Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post-Christmas Miscellanea

Next week, I'm going to try and sort out my impressions of the various museum shows that I've viewed and reviewed in 2010. I don't want to make this another one of the "Ten Best" lists because I don't think I can whittle the list down to ten. I also think that even shows that weren't so well reviewed had something interesting or important to say. 

And sometimes, the museum's "side dishes" to a poorly reviewed show were more tasty than the art on display. I should also add that I don't think it's the "duty" of a museum to hand you everything on a platter, silver or otherwise. If you don't like a show, feel it's incomplete or inadequate, why not think about how it could have been made better, do some research on the topic or just meditate - for a minute - on how darn difficult it must be to put these shows together. 

A Cuban in London's must read post on the status of bloggers in the official world (clue, lower than cockroaches) and his passionate rebuttal:http://cubaninlondon.blogspot.com/
Rochefoucauld Grail (in French), “King Arthur Fighting the Saxons,” Illuminated manuscript, c.1315-23, Photo courtesy Sotheby’s

 Unfortunately for the future of many museum collections (and those who love the art work), the Asian isn't the only place struggling with finances. Homa Nasab reports on financial problems at the the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (R.J. Ritman Library).

"this spectacular collection is threatened with dissolution as the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica is in conflict with the Friesland Bank. A PETITION (there is a link to the petition at the website) has been put forth by the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam to “ask the Dutch government and the Friesland bank to do their utmost to ensure that the collection will be saved and will remain available for the international scholarly community.”..

"the Library was forced to sell one of its most valuable works, the early 14th century (c.1315-23) Rochefoucauld Grail. The oldest surviving account of the legends of King Arthur was put up for auction by Sothey’s, on December 7th, to benefit the BPH. Also known as The Amsterdam, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica Manuscript, the three volume illuminated manuscript exceeded its pre-sale estimate of £1,500,000-2,000,000 when sold for £2,393,250. The text’s fourth volume is divided between the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library and the John Rylands Library in Manchester."

An art stock exchange - given how well the "other" stock exchange has worked, is this such a good idea." My opinion - drive the money changers from the Temple as in this painting by El Greco. l guess fine art has always been a commodity but this proposal makes me wonder if there is ANYTHING in our world that can't be put on the sale block? I also suspect that most artists, unless they are also a ruthless shark, will be getting a raw deal.


From The Art Newsletter: "As the notion of art as an asset gains momentum again, the first stock exchange for art—on which clients can buy shares in works from galleries—is due to launch in Paris "in the next few days" according to its website. Based on a stock market model, Art Exchange will offer collectors the chance jointly to own works of art with shares available from between €10 and €100. Participating galleries are currently selling works valued at €100,000 or more, although the exchange intends to lower this figure once the company is established. “Given that we are doing something new, we had to create confidence and credibility in the investor and this is done through having high-class art works,” said Caroline Mat thews, the director of operations at Art Exchange. Matthews also hopes the caliber of works available will encourage naysayers to invest through the exchange. “For some people, mixing fine art and finance goes against their principles, but perhaps they will see things differently in the future,” she said." (in other words, forget your principles, go for the doss?)

The NY Times follow up on the continuing case of Picasso's art, the electrician and the heirs. Nothing to see here folks, just keep on moving - now wouldn't it be just amazing if the "lower class worker" turns out to be telling the truth? What a concept!

Sharon Butler at Two Coats of Paint reports on the firing? resignation under duress? of two of LA's respected art critics. I'm sorry to see this because I enjoy reading good art criticism but I guess the unwritten subtext is that pretty soon there won't be anybody writing about art except us no-account, no-brainer bloggers. 

"According to Jori Finkel at the LA Times, critics Doug Harvey and Christopher Miles, both known for a lively sort of intellectual brinksmanship in their writing (and for curating and making art on the side)will no longer be writing for the LA Weekly."

Chole Veltman reports on an attempt to bright up a blighted area of mid-Market.

A whole series of posts on the sometimes dishonest practices of the big auction houses. I was reminded of this earlier this year when I attended a talk given by a very charming auction house employee on the restitution of stolen art. When I brought up the issue of a piece of art that was still in contention between the heirs and the museum, he waffled all over the place and never gave a direct answer.

A new Google toy: Ngrams - It’s site (with a downloadable application) that lets you access Google’s book-scanning database to chart the number of mentions of words and phrases in English-language books by year of publication.Just remember when searching for the most famous names, that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. Number of mentions does not guarantee quality, only fame and she's a fickle bitch at best.

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