Friday, January 29, 2010

Ceci n'est pas un record store

The Wall Street Journal has an article about No Longer Empty's latest project, a recreation of a record store in a vacant space in Manhattan.
Ted Riederer and 40 other artists have created the mock "shop," which will include record albums that have their covers blacked out except for a few words. Visitors flip through the stack to read a poem. It's a piece that Mr. Riederer calls a "love letter" to the dying concept of a record store. "My goal is ... to have them in the store for 30 minutes until they realize it's not a store," he says.
Luckily, being located in Athens, Ga., we still have record stores, including ones that sell LPs, but the concept is still a fun use for an empty space.

GMOA in the News

GMOA's receipt of a Luce Grant made today's Art Daily!

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

If you're a decorative-arts person, you will, of course, be at Robert Leath's lecture tonight (7 p.m. at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education) as part of the Henry D. Green Symposium of the Decorative Arts, especially considering that it's free and open to the public (thanks to the Georgia Humanities Council). The rest of the symposium, which runs today and tomorrow, mostly at the Georgia Center, requires registration but should be a great deal of fun, as always. If for some reason you're not planning on doing all that, here are some other arts-related events going on this weekend in the Athens area and a bit beyond.

From 5 to 7 p.m., the UGA College of Environment and Design’s Circle Gallery will hold a closing reception for its exhibition "Italia," which consists of photographs and sketches of Latium, Tuscany and Venetia by professors Brian LaHaie of UGA and Clark Lundell of Auburn University. Next up at the Circle Gallery, "Plant Communities of the Trail of Tears," a collaboration between CED professor Alfie Vick’s Maymester class and the UGA Institute of Native American Studies, which runs February 3–24.

Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m., the Madison Morgan Cultural Center will hold an opening reception for the exhibition "Myths and Legends: Works on Paper by Andy Warhol," drawn from the private collection of Wes and Missy Cochran, with a gallery talk by Wes at 7 p.m. The exhibition consists of 23 silkscreened works by Warhol depicting subjects including John Wayne, Teddy Roosevelt, Super Man, Annie Oakley, John Kennedy, Mickey Mouse, the Wicked Witch of the West and Greta Garbo and will be on display through April 2.

The Lamar Dodd School of Art is hosting two opening receptions at 7 p.m. for exhibitions in its East Campus building and an open house for the jewelry and metalwork department from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Cedar St Art Annex that will show student work from intro to graduate-level courses. Opening at the Dodd proper are "@LAST: Ceramics by Arthur Gonzalez" (through February 19; image above) and "Kathy Prescott: Translucent Fusions" (through May 7). We'll let the art school describe them to you:
Dark, somber and foreboding, Arthur Gonzalez's works encourage serious deliberation and reflection on the relationship between personal concerns and world issues. Raw in form, lacking in smoothness and rough in finish, the ceramic sculptures give glimpses of a conversation or a contemplation in progress. Gonzalez's creations of ceramic and found objects reveal visions and feelings that are not polished but ongoing processes of gyrating thoughts and churning emotions that threaten to erupt into reality and consciousness to defy the fantasy of a peaceful experience.

“Drawing with other people’s marks” is the way Kathy Prescott describes her transfer collages rendered on wood board. They display her reverence for images, whether masterpieces of Western painting, nineteenth-century photographs, examples of pastry tip patterns from Martha Stewart Living or advertisements for Victoria’s Secret lingerie and Spanish cocktail olives. Even though modern technologies might come to mind, Photoshop was never even considered here. In this era of digital manipulation of images Kathy’s work is stubbornly and programmatically manual. She produces unique objects that invite meditative contemplation and capture the sense of old photographs’ melancholy. Their varnished surface gives the impression of softly filtering the light streaming from within the images, containing luminous, superimposed, inner screens. Crisp lines suspended in white space lead one’s gaze to areas of graphic flatness or volumes modeled in shades of gentle grays. Taking away the exuberance of color is a sign of the artist’s preference for understatement and self-effacement, but it is also a way of making things more complex. These essays in white, black and gray emerge as a study of the dynamic between drawing, printmaking and photography.
On Saturday, Ciné Barcafé hosts the 20th Annual Mental Health Art Auction to raise funds for Mental Health America of NE Georgia from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

From 4 to 6 p.m., the Athens-Clarke County Library will have an opening reception in its Top of the Stairs Gallery for an exhibition featuring paintings by Mia Merlin. And at 8 p.m. Athens Community Theatre will host an Athens for Haiti Benefit. Admission is $5. Storytellers, dancers, musicians, teachers and an eclectic consortium of local artists have organized their talents for an exciting hodgepodge of entertainment to benefit a Haiti relief fund. There will be a silent auction of art, classes, books, jewelry, facials, antiques and more. A ways out of town, the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta is hosting its fourth annual print fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a great opportunity to pick up some great inexpensive art.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Condolences

Paul R. Jones, a member of GMOA's Board of Advisors and a noted collector of African American art, passed away Tuesday in Atlanta, at the age of 81. As this obituary from the Birmingham News points out, he was ranked among the top 100 collectors in the United States, and he donated a large portion of that collection to the University of Alabama in 2008. We send our heartfelt expressions of sadness to his family and note that he will certainly be missed.

