Museums Around the World 2014

1.  INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, announced the appointments of Dr. Christian Feest and Dr. Constantine Petridis as the next Mellon Curators-at-Large Program scholars. Feest and Petridis will assess the entirety of the IMA’s Native American and African collections, respectively, concentrating on the aesthetic quality of pieces as works of art and their historical importance.
  One of the world’s leading experts on Native American art, Dr. Christian Feest has studied Native American collections in Europe and America for more than 50 years, with much of his work focusing on the early collecting of Native American material in central Europe and the accurate documenting of those collections. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the Native American field.
  Commenting on his upcoming work at the IMA, Feest said, “The Native American collections at the IMA were neither systematically developed, nor have they ever been the subject of extensive research. So there is much work to be done. The Early C. Townsend Collection of prehistoric material will merit special attention as the largest group of objects, as will the Admiral Albert P. Niblack collection from Alaska, the most historically important collection at the IMA.”
  In addition, Feest is hoping to further develop already existing collaborations with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, both of which have substantial holdings of Native American art.
 Dr. Constantine Petridis has been active in the field of African art for nearly 25 years, both as a
 “I am particularly interested in having a closer look at those works in the IMA’s African collection that appear quite extraordinary or extremely rare. The donor of the vast majority of the IMA’s African holdings, Harrison Eiteljorg, collected on a massive scale and from a wide variety of sources. The ability to systematically study the collection with new research in mind is most exciting,” said Petridis.
 Initiated in 2011, after the IMA received a $1.025 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon
 “Having gotten to know Christian Feest over the past few years and Constantine Petridis during my time at the Cleveland Museum of Art, I am thrilled to have them coming to Indianapolis to engage with our staff and other colleagues while researching our Native American and African collections ,” said Venable. “The Mellon Curator-at-Large program has allowed us to advance the understanding of our permanent collection by having exceptional guest scholars in residence, and we are most grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for making this possible.”
 Christian Feest was born in Broumov, Czech Republic. Presently Feest serves as a Guest Curator at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY and the Lokschuppen Museum in Rosenheim, Germany. In addition, since 1968, Feest has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions at the world-renowned Museum of Ethnography in Vienna, where he was director from 2004 to 2010. Since 2004, Feest has taught as an Associate Professor at the University of Vienna, from which he earned his PhD in 1969, and has also held professorships at the University of Chicago and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität.
 Constantine Petridis was born and educated in Belgium. He has been Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art since January 2002, and in 2007 Co-Chaired the Coordination of the Interpretation for a new installation of the collection. From 2005 to 2008, Petridis also served as Consulting Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, where he oversaw the installation of the renowned Frum Collection of African Art. He has held pre- and postdoctoral fellowships from the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Belgian American Educational Foundation. Petridis holds an MA in art history and archaeology (1991) and a PhD in art history (1997), both from the University of Ghent in Belgium.
Foundation, the program has allowed the IMA to engage renowned scholars in conducting cutting-edge research on the IMA’s collections while simultaneously experimenting with new ways of enhancing scholarly breadth across a large and encyclopedic collection. Drs. Feest and Petridis are the first scholars appointed to the Mellon Curators-at-Large program since Dr. Venable became the Melvin and Bren Simon Director & CEO in late 2012.  scholar and a curator, and has had the privilege to work with a wide variety of private and public collections in both Europe and the United States. artdaily.org

