists within parts of the community is not nearly as off putting to new editors as the utterly arcane structure of Wikipedia and the difficulty of mastering the wiki software if you're not a person who finds computers intuitive.

On my lengthy to-read list -Making the Case for Philanthropic Support for Advocacy from Philanthropy Australia.

Take this MediaWatch segment on dwindling mainstream media sports coverage, replace every use of the word 'sports' with 'arts, transport the piece back to 2008, and you can see how we wound up today with barely any intelligent coverage of any arts form (except book reviews, which makes them - rugby?) featured in our daily papers.

A new review of UK museums by historian David Cannadine finds that 'except in the case of the national museums, collecting for most museums and galleries is no more than a marginal activity.'

This is going to get a lot of play in the profession: Charles Venables, director since 2012 of Newfields (the new umbrella brand for the Indianapolis Museum of Art & its attached gardens and hospitality experiences) on the dramatic changes he has made since coming in after previous director Maxwell Anderson (who went to the Dallas Museum of Art, to continue his own data-led experiments, and left there in like 2016? 2017?):
You asked earlier what were some of the “aha” moments when we were talking to consultants? Well, we found out that 52 percent of people in our metropolitan area who demographically look like they should be art museum visitors never came to the art museum, ever. Ninety-four percent of them knew about it, and where it was located, but they never chose to go there! So, we went and asked some of these people why they didn’t visit, and they basically said it was because they wanted to be social and they didn’t want their friends to say, “You wasted my precious Friday night with a boring, static art-museum experience.”
The IMA and the Anderson / Venables eras are going to make fantastic research areas in a few years.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Reading list, 16 December 2017

A beautiful piece in the NYT's 'One Little Thing' series by Jason Farago on Manet's Mademoiselle V … in the Costume of an Espada.

Daniel Penny's long essay comparing our current Instagram moment with the development of the picturesque drifts towards the end, but is good up top.

I still hope to revive the idea of an art podcast sometime, and when I do this guide from NPR's Alison MacAdam will be getting a lot of exercise: The journey from print to radio storytelling: A guide for navigating a new landscape.

It's a long path between a speech and legislative change, but French president Emmanuel Macron has made some strong statements about repatriations to African nations.

The Odyssey's most recent translator, Emily Wilson, on its 'complex and truthful articulation of gender dynamics that continue to haunt us'.

Boris Kachka for Vulture on The Director and the Pharaoh: How Thomas Hoving Created the Museum Blockbuster.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Reading list, 9 December 2017

The National Museum of African American History's community curation project, digitising family collections and archives.

'How a Trove of Nazi Art Wound Up Under Lock and Key on an Army Base in Virginia' in the Washingtonian

"Conserving a building’s skin while destroying its heart isn’t historic preservation. It’s taxidermy." - Feargus O'Sullivan in Citylab on the V&A's acquisition of part of a 1960s social housing project.

I've really enjoyed Philip Kennicott's writing this year. Here's another: The new Bible museum tells a clear, powerful story. And it could change the museum business.

And on the topic of new museums, from Holland Cotter: Louvre Abu Dhabi, an Arabic-Galactic Wonder, Revises Art History

Ignore the bombastic title - this piece on artist educators at PAMM (Pérez Art Museum, Miami) is really interesting.

Everything I hate about the current fixing-art-with-apps conversation in one handy article.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Reading list, 11 November 2017

I find the current musings on shapeless women's clothes quite intriguing: Modest Dressing,
as a Virtue (bonus for gallery assistant viewpoint on selling art, not sexual availability)

Alexandra Lange has a fascinating take on the Museum of Icecream, through the lens of play theory

Kyle Chayka's article on the 40th anniversary on Walter De Maria's Earth Room is actually a lovely feature on the man who cares the the installation

A gorgeous interview with classicist Emily Wilson in the NYT: The First Woman to Translate the ‘Odyssey’ Into English

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Reading list, 4 November 2017

Carolee Schneeman on developing 'Double Knowledge' - "the knowledge I knew I had to live by and [the] knowledge that the wall of male culture insisted was appropriate, but that was not true to my experience." (A funnier and more touching article than that extract might have you assume.)

Jerry Saltz's tribute to art historian Linda Nochlin, who died at the end of October.

Fiona Clark recalls the gay and drag scene of 1970s Auckland for The Spinoff.