Economic Recovery for Art Museums

Not that the Art Newspaper isn't correct in that things are starting to look up, a bit, for art museums, but the focus on 25 leading institutions means a focus on 25 of the wealthier institutions in the country. The size of their various endowments means that a percentage drop means a bigger number on which to focus, as in this opening paragraph:
A year ago, with forecasters predicting another Great Depression, museum directors were slashing operating budgets as the value of endowments fell by at least 15%. The results: cancelled exhibitions, redundancy notices and pay freezes for those who survived (a few directors voluntarily cut their own salaries). Even the wealthiest museum was affected. The J. Paul Getty Trust was forced to make a 24% cut in employees, as the value of its endowment shrank to $4.4bn in June 2009, from $5.9bn a year before, a fall of 25%.
On the other hand, 1) having $4.4 billion at all seems like rather a lot compared to the amounts much smaller institutions have on hand, and 2) when the stock market recovers, those endowments and institutions seem to have an easier time recovering. Again, it's good news, but please don't forget the difficulties of smaller museums, where laying off staff and cutting programs can have a bigger impact, proportionately.

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

This is one busy Thursday!

Beginning at 12:30 p.m. today and running until 8:30 p.m. tonight, plus tomorrow (Friday, January 29) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., artists can submit up to three works in any media for a fee of $20 to be potentially included in the Lyndon House Arts Center's 35th Juried Art Exhibition. You can download a pdf of guidelines for submission here. The exhibition itself, which always presents a varied array of works, many of which are available for purchase, will run February 21 (with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. that day) through May 8. This year's juror is Ron Platt, Hugh Caul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Birmingham Museum.

At 5 p.m. the Lamar Dodd School of Art's series of Visual Culture Colloquium (VCC) lectures continues in Room 150 of the Dodd with Dr. John Decker, whose talk is entitled "‘Practical Devotion.’ Apotropaism and the Protection of the Soul." Here's Dr. Decker's description of his lecture:
In this paper, I investigate Petrus Christus’s "Portrait of a Female Donor" [above] in order to gain insight into a type of religious practice that differs from the more speculative form of devotion that scholars normally discuss. Modern scholarship on devotional images and devotional practices tends to privilege the more abstract and spiritually difficult aspects of preparing the soul for salvation. Rather than focusing on these subjects, I turn my attention to what I term "practical devotion." I define practical devotion as the activation and employment of images, objects, and practices dedicated to keeping body and soul safe and secure as the individual struggled along the demanding path toward salvation and redemption. Throughout the paper, I focus my discussion on one of practical devotion’s constituent elements, the concept of apotropaism, in order to understand this practice better.
Decker is assistant professor of art history at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

From 7 to 8 p.m. at ATHICA, guest essayist Mary Jessica Hammes and curator/ATHICA director Lizzie Zucker Saltz will lead a tour and discussion of the current exhibition "Nurture," which features work by Amy Jenkins and explores societal attitudes about breast-feeding and non-sexual nudity. All ages are welcome.

Also at 7 p.m., Flicker Bar, in downtown Athens, will hold a closing reception for an exhibition of paintings by Andrew Cayce (see above), which was very positively reviewed in Flagpole. A live performance by the band DQE will follow the reception.

Finally, if you happen to be in Atlanta, local artist Didi Dunphy has work in the exhibition "Limitless" at Agnes Scott College, which will hold an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Limitless” is inspired by the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope by Galileo Galilei. As Galileo embodied a pure spirit of the liberal arts with his holistic approach to discovery through creativity and imagination, the artists in “Limitless” ‘reveal hidden worlds’ by taking wide-ranging approaches to art making while using an expansive scope to view the universe. Blasting off through conservative lines of boundary, their inventiveness takes them beyond tradition. In “Limitless,” modes of play, listening and looking—and a general draw on the senses—are primary.
Don't wear yourself out, though. The Green Symposium starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New-York Historical Society to open children’s museum

An article in the New York Times discusses the growing number of children’s museums around the country and the plans of the New York-Historical Society to open one in 2011. In 2007, there were 243 children’s museums in the United States, with 78 in the planning stages, compared with 38 children’s museums in 1975.

In November 2011, the New-York Historical Society will open the DiMenna Children’s History Museum. In an effort to make history more vivid for children, the Historical Society will make the new museum alluring and accessible for kids. The museum will be an interactive experience that will focus on the lives of young New Yorkers, from famous figures like Alexander Hamilton, who came to New York as a teenage orphan to attend college, to the boys and girls who hawked newspapers on city streets 100 years ago. Educators helped select a diverse group of historical figures to illuminate different aspects of history.

The museum’s exhibits will be pitched at about a fourth-grade level, but the information presented is intended to appeal to all ages.

An exhibit about the “orphan trains” that took thousands of children from New York to rural and farm communities across the country will allow children to sit next to a cutout of a composite orphan on a three-dimensional train, listen to train noises and see a map of places along the routes. The exhibit will also feature children’s art and photographs and letters from the children who rode the orphan trains.

Most exhibits will focus on individuals and their stories. One exhibit will feature a “talking” portrait of a young Cornelia van Varick, the daughter of a 17th-century female textile merchant, meant to show what life was like for a young girl at the time.

The museum will include many interactive features like touch screens presenting toys from various periods, a place where children can videotape their own histories and a historical “facebook.” Visitors will be able to use maps and other documents to solve history’s mysteries.

“The unifying architectural design of the museum is that you’ll feel like you’re inside a cabinet of curiosities,” said Lee Skolnick, the designer of the museum, who has also designed 50 other children’s museums. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum will be located in the same building as the New-York Historical Society and will be about 4,000 square feet.

Saving Haitian art

The earthquake in Haiti not only affected people, but also art, an important part of Haitian life. “It is difficult to talk about saving art when we must save lives,” said Haitian painter Maritou Chenet. The Centre d’Art, Port-au-Prince’s main art museum, was destroyed by the earthquake along with various other galleries and museums.

Above: Maritou Chenet at the Centre d'Art. [Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times]

Haitian art is known for its symbolism, vivid colors and depictions of African culture. Paintings, sculptures and flags (or banners) are quintessential art forms in Haiti. Much of the art in these museums has been damaged or destroyed, but some pieces were spared and are now being saved out of the rubble. Fortunately, many major works were out of the country and, thus, safe.