2.  BIRMINGHAM. AL.- After two years of renovations, the Birmingham Museum of Art reopened its African galleries on Saturday, April 26.
  “Over the past several decades, the Birmingham Museum of Art has built an exceptional collection
of African art, one that beautifully reflects the ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity of the many regions in Africa,” say Gail Andrew, R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art. “The new geographic orientation of the gallery created by Dr. Hanna underscores the vast and distinctive art forms that have existed in Africa for thousands of years and those which are being developed today. The gallery offers visitors the opportunity to explore the collection in an entirely new way.”
  The renovated gallery space features many changes in the presentation of the collection. The collection is now organized geographically, grouping works from the same regions. Large maps, located throughout the gallery, will assist visitors in easily locating the origin of a particular work. The space will also be equipped with a large flat screen, designed to enhance the gallery experience by featuring supplemental media such as documentary footage of art in production and contemporary art composed digitally. In addition, the Museum has collaborated with Jefferson
County teachers to develop an interactive African Proverbs project, which will reveal to visitors the relationship between proverbs and art in Africa.
  “Africa is a continent of enormous diversity, home to over fifty countries, and hundreds of ethnic groups, cultures, languages, religions, and traditions. Our gallery is now organized in a way that celebrates this wide-ranging, but interconnected expanse of African art across the continent,” says Emily Hanna, Curator of the Arts of Africa and the Americas. “In the gallery, I’ve created a very vibrant, engaging space that includes more of our collection, including textiles, clothing, jewelry, and large color photographs that show objects being used or worn. Visitors will appreciate the new design features as they trace their way through history and the magnificent art of Africa. ”
  The African collection at the Birmingham Museum of Art comprises more than 1,600 objects from across the continent of Africa. The collection represents all major regions and artistic styles from 1500 BC forward. The works of art include masks, figure sculpture, textiles, ceramics, household and ritual objects, jewelry, musical instruments, currencies, furniture, clothing, and costume. The first part of the gallery renovation was completed in 2013 and resulted in a space for the display of the Museum’s impressive collection of African ceramics. artdaily.org


 3. KANSAS CITY, MO.- A groundbreaking exhibition of Plains Indian masterworks, The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, opened in Paris at musée du quai Branly on April 7. It was organized by quai Branly in partnership with theNelson-Atkins, and in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It is curated by Gaylord Torrence, one of the nation’s leading scholars of Plains Indian art and the Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American
Indian Art at the Nelson-Atkins.
  “This exhibition is a defining moment in the understanding of Native American art,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director & CEO of the Nelson-Atkins. “The works on view convey the continuum of hundreds of years of artistic tradition, and we are very proud of the role the Nelson-Atkins has played in this exhibition.”
  To celebrate this milestone exhibit that has brought the Nelson-Atkins to the international stage, Board Chair Shirley Bush Helzberg and Zugazagoitia attended the Paris opening with a group of Kansas City patrons. Festivities surrounding the opening celebrate the Nelson-Atkins stature in the field of Native American Art and Torrence’s scholarship in the area of Plains Indian art, as well as his deep ties of many years to the Native American community.
 Stéphane Martin, President of quai Branly, traveled to the United States in 2010 to explore his idea for an exhibition on the art of the Plains Indians. On his tour, he visited the new and highly acclaimed American Indian galleries at the Nelson-Atkins and invited Torrence to curate the Plains show at quai Branly.
 “This exhibition captures the beauty and spiritual resonance of Plains Indian art,” said Torrence
. “The objects embody both the creative brilliance of their individual makers and the meanings and power of profound cultural traditions.”
 More than 130 works of art from 57 European, Canadian, and American institutions and private collections are being displayed in an unprecedented continuum from pre-contact to the present-day. Featured works include numbers of the great early Plains Indian robes, and other masterworks collected in the eighteenth century by European explorers and taken back to the continent never to return to America until now.
The Plains Indians will be on view at quai Branly until July 20, 2014, then travel to the Nelson-Atkins from Sept. 19, 2014 to Jan. 11, 2015. The show culminates at the Metropolitan Museum from March 2 to May 10, 2015.


