What's Happening in the Museums - October 2011

 1. NEW YORK, N.Y.- artdaily.org - "Picasso's Drawings, 1890-1921:
Reinventing Tradition" traveling exhibition at The Frick Collection Pablo Picasso was one of the world’s greatest draftsmen. Drawing was his primary medium for thinking, problem solving, invention, and personal expression. It was the link that connected his work in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, theater design, and ceramics, and was a direct tie to his predecessors. Picasso’s diverse body of original work on paper broke new ground, while also consciously incorporating aspects of the tradition from which it sprang. This autumn, The Frick Collection presents an exhibition of more than sixty drawings (works in pencil, ink, watercolor, gouache, pastel, and chalk) spanning the first thirty years of Picasso’s career, from his first signed
drawing to works from the early 1920s.

2. SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The San Antonio Museum of Art presents the exhibition 5,000 Years of Chinese Jade Featuring Selections from the National Museum of History, Taiwan and the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, Smithsonian Institution. This major international exhibition organized by SAMA opened in the Museum’s Cowden Gallery on October 1, 2011...... Most of the jades from Taiwan,
including the National Treasures, will be on view in America for the first time. Another prestigious lender to 5,000 Years of Chinese Jade is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution. Twenty-four jades from the celebrated Sackler Collection complement the jade objects from Taiwan.
Highlights of the Sackler jades include the famous Han dynasty Bear (220 BC – AD 221) and Song dynasty Hound (960-1279). Two additional lenders also provide exquisite jades: the Springfield Museums in Springfield, Massachusetts, lent a number of large 18th-century jades, including a lovely
Elephant Vase from the Qianlong period (1735-1796). An anonymous private American collector contributes a dozen superb jades, several of which were carved in Imperial workshops, including an elegant bird carving with Emperor Qianlong’s seal mark. The San Antonio Museum of Art contributes two jades to the exhibition, both acquired within the last two years.

3. PHILADELPHIA, PA. (AP).- A judge has upheld his controversial decision allowing the Barnes Foundation to move its multibillion-dollar art collection to Philadelphia. Montgomery County Orphans Court Judge Stanley Ott ruled Thursday that there is no new evidence to consider. Petitioners had asked Ott to re-examine his 2004 decision allowing the Barnes to leave its suburban home. They contend the 2009 documentary "The Art of the Steal" includes new evidence that he didn't have when he originally ruled. But Ott disagrees. The Barnes is moving because leaders say the institution is not financially viable at its original home in Lower Merion, about five miles from Philadelphia. The collection includes dozens of Renoirs, Matisses and Picassos. Its new building in Philadelphia is slated to open May 19, 2012. 