The Remai Modern in Saskatoon (headed by ex-GBAG director Gregory Burke) is ready to open.

On Racked: ‘Menocore’ Is as Much About Wealth as It Is About Age by Sara Tatyana Bernstein. You start off thinking "God, now I have another fashion mistake to worry about' and end up having a fascinating insight into social trends.

A ghastly story of historical child abuse from Tuam, Ireland, told by the New York Times with matching gothic gifs and photographs.

On the new Zeitz Mocaa in Cape Town, and musings on whether a private museum can do more public good than restricted government-funded museums.

You only need so many articles about mid-century apartments laid out with astonishing art, but this is a good one.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Reading list, 21 October 2017

The New Zealand Labour party's Arts, Culture and Heritage election manifesto

Why fancy restaurants have Aesop soap in their bathrooms

Artsy previews the 2017 Culture Track report: "The number one barrier to all forms of cultural participation? “It’s not for someone like me”."

Article of the week: Philip Kennicott on the best gallery bench placements in Washington.

'Wim Wenders on his Polaroids – and why photography is now over'

A great article about outreach at the world's first museum of Somali culture, in Minnesota

Beatrix Ruf resigns from the Stedelijk Museum after media stories about her conflicts of interest around deals with collectors and her art advisory business: New York Times and artnet news.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Reading list, 14 October 2017

Wesley Morris for the New York Times, on three months spent listening only to albums by women, inspired by NPR's 'Turning the Tables' list.

Former Canadian art curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario Andrew Hunter explains why he quit his job. (Sort of. I mean, it's never really stated in terms of "I quit so that X would hopefully happen." It's more "I couldn't effect any more change so I left". I think.)

The Julian Schnabel comeback machine.

Kickstarter has started facilitating commissioning alongside crowdfundraising.

On sleeper hunters (curators, dealers and connoisseurs who haunt auction websites looking for mis-attributed works).

A brutal (and somewhat relieving) take on Instagram influencers.

"My problem is what it represents as a first corporate commissioned artwork of sorts that is designed to open the way for a market invasion of 3D geo-tagged branding entertainment and advertising." Artist Sebastian Errazuriz finds a way to digitally vandalise Jeff Koon's Snapchat sculptures.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Reading list, 7 October 2017

On architecture

Rowan Moore looks at the Bilbao effect and its original context, 20 years on.

Oliver Wainwright with a somewhat unsympathetic take on the extension to Tate St Ives. (Wainwright is unimpressed with the decision to preserve housing at the cost of adding more presence to the building: based on recent conversations with people about museums in towns and cities with low numbers of permanent residents but high holiday-home owners and tourism numbers, I can see where the local council was coming from. A letter from a local makes this point.)

David Chipperfield on restoring and adjusting (as invisibly as possible) Mies van der Rohe's New National Gallery in Berlin. Right down to the carpeted galleries.

On branding and promotion

Echoing a bunch of pieces I've linked to previously, on a topic I've written about quite frequently: Brands and the Museumification of Everything.

An extract on Artsy from a new book by three economists (Robert Ekelund, Jr., John Jackson, and the late Robert Tollison) on the political and market conditions that led to American painting taking pole position in post-WWII Western art.

The strategic reasoning underlying the greasy photos Domino's posts on social media.

Condé Nast is launching a new "mission-driven, multi-platform" LGBTQ-focused publication.

More than you ever possibly needed to know about tote bags.

On collecting and deaccessioning

As Baltimore Museum curators prepare a touring exhibition based largely on her collection, Pamela Joyner is profiled by Vogue on her decision to build a collection focused on black abstract artists.

Felix Salmon covers the Berkshire Museum deaccessioning plans (to raise $40 million for capital projects and their endowment by selling artworks at auction) for The New Yorker.

On MOMA's new fashion show (the first in 70 years)

Paola Antonelli and Michelle Millar Fisher assemble 111 items for what they tell us about fashion and clothing.

Roberta Smith for the New York Times

Alexandra Lange for The New Yorker

In Jeff Koons news

Snapchat has launched an augmented reality art platform, pinned on Jeff Koons' shiny balloon dogs and other baubles.

Just good writing

K. Emma Ng's 'Hey, You There! Tactics of Refusal in the Work of Luke Willis Thompson', for The Pantograph Punch.