 4. CINCINNATI, OH.- The Cincinnati Art Museum Board of Trustees today announced an interim management structure for the Art Museum as it searches for its next Director: David Linnenberg, Chief Administrative Officer, will serve as the institution’s Interim Director of the Museum. Cincinnati Art Museum Director, Aaron Betsky, who announced his retirement January 2, 2014, will step down May 1, 2014.
  “It was important that we establish interim management as we continue our national search for a new Director,” said Martha Ragland, President of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “As Interim
Director, Dave Linnenberg will carry out the strategic plan currently in place while managing the day-to-day operations and excellent programs at the Cincinnati Art Museum.”
  Linnenberg joined the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2010 as Deputy Director of Institutional Advancement and was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer in 2012.
  The Interim Director will continue the focus of implementing the mission of the Cincinnati Art Museum, which is bringing people and art together.
  While Linnenberg serves as Interim Director, the Search Committee of the Board of Trustees will continue the national search to select the Art Museum’s next Director. In January the Cincinnati Art Museum hired executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to conduct a national search to replace Aaron Betsky, who served as Director for more than seven years.

5. OTTAWA.- Charles Edenshaw was recognized in his time as an outstanding Haida artist and remains an iconic figure in Northwest Coast art. Working in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (1829-1920), he was an exceptional carver of wood, silver and argillite, combining traditional Haida
design with an innovative and elegant personal style, and raising Northwest Coast art to new heights of sophistication.
On view from March 7 to May 25, 2014, at the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art
Gallery’s exhibition Charles Edenshaw marks the first major survey of Edenshaw’s work, featuring 80 of his best artworks selected from his exceptional carvings in wood, argillite and silver and gathered from public and private collections throughout North America.
“We are very proud to present this exhibition, which offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the great elegance of Haida artist Charles Edenshaw’s masterful works. Edenshaw is a key figure in Canadian art,” said NGC Director and CEO Marc Mayer.
“This exhibition is important in many ways,” said Haida Chief and exhibition advisor James Hart. “All the pieces that Charles created carry the respect of his people, ancestors and his family. To remain connected to both this line of important Haida cultural prerogatives and the changing ways of our future, we must carry on, in the Haida Way.”
The exhibition presents a wide range of objects that Edenshaw created during his lifetime, from traditional objects that he made for family members to elaborately carved model poles, platters and other objects produced for trade with Europeans.
“The arts play a critical role in representing our history and culture in the local community as well as across the country,” said Senior Vice President, Business Banking, TD Bank Group, Chris Dyrda. “Exhibits like this offer access to knowledge and inspiration – and as a supporter of the arts, we are thrilled to help bring Charles Edenshaw’s masterpieces to this gallery for residents and visitors alike.”
A career overview over four themes
Examining his remarkable aesthetic achievements, the exhibition focuses on four predominant
themes: Edenshaw’s advancement of traditional formline design; his ability to animate Haida stories in his carving; his interest in new materials and visual ideas that led to innovative cultural hybrids; and, finally, his deep-seated belief in Haida traditions, which gave him the agility and fortitude to thrive as a Haida artist during oppressive colonial rule.
“Edenshaw left a legacy through his work and we are blessed that he committed his whole life to creating art for us to enjoy and study,” said Robert Davidson. “The magic of Edenshaw’s work embodies millennia of development of Haida art. One can relearn the magic and integrity of the history of the art form by studying his work.”