Above: Paintings in the ruins of the Centre d'Art. [Brian Vander Brug / LA Times]

Many museums in the United States are working for the cause and hosting shows, exhibitions and benefits. The Waterloo Center for the Arts has a Haitian collection and is establishing a relief fund. The Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans is organizing “Saints, Spirits and Sequins: Art from Haiti,” a show from which proceeds will benefit Haiti relief. The Figge Art Museum and the Milwaukee Art Museum are also supporting efforts.

Haitian artists who survived the earthquake are beginning to incorporate the disaster into their art, as seen in the painting below.

Above: Painting by Frantz Zephirin. [Brian Vander Brug / LA Times] 

GMOA Student Association gets off to a great start

Our fledgling GMOA Student Association had a table at the Student Activities Fair yesterday, in the Tate Center Grand Ballroom, and we were thrilled with the results. Jackson Pollock cookies were handed out. Email addresses were collected. And, on the whole, we seem well on our way to having a thriving student organization. Thanks to all the students who manned the table, baked, smiled and handed out fliers!

Art Around Athens

We can't find a whole lot of information about it, but, according to the Lamar Dodd School of Art e-newsletter, painter Blake Shirley, a Georgia Society of Contemporary Painters (GASCAP) visiting artist, will speak tonight at 6 p.m. in Room S371 of the Dodd, in conjunction with the opening of an exhibition of his work in the Graduate Drawing and Painting Gallery (through February 10).

Oh snap!

We always enjoy Tyler Green's Modern Art Notes blog, which is zippy and smart in its commentary on all manner of museum and art issues, but his latest achievement, provoking the directors of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and New Orleans Museum of Art into a Superbowl bet comparable to the ones in which mayors often participate, especially deserves some notice. No mere polite exchange this. E. John Bullard and Max Anderson have been trash talking with glee. For what it's worth, New Orleans is a slight underdog in the game.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Art Restoration

We joked yesterday on Twitter about hoping patrons try to keep their balance in the museum, despite the fact that there's no "you break it, you buy it" rule in place, but yesterday's New York Times has a great in-depth look at what, exactly, may have to be done to restore the early Picasso painting that was recently damaged at the Met. It's considerably more complicated than the layperson may realize, especially in cases where, as the article points out, multiple paintings may exist on the same canvas. Conservators and art restorers can do phenomenal things, but it's a rather involved process. Slate has different but equally interested details of some of what may be involved.

GMOA in the News

UGA's News Service just publicized the following two important stories about GMOA, so expect to start seeing them showing up in the media. The first is the museum's receipt, alongside two other institutions, of a Luce Grant for a collaborative traveling exhibition.
UGA's Georgia Museum of Art awarded grant for collaborative exhibition and catalogue
Jan 26, 2010, 09:36

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in partnership with the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma was recently awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the exhibition and catalogue of Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy.

The Georgia Museum of Art will publish a catalogue of the exhibition featuring essays by curators from the organizing museums and an entry on each work. The staff of the three museums will collaborate on educational programs and on publicity and marketing including national promotions in several leading American art periodicals. The exhibition will tour in 2012-2013, opening in Auburn, Ala., and closing in Athens with a possible fourth venue to be determined.

Art Interrupted will reassemble, to the extent possible, a group of contemporary, modernist paintings purchased by the U.S. State Department in1946 for a goodwill tour of Latin America and Europe. The original exhibition of 119 paintings, Advancing American Art, was part of a new direction in international diplomacy, and, though it was met with praise from art critics here and abroad, it was directly assailed by American conservative groups who used the national media and members of Congress to vilify its modernist slant. As a result, the exhibition tour was cancelled and the works auctioned as government surplus; the three project partners acquired at a huge discount a combined total of 82 works originally included in Advancing American Art.

Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy will feature approximately 100 works, primarily oil paintings and watercolors, representing artists from various backgrounds and at different stages in their careers. In 1946, these artists were considered among the most talented modernists of the time. Some were well known or gained a solid reputation later in the century, as in the case of Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Arthur Dove, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ben Shahn, Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. Others, such as Nahum Tschabachov, Mitchell Siporin, Karl Zerbe and David Burliuk are little known today in spite of large bodies of existing work.

The goal of Art Interrupted is to assess these works of art as key examples of modern American art, reflective and expressive of all the diverse styles and influences that defined that movement in the mid-20th century.The exhibition also will examine government sponsorship of the arts, cultural propaganda and the culture wars, issues that pertain to present-day as well as historical circumstances.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, cofounder and editor in chief of Time, Inc. The Luce Foundation supports projects in American art, higher education, Asian affairs, theology, women in science and engineering and public policy and the environment.

Through the Program in American Art, begun in 1982, the foundation has distributed more than $130 million to some 250 museums, universities and service organizations in 47 states, the District of Columbia and internationally.
The second big story is that Buddy and Lucy Allen, two of our most devoted patrons, were named "Patrons of the Year" by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries (GAMG).
"Buddy" and Lucy Allen win GMOA "Patrons of the Year" Award
Jan 25, 2010, 14:29

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries recently recognized Mr. and Mrs. B. Heyward Allen Jr. of Athens as “Patrons of the Year” for their service to the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia.

“Buddy” Allen and his wife, Lucy, have worked to advance the missions of both GMOA and the University of Georgia through their many civic endeavors.

The Allens are past co-presidents of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, GMOA’s membership organization. Buddy is currently the vice-chairman of the museum’s Board of Advisors and is the longest serving member of the board. Lucy is a member of the Decorative Arts Advisory Committee, which supports the museum’s Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts. In 2002, she chaired “Bella Sera: An Elegant Salute,” one of GMOA’s most successful events ever, with more than 300 in attendance. Buddy chaired the fundraising committee for the event, which raised more than $100,000 for the museum.

