Censorship, Decline, Protest, Bailout

20 01 2011

There have been a lot of museum headlines in the news over the past month.  Here’s a sampling.

Censorship at the Smithsonian

Between a Cross and a Hard Place, by Robin Cembalest, ARTNews
Critic’s Notebook: Smithsonian chief digging a deeper hole , Christopher Knight, LA Times

In the former, Cembalest puts the current controversy into historical context:

“Clough’s move has been widely compared to the Corcoran Gallery’s cancellation, in 1989, of a traveling Robert Mapplethorpe show, in order to sidestep a debate over federal funding. In that case, the attempt to avoid controversy only generated more; the then director, Christina Orr-Cahall, later apologized, and the institution’s reputation, as many point out, continues to suffer.”

Change in the face of decline

Coincidentally the Washington Post reported on how the Corcoran, “beset by years of financial troubles” and a decline in visitors, has turned “to a team of consultants in attempt to chart its destiny”:

The Corcoran, re-imagined

Long-term karmic implications of censorship notwithstanding, props to the Corcoran for opening itself up for constructive transformation and revitalization.  Perhaps the Corcoran can be a role model for others to proactively re-envision what a museum can be, in the face of adversity.

Censorship or incompetence?

In case you missed the brouhaha in December at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the original story is here:

Museum of Contemporary Art commissions, then paints over, artwork

Blu's mural, before Deitch destroyed it

Italian street artist Blu calls MOCA's removal of his mural censorship

In a nutshell, the MOCA Geffen commissioned Italian artist Blu to paint a mural the full width of one side of the museum, and the recently-hired MOCA director and former NY mega-art dealer Jeffrey Deitch was too busy at Art Basel in Miami to pre-approve or keep tabs on it, so the mural was nearly completed before Deitch returned and promptly ordered it destroyed. Read the rest of this entry »


London Calling

11 01 2011

The Art Newspaper

We were pleased this week to receive an old copy of The Art Newspaper from November 2009 that includes a news headline on page 2, “Samurai subverted: web hoaxers target ‘violent’ exhibition,” reported all the way from London, England.

There’s no direct link online, but you can access the story by searching their archive with keyword “samurai.”  It’s the first listing that appears.  Enjoy.

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