6. JERUSALEM.- By ANNA RUSSELL Wall Street Journal March 21, 2014 8:43 p.m.
The Israel Museum brings together for the first time a rare group of 9,000-year-old stone masks, the oldest known to date, in a groundbreaking exhibition opening in March. Culminating nearly a decade of research, Face to Face: The Oldest Masks in the World showcases twelve extraordinary Neolithic masks, all originating in the same region in the ancient Land of Israel. On view from March 11 through September 13, 2014, the exhibition marks the first time that this group will be displayed together, in their birthplace, and the first time that the majority of them will be on public view.
Originating from the Judean Hills and nearby Judean Desert, the twelve masks on view each share striking stylistic features. Large eye holes and gaping mouths create the expression of a human skull. Perforations on the periphery may have been used for wearing them, for the attachment of hair, which would have given the masks a more human appearance, or for suspending the masks from pillars or other constructed forms. Based on similarities with other cultic skulls of ancestors found in villages of the same period, the masks are believed to have represented the spirits of dead ancestors, used in religious and social ceremonies and in rites of healing and magic. By recreating human images for cultic purposes, the early agricultural societies of Neolithic times may have been expressing their
increasing mastery of the natural world and reflecting their growing understanding of the nature of existence.
"It is extraordinary to be able to present side by side this rare group of ancient stone masks, all originating from the same region in the ancient Land of Israel," said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. "That we have been able to assemble so many – first for intensive comparative research and then for display – is a tribute to the collections that were so cooperative in making these treasures available to us. And, given their origins in the region and the context provided by the adjacent setting of our Archaeology Wing, their display in our Museum in Jerusalem carries special meaning, underscoring their place in the unfolding history of religion and art."
The current presentation is the result of more than a decade of research. For many years, the Israel Museum has held in its collections two Neolithic stone masks–one from a cave at Nahal Hemar in the Judean Desert and the other from Horvat Duma in the nearby Judean Hills. A chance discovery of photographs of similar masks led Dr. Debby Hershman, the Museum’s Curator of Prehistoric Cultures, to begin to research the subject. Hershman enlisted the assistance of Professor Yuval Goren, an expert in comparative microarchaeology at Tel Aviv University, to explore the masks' geographical origins, as well as of the computerized archaeology laboratory at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to conduct 3-D analysis that shed light on their comparative features and functions. The current display reflects the fruits of this in-depth research, bringing together twelve striking and enigmatic masks near the place of their origin and for the first time.
Face to Face is curated by Dr. Debby Hershman, Ilse Katz Leibholz Curator of Prehistoric Cultures. The exhibition and its accompanying publication were made possible through the generosity of Judy and Michael Steinhardt, New York, and with additional support from the donors to the Museum’s 2014 Exhibition Fund: Claudia Davidoff, Cambridge, MA, in memory of Ruth and Leon Davidoff; Hanno D. Mott, New York; the Nash Family Foundation, New York; and Yad Hanadiv, the Rothschild Foundation in Israel.

7. NEW YORK, NY.- Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today that more than 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in the Museum’s world-renowned collection may be downloaded directly from the Museum’s website for non-commercial use—including in scholarly publications in any media—without permission from the Museum and without a fee. The number of available images will increase as new digital files are added on a regular basis.
In making the announcement, Mr. Campbell said: “Through this new, open-access policy, we join a growing number of museums that provide free access to images of art in the public domain. I am delighted that digital technology can open the doors to this trove of images from our encyclopedic collection.”
The Metropolitan Museum’s initiative—called Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC)
—provides access to images of art in its collection that the Museum believes to be in the public domain and free of other known restrictions; these images are now available for scholarly use in any media. Works that are covered by the new policy are identified on the Museum’s website with the acronym OASC. (Certain works are not available through the initiative for one or more of the following reasons: the work is still under copyright, or the copyright status is unclear; privacy or publicity issues; the work is owned by a person or an institution other than the Metropolitan Museum; restrictions by the artist, donor, or lender; or lack of a digital image of suitable quality.)
OASC was developed as a resource for students, educators, researchers, curators, academic publishers, non-commercial documentary filmmakers, and others involved in scholarly or cultural work. Prior to the establishment of OASC, the Metropolitan Museum provided images upon request, for a fee, and authorization was subject to terms and conditions.
— Getty CEO Pushes Tech: James Cuno, the president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, is pushing the use of technology in museums. He believes the use of mapping techniques, network analysis, and visualizations could lead to art historical discoveries. “The history of art as practiced in museums and the academy is sluggish in its embrace of the new technology,” he said. “We aren’t conducting art historical research differently. We aren’t working collaboratively and experimentally." [WSJ]

8. ABU DHABI  Louvre Abu Dhabi Unveils Collection: The Louvre Abu Dhabi will unveil part of its permanent collection in an exhibition titled “Birth of a Museum,” organized at The Louvre in Paris to open in May. [Art Daily]