The Allens have a collection of works by Georgia artists, which they have lent to the museum for exhibitions. In addition, they have inspired members of their family to join them in service to GMOA. Members of the Allen family have served on the Friends’ Board of Directors as well as GMOA committees. Allen family members also have hosted various events and dinners benefiting the museum.

The Allens are members of the museum’s Director’s Circle, providing unrestricted funds to the museum, and are major supporters of both of GMOA’s current capital campaigns.

Recognizing the need for visual arts education, the Allens have funded bus transportation each year so that every fifth-grade class in Athens-Clarke County has the opportunity to visit the museum. Since 1985, Heyward Allen Toyota and Heyward Allen Motor Company, have sponsored Family Days at the museum, which have introduced thousands of children and their parents to art. GAMG honored Heyward Allen Motor Company with its Corporate Sponsor of the Year award in 1992.

For their dedication to the museum, the Allens were honored at an awards luncheon on Friday,Jan. 22, during the association’s annual meeting, held this year in Thomasville.

GAMG gives the “Patron of the Year” award annually to an individual or group who has worked closely with a museum demonstrating leadership and providing assistance; who is a major promoter of the museum in his or her local areas or statewide; and who in the past year has made a significant contribution and will continue to be a supporter in the future. Previous recipients of the award associated with GMOA include Shannon Candler, Jane Mullins, Louis T. Griffith and C.L. Morehead Jr.

Art Around Athens

We know it's a really busy week, but it would be a real shame to miss tonight's visiting artist lecture by Guerra de la Paz (Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz) at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at 5:30 p.m. Here's what the art school has to say about their work:
Guerra de la Paz is the composite name that represents the creative team efforts of Cuban born artists, Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz. We began working as a collective in 1996 when we decided to share a studio in Miami’s Little Haiti. It has evolved into an ongoing collaboration that has grown by way of experimentation and constant dialog, combining two contrastive personalities to form a single entity with a visual language that conveys a universal message referencing the many different dimensions of the human experience; A cross-cultural look at dichotomies and parallels, mixing classicism with the general consensus of the day and iconic imagery with a complexity of identities.

We’re visually stimulated by our immediate surroundings. Our neighborhood has been the catalyst for much of our work - A paradox where gritty industrial warehouses cohabitate with lush tropical vegetation. Gentrified pockets juxtaposed by rustic areas adorned with hand painted murals and billboards that are quickly redesigned by nature. The ever-present evidence of erosion guarantees that nothing stays new for long and exposes a sense of impermanence that encourages our own bucolic approach, to collect and reuse discarded materials. Deemed obsolete - a testament to the passing of time and the realization of a modernity fading away – their roles are redefined when they become components in our compositions.

Our close proximity to the Pepe businesses that once thrived in Little Haiti has been a major source of inspiration. Gaining access to an overabundance of discarded clothing - relics that once helped define an individual’s personality and communally speak of environmental issues, mass consumption, and disposability – opened the doors for us to working with garments as a material. We often see ourselves as vehicles guided by their essence and silent histories.

Although it has been a great influence, by no means do we feel bound to what we amass from around our studio. And though repurposing the ready-made remains a dominant factor in our method, it is important to maintain our aesthetic and have found incorporating other materials to be inevitable. Weather new or old, handmade or manufactured, the main objective is to realize our concepts to the fullest. Deviating from our painting backgrounds, we apply this principle to our entire process and choose to not limit ourselves to any one style or technique, integrating a diverse range of work into a definitive shared vision.
Also, we'll be at the UGA Student Activities Fair today, starting at 11 a.m., in the Tate Center Grand Ballroom, helping promote our new/reinvigorated GMOA student group. There's a rumor of cookies, too.

Monday, January 25, 2010

AIDS Memorial Quilt on display in Gwinnett

We almost forgot to mention it, but a section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt went on display at the UGA Gwinnett Campus in Lawrenceville today and will be on view there through Saturday. Here's the press release from UGA News Service.

Lawrenceville, Ga. – A section of the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt—the 54-ton, handmade tapestry that stands as a memorial to more than 91,000 individuals lost to AIDS—will be on view from Jan. 25-30 at the University of Georgia Gwinnett Campus in Lawrenceville.

The display is being presented by the department of student affairs at the Gwinnett Campus. Visitors may view the quilt from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. in the lobby of the building at 2530 Sever Road, just off 1-85 at the Old Peachtree Road exit.

The NAMES Project Foundation, established in 1987, is the international organization that is the custodian of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The AIDS Memorial Quilt began with a single panel created in San Francisco in 1987. Today, the quilt is composed of more than 47,000 individual 3 x 6 foot panels, each one commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS. These panels come from every state in the nation, every corner of the globe and they have been sewn by hundreds of thousands of friends, lovers and family members into this epic memorial, the largest piece of ongoing community art in the world.

“These handmade blocks, created by friends and family, tell the stories of real people who were loved and lost to AIDS,” said Julie Rhoad, executive director of the NAMES Project Foundation. “We bring you their stories in the hope of inspiring compassion, healing and personal responsibility. We thank UGA for hosting this event and we invite visitors to see what wonderful healing art we have created together as a nation.”

Sections are continuously on display across the country in schools, places of worship, community centers, businesses, corporations and a variety of other institutional settings in the hope of making the realities of HIV and AIDS real, human and immediate. To date, more than 17 million people have seen the AIDS Memorial Quilt at tens of thousands of displays throughout the world.

For more information on the display at the UGA Gwinnett Campus, call 678/985-6767.