4.  NEW YORK, metmuseum.org. An ambitious exhibition—sweeping in scope and challenging conventional perceptions of African art—opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bringing together more than 100 masterpieces drawn from the premier collections in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France, and the United States, Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures considers eight landmark sculptural traditions that flourished in West and Central Africa between the 12th and the early 20th century. These works were created by some of the regions’ most gifted artists, who were charged with producing enduring visual monuments dedicated to the legacies of revered leaders.
The artistic tributes that are featured are among the only tangible surviving vestiges of generations of leaders that shaped Africa’s past before colonialism among the Akan of Ghana, ancient Ife civilization, and the Kingdom of Benin of Nigeria, Bangwa and Kom chiefdoms of the Cameroon Grassfields, the Chokwe of Angola and Zambia, and the Luluwa, Hemba, and Kuba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Harnessing materials ranging from humble clay, ubiquitous wood, precious ivory, and costly metal alloys, sculptors from these regions captured evocative, idealized likenesses of their influential patrons, whose identities were otherwise recorded in ephemeral oral traditions. While for the most part the works presented pre-date the use of photography in Africa, photographic likenesses of successive generations of leaders from these centers—ranging in date from the late 19th century to contemporary portraits by the American photographer Phyllis Galembo—are woven into the presentation.
For the first time a museum considers iconic sculptural tributes from Africa in terms of the specific celebrated figures that they were once intimately tied to. Among those subjects who were famous in their own time but whose significance in connection to their depictions has largely been lost to viewers are: Queen Mother Idia and Oba Akenzua I of Benin (Nigeria), Nana Attabra of Nkwanta (Ghana), Chief Nkwain of Kom (Cameroon),Chief Chibwabwa Ilunga of the Luluwa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), King Mbó Mbóósh of the Kuba (D.R.C), and Chief Kalala Lea of the Hemba (D.R.C.).
Heroic Africans presents an unparalleled opportunity to bring to life oral history in visual terms and put a face on the major protagonists of Africa’s pre-colonial history for the first time. The exhibition opens by posing a question: who are the individuals that the most gifted artists of their respective times and cultures depicted for the ages? Over the centuries across sub-Saharan Africa, artists memorialized for posterity eminent individuals of their societies in an astonishingly diverse repertory of regional sculptural idioms, both naturalistic and abstract, that commemorate their subjects through culturally customized aesthetic formulations. The original patrons of such depictions intended for them to act as concrete points of reference to specific elite members of a given community. Over the past century, however, isolation of those creations from the sites, oral traditions, and socio-cultural contexts in which they were conceived, has led them to be seen as timeless abstractions of generic archetypes. Since that time few have recognized that these works were produced in honor of admired individuals. While information about those figures has been touched upon in the academic literature of African studies, such a body of work has never before been assembled in an exhibition. Through providing key cultural context, this exhibition affords appreciation of the significance of such representations and the ability to relate them to their historical subjects as living, breathing men and women. “Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures” remains through Jan. 29 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (212) 535-7710, metmuseum.org.

5.  PINAR DEL RIO, CUBA (AP).- A traveling exhibition of art donated by a U.S. philanthropist is giving Cubans outside the capital a rare chance to see works from masters such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol that would normally hang in world-class galleries instead of sleepy provincial cities.
Selections from the 120-piece collection have already toured Camaguey and Holguin in the island's far-flung east and recently went on display in the western city of Pinar del Rio, known more for tobacco farms than art museums. More than a dozen works by Joan Miro, Marcel Duchamp, Camille Pissarro,
Georges Rouault, Roy Lichtenstein and others went up in the glassed lobby of a local TV station, watched over by just a few police and guards and prompting curious passers-by to pop in to see what all the fuss was about. The show was nearing the end of its tour as officials prepared this week to
dismantle it and return the works to Havana. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

6. KABUL (REUTERS).- While everyone else is worrying about Afghanistan's future, a dedicated band of men and women is gathering up its past, hoping that a growing museum collection will show the world Afghan culture is more sophisticated than the tide of news reports suggest. Kabul's rebuilt National Museum, near the haunting remains the bombed-out royal palace, is running out of secure rooms to house centuries-old Buddhas, gold and silver coins from antiquity and other rare artefacts.
Many of the museum's original pieces were broken, destroyed or stolen during the Taliban era or the civil war that preceded it in the 1990s, but some have been pieced back together and a series of archaeological digs have also unearthed new treasures. Among the fresh discoveries are a wooden Buddha dating back to the fifth century and Buddha heads made of clay and plaster. They are helping a whole nation slowly rediscover a classical past as a confluence of cultures from India to China and from Iran and central Asia to the East. The United States this year committed $5 million to building a new museum with state-of-the-art security systems and climate control features next to the
old one, so that the Hidden Treasures exhibition can finally return home. "Restoring such artefacts is essential to both Afghan identity, and the identity of our collective human experience," said Rahim B.Kanani, a U.S.-based columnist who has written extensively on Afghanistan. (Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison and Yoko Nishikawa) © Thomson Reuters 2011. All rights reserved. 

