Saturday, 30 March 2019

Reading list 30 March 2019

A show at the Musee d'Orsay temporarily retitles works after their previously anonymous black models. Kehinde Andrews responds in the Guardian: " n the most part, we remain subjects oppressed to the margins of the canvas."

A diorama at the American Museum of Natural History, depicting an imagined 17th-century meeting between Dutch settlers and the indigenous Lenape people, has been marked up to show its biases

A lawsuit against Harvard University asserts that photographs of slaves should rightfully belong to their descendants.

Olly Wainwright reviews the immense and dramatic new National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel.

Julia Morgan designed more than 700 buildings, died in 1957 aged 85 and has just had her obituary, by Alexandra Lange, published in the NYT's 'Overlooked' series.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Reading list, 23 March 2019

My dormant nerdy art historian side really enjoyed the quiz that accompanies this lengthy NYT piece on deaccessioning from American art museum collections, where you can try to guess which of three artworks from the Indianapolis Museum of Art's collection has been ranked by its curators as of lower importance than similar works.

In repatriation news: 16 German states have joined in issuing guidelines and releasing funding for repatriation of art and artefacts stolen or looted during the colonial period; the Rijksmuseum begins talks with Indonesia and Sri Lanka to return items; the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures (NMWC) has published guidelines last month for countries wanting to repatriate from the three co-managed institutions that make up the museum, though these have been criticised for centring the museum.

Taylor Whitten Brown's statistical analysis for Artsy: Why Is Work by Female Artists Still Valued Less Than Work by Male Artists?

So interesting to see what Olga Viso is advocating following leaving the Walker after the Sam Durrant affair: here, writing about the need for changes in leadership style and focus; Finding Resilience in Challenging Times

The Sackler Trust has withdrawn the offer of a long-discussed 7-figure donation to the English National Portrait Gallery to avoid embarrassment to the institution. The New York Times article on the decision (fascinatingly worded) also links to the NPG's donations and grants policy.

I hadn't been aware of this aspect of the Metropolitan Museum's introduction of entrance charges: Met Admission Fees Will Send $2.8 Million to Over 175 City Cultural Groups.

May we all receive such a generous obituary when our times come: Vale Edmund Capon

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Reading list, 16 March 2019

On artists:

An interview with American painter Betty Tompkins, once shunned and now celebrated for her 'porn' paintings:
“Everybody says to me, ‘Oh, you were so ahead of your time!’ You cannot be ahead of your time. You can only be in your time. Your today is the same as everybody else’s. What you can be is rejected by your time, and I was rejected.”
On the future of experiences in (or near) cultural institutions:

The Library of Congress wants to attract more visitors. Will that undermine its mission?

French museums operator Culturespaces has opened the Bunker des Lumières in South Korea, following on from the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, a "30-minute immersive audiovisual experience of Gustav Klimt’s paintings, featuring mural projections of the images set to music by Wagner, Strauss and Beethoven" (images here)

A Former Guggenheim Director Thinks Museums Need to be More Like Theme Parks

On arts journalism:

Niemann surveys 300 visual arts writers for a new report, Newsroom Pressure and Generational Change

On gosh, about time:

Oxford museum rethinks famed display of shrunken heads

On data:

Price comparison of various leisure activities, from art museums to the Superbowl

On copies and attributions:

‘It is for art historians to decide who painted this picture’ (a depiction of Judith and Holofernes that may be attributed to Caravaggio)

The Imitation Game (on objects in Washington D.C. museums that may not be as 'original' as they are displayed to be)




Sunday, 10 March 2019

NAVA's gender equity resources

Australia's NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts) is releasing some terrific documentation at the moment as they build out their Gender Equity Resources.

This morning I read their latest set of guidelines, Clear Expectations: Guidelines for institutions, galleries and curators working with trans, non-binary and gender diverse artists in Australia, written by Spencer Messih and Archie Barry and supported by The Countess. It's an excellent, simply and clearly explained, informative and actionable set of guidelines that institutions of any size could use.

The previous set of guidelines to this is Anonymous “Speak Up” Protocol: A guide for boards, designed for boards that are responding to an allegation of gendered harassment.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Reading list, 9 March 2019

Mega-dealer Marc Glimcher interviews by artnet on the art gallery of the future (and why painting came roaring back in the 1980s)

I recently finished Thomasin Sleigh's second book, Women in the field, One and Two, which is set in 1950s London and wellington and hinges on two (fictional) Russian modernist paintings purchased by an external art consultant for New Zealand's National Art Gallery. That sent me back to Holly Walker's interview with Sleigh for The Pantograph Punch, published earlier this year.

Hyperallergic on a suite of forthcoming solo shows across the Tate galleries that focus on women artists (course correcting some of the criticism around male-dominated programming at the institution)

I often think that simply having a history of free entry places New Zealand's visual arts institutions so far ahead of the American curve: Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland Will Become Free as Part of Inclusivity Initiative

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Reading list, 2 March 2019

Some interlinked reading and listening ...

A new academic study showing that the collections of 18 sampled US art museums' collections are hopelessly white and hopelessly male has been written up in many outlets - such as on Artnet. The study itself is also available online. Here's the method: 18 museums with their collections fully available online were selected by the researchers as credible and representative, then ...
We scraped the public online collections of 18 major U.S. art museums, retaining the
museum name, artist name, and a web link pointing to the artist’s entry in the
museum’s collection. Then, we deployed a large random subset of scraped records to the
crowdsourcing platform Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and asked crowdworkers to
research the demographics of each sampled artist, using the web link as a starting point.
Crowdworkers reported their inferences of gender, ethnicity, national origin, and birth
year, along with a numerical rating of confidence in each inference. We put in place
multiple safeguards and checkpoints to ensure the quality of our data. Starting with the
data obtained from crowdworkers, we first eliminated records that did not correspond to
individual, identifiable artists. For each remaining record, we aggregated the inferences
of multiple crowdworkers and if their responses were sufficiently self-consistent, we made a final inference of each artist’s demographic characteristics.
In line with that - a piece of research from last year, co-commissioned by Art Agency Partners and Artnet, asked African American Artists Are More Visible Than Ever. So Why Are Museums Giving Them Short Shrift?

And the Art Agency Partners podcast this week was a recording of a panel discussion they held recently at Frieze art fair: Californian Museum Leaders on Expanding the Canon.

And some randoms ...

Adrian Ellis writes about the increased public scrutiny of museum boards in the social media age, the first in a new series for The Art Newspaper.