For more information on the NAMES Project and the AIDS Memorial Quilt, see or call the national headquarters in Atlanta at 404/688-5500.
The quilt is not only a touching memorial but a giant, collaborative work of art, and we'd certainly recommend you stop by and take a look.

European Museums Moving Toward “Americanizing” Their Funding

A recent article in the New York Times discusses how the museums of Europe have recently been “Americanizing” by relying more on private contributions and less on government spending.

The culture secretary for Britain’s Conservative Party, Jeremy Hunt, announced that a new, U.S.-style “culture of philanthropy” would be implemented if the Tories take power in the coming election.

Hunt spoke before the State of the Arts Conference in London about a future of tax breaks to encourage private donations and help cut back on government spending. While he assured the audience that he did believe in government spending, he said he remained committed to a mixed-economy funding model for the arts.

In Paris last month, the Pompidou Museum was shut down by a strike for more than two weeks because France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, also wants to reduce government support for the arts. He has proposed making cuts in the entire nation’s workforce, including at cultural institutions. French museums are supposed to raise money if they want more workers, or “Americanize” as Hunt wants to do in Britain.

Dider Alaime, who represents France’s biggest union, worries that the more public institutions are dependent on outside financing, the less they will be able to control the policies that are financed. For example, a few years ago the Louvre Museum relied on a gift from Total, an oil company, to finance the restoration of its Apollo Gallery, where the name of the sponsor is now displayed more visibly than the name of the gallery.

In European nations where the government currently picks up the tab for culture, there is no tradition of private giving. There are few tax incentives to entice private donations, and volunteer work at museums is even frowned upon because paid employees consider it a threat.

A disadvantage of government-sponsored culture is that in many cases, political figures have opened cultural institutions merely to stamp their names on them; politics can also twist how objects are displayed and how history is represented. While strings are usually attached to private patronage as well, having a variety of donors tends to allow museums more independence and flexibility.

For now, European museums seem to be caught in the middle between dependence on private contributions and government funding, but the system seems to be moving toward the “American way” of relying on private contributions.

New Media

Following up on Julia Chiang's ring pops, here are Eric Daigh's Chuck Close-esque portraits made from a common office supply. (via)

Construction Updates from Holder

Here's the update for the week ending Friday, January 22, 2010:

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
· Installing 1st Floor Brick
· Continue MEP overhead 1st Floor
· Continue MEP overhead 2nd Floor
· Continue Gallery interior wall vapor barrier
· Completed skylight water tests
· Continue working on connector roof

Existing Building Renovations
· Completed MEP overhead rough-in
· Completed framing of walls

Storage Bar
· Completed structural tie ins to existing building
· Completed the exterior concrete wall waterproofing / vapor barrier.
· Poured elevated slab
· Poured slab on grade

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
· Start drywall on 2nd Floor
· Start framing restrooms on 1st Floor
· Continue installing brick 1st Floor
· Curtain wall framing and installing punch openings
· Setting external stairs
· MEP in-wall rough-in on 2nd Floor

Existing Building Renovations
· Continuing framing of walls
· Start hanging drywall
· Start in-wall rough-in
· Install new AHU M-8 and new duct
· Demo external walls to new storage bar

Storage Bar
· Continue cmu walls on exterior foundation
· Infilling cmu opening to the existing building
· Backfilling exterior structure walls
· Switch over new chill water line and removing temporary line
· Loading new roof with materials and begin moving existing roof on the Art Building.

South elevation progress

Poured elevated slab at storage bar

Gallery 2nd-floor framing

Friday, January 22, 2010

Art and the Brain

Image: Jean Arp's "The Woman of Delos"

This week the exhibition “Beauty and the Brain: A Neural Approach to Aesthetics" will open at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore as part of a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University that, with the cooperation of museum visitors, will look at why certain artwork attracts the human brain, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Equipped with 3-D glasses and clipboards, participants will be asked to view altered 3-D versions of sculptures by the abstract artist Jean Arp and indicate which versions they found most and least attractive.

Gary Vikan, director of the Walters and curator of the show, hopes that this study will provide insight into the unique brain activity produced in response to compelling works of art, the idea that successful artists have an inherent understanding of the brain and what aesthetic qualities please the areas that process visual cues.

Professor of neuroscience at the Mind/Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins Ed Connor is overseeing this study. The findings from the Walters will be combined with results from another experiment that measures participants’ reactions to the same works of art using magnetic brain-imaging scanners.

Connor and Vikan are hopeful that the findings from these studies and others like them could be used to make exhibitions more engaging and aesthetically pleasing to visitors.

Sotheby’s offering James S. Copley’s library of original manuscripts in April

In April of this year, Sotheby’s of New York will offer the James S. Copley library, a large collection of original manuscripts of American history and worldwide literary, artistic and scientific achievement.

The collection reflects the interest and passion of Copley, a collector and newspaper publisher. Working with curator Richard Reilly, he assembled around 2,000 manuscripts, books, pamphlets and maps during the 1960s and 1970s that is today valued at more than $15 million.

Copley was the editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune and CEO of Copley Press until his death in 1973. He received numerous industry awards, and he and his wife were notable philanthropists in the San Diego area.

President Richard Nixon appointed Copley to the Bicentennial Media Committee in 1969, and his collection reflects his interest in U.S. history, containing many publications related to the struggle of the United States to gain its independence and establish its Constitution.

Copley’s collection includes documents from Thomas Paine, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison and many more.

Up until now, there has been public access to the library and scholarly research has been undertaken, but the exhibitions and interest the upcoming auctions will create will expose many more people to the impressive collection.