7. Cooperstown - Fenimore Art Museum - Inspired Traditions: Selections From The Jane Katcher Collection Of Americana  Sep 27th, 2011 Jane Katcher, a retired physician who lives in Florida, collected for nearly three decades before going public with her passion for American folk art. Her
debut coincided with the Fenimore Art Museum's 2005–2007 traveling exhibition "A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster Jr." Katcher lent to the show the 1799 painting "Comfort Starr Mygatt and Lucy Mygatt," the solemnly tender portrait of a Danbury, Conn., man and his
daughter that set an auction record for American folk art in 1988. Katcher and her husband, Gerald, who later acquired the picture privately, have since donated the work to Yale University Art Gallery.
The Brewster exhibition and "Made for Love: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana," a small exhibit at Yale in 2007, coincided with the publication of Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana (Marquand Press, 2006). Commissioned by Katcher, the catalog of her collection contained 203 entries,
plus essays by 11 scholars. Five of the original authors plus five additional contributors recently collaborated on a follow-up catalog , Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection, Volume II. To be published by Marquand in November, it contains 91 additional entries, most of them new acquisitions. In conjunction with the second volume, "Inspired Traditions: The Jane Katcher Collection of Americana" is on view at the New York State Historical
Association's (NYSHA) Fenimore Art Museum between October 1 and December 31. "Jane Katcher is drawn to pieces that speak not just to her eye, but to her keen sense of the people who made and owned them," said Dr Paul S. D'Ambrosio, NYSHA's president and chief executive officer. "Time and time again, she acquires works that make connections on many levels. These pieces are
windows into the lives of earlier Americans. That is really what inspired me to do the exhibition," he added. The Fenimore Art Museum is at 5798 State Highway 80, one mile north of the
village of Cooperstown on the west side of Otsego Lake. For information, 607-547-1400 or www.fenimoreartmuseum.org .
Antiques and the Arts Editorial Content

8. BALTIMORE, MD.-artdaily.org - The Walters Art Museum announces today a major gift from John Bourne of Santa Fe, N.M, including 70 artworks from the Ancient Americas and approximately 230 additional planned gifts. He will also provide a $4 million bequest from his estate to help endow a center for the study, conservation, interpretation and display of the arts of the Ancient Americas.
“This extraordinary gift will vault the Walters into a position of leadership among American museums in this new and exciting area of collecting and research,” said Walters Board President Douglas W. Hamilton, Jr. “It will provide the Walters with an extraordinary opportunity to expand its engagement with Maryland’s rapidly growing Hispanic community.” “More than a century ago, museum founder Henry Walters pioneered the collecting of the arts of the Ancient Americas. Now, his small collection will be greatly augmented by this generous gift from John Bourne,” said Walters Director Gary Vikan. “It has long been my dream to be able to tell the story of art and culture in the western hemisphere in a way that complements the story we tell through our extraordinary holdings of ancient and medieval art of the Mediterranean and Europe.” The Bourne gift complements a gift in 2009 from the Ziff family of New York City. With that earlier gift, the museum was able to endow the position of curator of the arts of the Ancient Americas and partially endow a conservation position and an exhibition fund. In all, the new center will include three endowed staff positions—a curator, a conservator and an educator—as well as an endowed exhibition fund, an endowed acquisition fund and a fund for the
creation of a gallery devoted to the arts of the Ancient Americas. To share these new acquisitions with the public, the Walters will present the special exhibition Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift from February 12 through May 20, 2012. Drawn from the
collection that Bourne began in 1940, this exhibition will present approximately 129 works from the collection of ancient Mesoamerican, Central American and Andean South American art, spanning more than 2,500 years from 1200 b.c. to a.d. 1530. The exhibition will travel to the Albuquerque
Museum of Art & History in New Mexico from June 10 through August 26, 2012.
Editor note: As an appraiser this article attracted my attention. Donation of  Pre-Columbian works to museums  have become quite difficult as a result of AAM's guidelines to not accept any objects that can not be documented in the U.S. prior to 1970. Apparently Mr. Bourne began collecting in the 1940's. Collectors that can document their collection history prio to 1970 will see increased values in their Pre-Columbian art.