“In our years of handling private collections, this is a rare opportunity for existing and new collectors to find such a comprehensive treasure trove of American historical documents, books, manuscripts and fine art, including autographs of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence, manuscripts from Presidents Washington to Lincoln and beyond, examples of prolific Americans such as Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and George Gershwin as well as so many other iconic works. It is a veritable Who’s Who from three centuries of America,” said Elizabeth von Habsburg, President of Gurr Johns, Inc, the agent for the library in the sale.

Copley’s library will be sold in a series of eight auctions that will be held over the course of a year, beginning in April.

Click here for a more detailed list of documents and historical figures included in the collection.

AAM Strategic Plan: The Spark

The American Association of Museums (AAM) has just released its strategic plan for 2010-2015, titled "The Spark" (you can download it at that link) and consisting of four goals: excellence, advocacy, sustainability and alignment. The plan is brief (a four-page pdf) and outlines beliefs and values as well as goals. AAM says these will guide "decision making and will drive the Association’s behavior and activities into the future [as well as articulating] a vision for museums, the field, and AAM. We have reworked our mission to highlight our strong commitment to leadership, advocacy, collaboration and service." Those goals may sound pretty abstract, but they're focused more in the document itself.

Excellence = "Develop clearly defined levels of excellence accessible to the entire museum field and recognized by the public."

Advocacy = "Promote the value of museums."

Sustainability = "Build a financially stable and sustainable association in order to provide the best possible service and leadership to the field."

Alignment = "Align internal and external resources, culture, and structures with our strategic plan, vision, values and beliefs."

Each of these is then further broken down into even more concrete steps, such as "Communicate museum standards to the field and to the general public" under "Excellence."

Take a look at the plan and let us know 1) whether you think these are the right goals to pursue and beliefs to espouse, and 2) any ideas you have for making those goals reality and those beliefs more visible. We'd love to hear from you.

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

If you haven't had a chance yet to see "Tutorial," the exhibition at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) consisting of works by its instructors, today (Friday, January 22) is a perfect opportunity, as there's a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Visual artists showcased are Maria Dondero, Monica Jones, Leah Mantini, Walker Montogomery, Peggy Pitts and Dave Smiley, and the exhibition is up until the following week (it closes January 28).

At the very same time and place, OCAF is celebrating the opening of "Heart & Soul,” an exhibition that showcases the work of eight black artists: Gwen Patterson, Harold Rittenberry, John Ahee, Margo Candelario, Margaret Warfield, Sammie Nicely, Warren Fletcher and Yvonne Studevan.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 23), the Lamar Dodd School of Art will hold a closing reception at 3 p.m. for its exhibition of work created as part of the UGA Studies Abroad, Cortona, Italy, program in 2008. The exhibition is on the third floor of the building, and a a reunion of students and faculty who participated in the programs will take place at the same time on the ground floor of the building. The work covers the studio areas of painting, drawing, watercolor, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry/metals, book arts, graphic design, interior design and landscape architecture. Art history, art education, Italian language and creative writing students are also involved in the programs.

Sunday, January 24, from 2 to 4 p.m., as mentioned earlier here, Ciné will hold a free reception for the silent auction of works donated by local artists for the annual Mental Health Benefit. The actual auction takes place next week, Sunday, January 31, from 6 to 9 p.m., also at Ciné, but this is a chance to browse and think about what might look good on your walls. The images of art donated this year are posted online as well.

Finally, note that the undergraduate Art History Society at UGA has started a Tumblr, which you might want to follow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


See if you can guess what materials Julia Chiang constructed this installation piece out of before you click through to find out. Hint: she would have been right at home in our rings exhibition.

New Media Gives the Public a Role

The New York Times ran a great article yesterday about specific ways museums are using new media to interact with their patrons. As the author puts it, "While museums have been experimenting with the Web for years, these projects have often consisted of little more than an exhibit photo gallery or online guestbook. In recent years, however, the rise of social media has given Web users the technological wherewithal to play a more active role in shaping the direction of museum collections." The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which isn't yet open has a Virtual Shtetl project to help collect photographs, videos and audio recordings "related to life in 1,300 towns with Jewish populations before and after World War II." The Smithsonian provides another example:
Last February the Luce Foundation Center of the Smithsonian American Art Museum invited Web users to help decide which paintings should be displayed in its visible storage facility, typically frequented by art historians and other scholars. Museum staff created a Flickr group called Fill the Gap, which allows users to suggest items to fill the bare wall spaces left when paintings are removed for conservation or lent to other institutions.

Fill the Gap represents a tiny but potentially precedent-setting step for the Smithsonian as a whole, where a larger conversation is starting to percolate around the changing role of curators in a Web 2.0 world. That institution recently began an ambitious initiative called the Smithsonian Commons to develop technologies and licensing agreements that would let visitors download, share and remix the museum’s vast collection of public domain assets. Using the new tools, Web users should be able to annotate images, create personalized views of the collection and export fully licensed images for use on their own Web sites or elsewhere.

The Smithsonian’s new-media director, Michael Edson, described the initiative as a step in the institution’s larger mission to shift “from an authority-centric broadcast platform to one that recognizes the importance of distributive knowledge creation.”

“Distributive knowledge creation” can be a tricky business. While social-media platforms may open up possibilities for user participation, they also carry the risk of promoting bad information and questionable judgments and of eroding the authority of institutional curators. In this sense museums are grappling with the same technological conundrum as other cultural institutions, like universities, publishers and newspapers: how to reconcile institutional principles of order with the liberating impulses of electronic networks.
The rest of the article focuses on the last question, and while there are disagreements and the right method to handle shifting nexuses of power is still evolving, the discussion is worth reading.

GMOA in the News

There's a very nice article this morning in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the Georgia Art Museum Partnership, a collaboration among GMOA, the High Museum of Art, the Albany Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum and the Telfair Museum of Art. Initially, the program will last three years, but it may be extended.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What You Can Do for Haiti Locally

The Lamar Dodd School of Art newsletter is calling our attention to the following story:
Rob Peterson, an MFA candidate in Drawing and Painting visited Haiti for three weeks in December to participate in "The Ghetto Bienalle", an event created by the Grand Rue Resistance of Haiti, an artists' collective in Port au Prince. see:

One of the artists, Guyodo, subsequently visited Athens and two days later the earthquake struck. Guyodo is here for another week while trying to get back to Haiti. Rob and Guyodo spoke to an audience of about 250 students on Thursday, January 14th.

A sale of Guyodo's work is scheduled for this coming Thursday, January 21st from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm at The Hangar (486 Barber St. Directions: go north on Barber and it will be your last left before the train tracks) to enable Guyodo to return to his country.

Come and meet Guyodo and please consider this unique opportunity to support Guyodo during the ongoing tragedy that unfolds in Haiti.
Here's a Google Map to The Hangar.

AAMD Mapping Project Results

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) has been working on a project designed to map the economic and cultural impact of museums. These are the map pages produced for the Georgia Museum of Art from information the museum supplied. Click below to make them bigger, so you can read the text.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Annual Mental Health Benefit at Ciné

The 20th Annual Mental Health Benefit, which runs January 24 to 30, is calling for donated art in order to raise mental health awareness in the Northeast Georgia community. The donated art will then be auctioned off in order to raise money for the awareness and prevention of mental health discrimination in the workplace and in society. In the organization’s own words, the money from the benefit will help “continue the mission of the MHANEGA by advocating for the rights of mental health consumers and their families, educating the public, and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness” ( On January 24, from 2 to 4 p.m Ciné Barcafe is hosting the free reception. To view works of art up for auction The MHANEGA website also provides a brief mission statement:

Mental Health America of Northeast Georgia is affiliated with Mental Health America of Georgia and the national Mental Health America organization. We recently changed our name from the Mental Health Association to communicate how fundamental mental health is to the overall health and well being of our citizens: locally, throughout the state, and nationally.

We want all people to understand how to protect and improve their mental health, and know when and how to seek help for themselves or someone close to them.

We want our state schools, businesses, healthcare system and other settings to have the knowledge and resources they need to respond to the mental health of their constituencies and achieve their missions.

We want all Georgians to have access to high quality, affordable and personalized
preventative, early-identification and treatment services, when and if the need arises.

We want persons with disabling mental illnesses to receive the support, treatment and services that they need to recover and live full lives in their communities.

Check back on the MHANEGA Web site to see art up for auction

Jim Herbert Lecture Tonight

Edit: Scratch that! The lecture scheduled for today has been canceled. We hope it'll be rescheduled soon.

Please note that, if you haven't seen the installation of Jim Herbert's paintings over at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, tonight (Tuesday, January 19) is the perfect opportunity to do so, as Herbert will be speaking at 5:30 p.m. there, in Gallery 101. Even if you have already seen the paintings, it's worth a trip. We hear he's a fabulous speaker!

GMOA in the News

Checking our Google Alerts this morning after a holiday weekend, we noticed two mentions of the museum. Culture Grrl mentions our director, William U. Eiland, in a post on the deaccessioning press release by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), complete with a link to the release. Bill is cochair of AAMD's Deaccessioning Task Force. Unsurprisingly (and rightly), the release reiterates AAMD's policy on deaccessioning ("works cannot be deaccessioned to provide funds for operating or capital purposes and such funds may only be used for the refinement and expansion of the collection").

Also, if you happen to be in or near Greensburg, Penn., on March 25, our friend Jason Schoen is speaking at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in connection with an exhibition of paintings from his collection, "Concerning the 1930s in Art: Paintings from the Schoen Collection." Schoen has been a wonderful friend to GMOA, placing many of the works in his collection (both paintings and works on paper) on long-term loan with the museum, and we plan to reopen with "The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection," a fine exhibition of just such.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Construction Updates from Holder

Here's the construction update for the week ending today, January 15, 2010.

Current week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Completed skylight metal panels
• Completed Gallery Vapor Barrier
• Completed West elevation limestone
• Installing 1st Floor Brick
• Continue MEP overhead 1st Floor
• Continue MEP overhead 2nd Floor
• Gallery Spray Insulation is complete
• Gallery interior wall vapor barrier started

Storage Bar
• Completing structural tie ins to existing building
• Continue the exterior concrete wall waterproofing / vapor barrier.

Next week - Activities/Issues:
New Gallery / Connector
• Continue working on connector roofing.
• Continue to install the exterior vapor barrier and limestone.
• Continue MEP overhead in the gallery.
• Complete water test of skylights
• Installing interior vapor barrier gallery.

Existing Building Renovations
• Continue with the MEP overhead rough-in.
• Start framing walls

Storage Bar
• Pour elevated slabs
• Start Exterior wall framing
• Pour S.O.G.

Gallery window glass

3rd-floor interior wall framing

1st-floor connector poured concrete

Art Around Athens (and Beyond)

Athens Academy has an exhibition up in its Myers Gallery of work by more than 20 local teachers, through February 12.

If you happen to be in Atlanta this weekend, or any time after that, check out the "Professori di Cortona Exhibition" at the Gallery at Chastain Arts Center, a Facility of the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs (135 W. Wieuca Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30342). The exhibition consists of selected works from the Lamar Dodd School of Art faculty in the Cortona Studies Abroad Program, 1970–2009. Its opening reception (free and open to the public) is this Saturday, January 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., and the exhibition runs through February 27. The exhibition will include works by Jim Barness, Scott Belville, Kinzey Branham, R.G. Brown, Jim Buonaccorsi, Didi Dunphy, Mary Engle, Tad Gloeckler, Ian Hagarty, Melissa Harshman, Carole Henry, Christopher Hocking, Thom Houser, Rob Jackson, Rick Johnson, Jack Kehoe, Mary Ruth Moore, Margaret Morrison, Alex Murawski, Mary Hallam Pearse, Ben Reynolds, Chris Robinson, Frank Saggus, Zuzka Vaclavik, Eileen Wallace, Lanny Webb, Jeffrey Whittle, Gene Wright and Sunkoo Yuh.

This Sunday, January 17, from 2 to 4 p.m., the State Botanical Garden of Georgia will hold an opening reception and a gallery talk by the artist (at 3 p.m.) for an exhibition of works of silk batik fabric art by Jamie Kirkell. Kirkell will discuss his work, the history of batik and more. The exhibition will be on view through February 28.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Art History Lecture - Lamar Dodd School of Art

Attention all art history lovers! Dr. Cecily J. Hilsdale will talk on the subject of Byzantine art this Thursday, Jan. 14, at 5 p.m. in room S150 of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Her lecture, titled “The Imperial Image and the End of Exile: Byzantine Art and the Restoration of Constantinople (1261),” will discuss images of the Emperor during the years of exile, which occurred between the crusaders’ conquests of Constantinople in 1204 and the restoration of the city in 1261.

This talk is the second in a series of lectures sponsored by the Association of Graduate Art Students. Dr. Hilsdale specializes in Medieval Art with an emphasis on Byzantine Art in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University in Montreal.

The Getty Museum begins utilizing ArtBabble, YouTube and Flickr

According to an article from, the J. Paul Getty Museum, located in Los Angeles, will be increasing its distribution of video and images online.

The Getty will now be posting videos of exhibitions on ArtBabble, an online video-sharing forum created by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. A few of the other participating museums include the Guggenheim, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Erin Coburn, head of the Getty’s Collection Information and Access department, says that Art Babble is quickly building a community of art lovers by fostering discussion, sharing and exploration online.

The Getty has also recently launched its presence on YouTube. “We produce videos with an eye toward their life and usefulness beyond our own galleries, and YouTube and ArtBabble are ideal sites for sharing our material,” says Coburn.

The Getty receives many requests for copies of its videos to be used by other educational and cultural institutions. The use of ArtBabble and YouTube by the Getty will allow users to easily embed, download or stream high-quality copies from the museum for their own educational use.

In addition, the Getty recently began posting images of works from the museum and the Getty Villa in Malibu on Flickr.

The Getty Center is using these outlets to make its collections accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world, and, thus, to engage with the public more directly.

Construction Photos

Weekly construction tours for staff have finally hit the end of the alphabet (in reverse order), meaning this week's lucky tourists were Dale Couch and Hillary Brown. Progress continues to be made, and even Annelies Mondi, who seems to be over at the site every day, pointed out some new things to notice. The structural steel for the connector is done, and while interior construction hasn't begun in earnest, there are signs of it, as well as of where the bump-out will take place on the interior. Enjoy the slideshow of photos below.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Whitney Tackling Issues of Copyright and Reproduction

Issues of reproduction and copyright surfaced recently at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The inception of a new show dealing with significant past exhibitions brought up the question of whether or not the museum should engage in significant restoration of Claes Oldenburg’s “Ice Bag-Scale C.” Because the work has fallen into disrepair, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, the Whitney’s associate director for conservation and research, suggested it should be restored to resemble what it looked like in its heyday. According to the Observer,

The bag was meant to subtly inflate and deflate, evoking something like a sleeping creature. It needed extensive restoration before it could be exhibitable.

Although Mancusi-Ungaro saw nothing wrong with this restoration, others on the Whitney’s board thought it sacrilege. Most of the project’s critics believed the process to be equivalent to forgery or creating a replica. If the piece is to resemble what it used to look like 30 years ago, it would need significant restoration. That is, there has been so much decay that restoring this piece might conflict with its integrity. The Observer recounts:

The skin had decayed and the motors never worked properly—it was not in good condition,” said Carol Mancusi- Ungaro . . . . “We had to replace a fair amount of it.

So what counts as a replica, and who dictates legitimate practices? Furthermore, we can ask ourselves how conceptual art enters this debate, “where the idea or gesture is more important than the particular object used to express it,” as with MOMA’s exhibition of Gabriel Orozco’s “Yogurt Caps.” In this particular situation, the original pieces, four yogurt lids attached to a bare wall, were sold to a private collector, but the gallery had an extra set of lids in case a need for them ever arose. Questions regarding whether it would be ethical and legal to use the surrogate and derivative yogurt caps started plaguing the curators.

Thankfully, the Whitney Replication Committee, which consists of Mancusi-Ungaro, the Whitney’s registrar, the collections manager, the in-house legal counsel, and various curators, is ready to address these thorny issues. The committee meets once a month and has been doing so for the past year and a half. In essence, the team works collectively to draft new curatorial, restoration and exhibitional systems to answer the questions contemporary art poses—and, in particular, whether to restore the “Ice Bag.” These questions will arise more and more as the bounds of contemporary art expand into abstract territory. Not only must we ask ourselves how to restore organic matter, but also how we can restore/revive movements, digital image and sound? Must we consider art-historical tenets on issues of originality for our contemporary context? Paulina Pobocha, curatorial assistant to Ann Tempkin, the chief curator at MoMA, offers a different approach to thinking about the matter of the duplicating the yogurt caps and altering or replacing an original piece. “The importance of the work, I think, lies in the gesture more than it does in the actual artifact,” she says. Goodman Gallery director Andrew Richards, who has worked with Orozco, agreed: “It’s not so much the object that matters in this instance—it’s the idea.”

Video of ice bag scale c, you tube: