21st Century

Lecture on Art History in China for $140k per year

April 5 2024

Image of Lecture on Art History in China for $140k per year

Picture: Wenzhou University

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a job that just couldn't be missed on this blog. The Wenzhou Business College in China are hiring an Associate Professor / Assistant Professor / Lecturer in Art/Art History.

According to the job description:

Wenzhou Business College is a top ranked private university approved by the Ministry of Education in China. With nearly 20,000 students and over 1,000 faculty members, the College invites applications for 10-year full-time tenure positions at all ranks in Art or Art History to begin in Fall 2024. The successful candidate will be able to teach lower level undergraduate art or art history courses. English fluency is a must. Applicants should possess a PhD degree in Art, Art History or related field. ABDs with anticipate completion by July 2024 are encouraged to apply. Candidates graduated from a Top 50 ranking university with master degrees in Art, Art History or related field may be considered at Lecturer level with a 10-year contract.

The job comes with an annual tax-free salary of RMB (Chinese Yuan) 900,000 (about USD $140K), and lots of other perks aside including up to RMB 1,000,000 in housing subsidy. Applications must be in by 21st April 2024.

Good luck if you're applying!

Study Prints at The British Library!

April 3 2024

Image of Study Prints at The British Library!

Picture: The British Library

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Birkbeck, University of London, and the British Library are advertising a fully-funded PhD Studentship on RE-EVALUATING THE STATUS OF PRINTS AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY.

According to the description on their website:

The focus of this project is on identifying, researching and analysing the provenance, changing status and visibility of about 500 books of prints in the British Library’s collection, using an 1812 unpublished finding list as a starting point.

This project will be jointly supervised by Kate Retford at Birkbeck (Professor of History of Art, School of Historical Studies) and Felicity Myrone at the British Library (Lead Curator, Western Prints and Drawings). The student will spend time with both Birkbeck and the British Library and will become part of the wider cohort of AHRC CDP funded PhD students across the UK.  

The studentship comes with the National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for the academic year 2024/25, which is £19,237 per annum, plus an additional £2,000 and £550 per year due to London weighting and CDP maintenance payments respectively. Applications must be in by 29th April 2024.

Good luck if you're applying!

Show me the Wilkies, says Catalogue Raisonné writer to Tate

April 2 2024

Image of Show me the Wilkies, says Catalogue Raisonné writer to Tate

Picture: Tate

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Telegraph have published an article on the plea of a scholar to be allowed more generous and timely access to paintings at Tate Britain in order to complete a catalogue raisonné project. Alex Kidson, the compiler of the Paul Mellon Centre's catalogue on George Romney, has been completing a catalogue raisonné on the Scottish Artist David Wilkie (1785–1841), a project begun by the late Hamish Miles (d. 2017). The article focuses on Kidson's requests to see many Wilkie kept in storage at Tate Britain, which has been a gargantuan task.

According to the piece:

“I haven’t succeeded in seeing the Wilkie paintings”, Mr Kidson said. “The Tate says, ‘You can go on a Tuesday morning for one hour and you’re limited to looking at five works’. If the next visit is full up, you have to wait until there’s a free spot. That’s usually about six or seven weeks ahead.

“The last time I tried they said they can make three of these works available, but a further one was not allowed to be seen at all. They didn’t say why not. I originally approached them to see these Wilkies in late November. I returned the application form on Dec 1 and in response to that was offered Feb 3. ‘The public own these works’

“That’s waiting months. I took that spot and then found I couldn’t attend for personal reasons. They said, the next available date is mid-April, but that was too late for my deadlines.”

He added: “The situation is ridiculous because the public own these works. The Tate is playing God with them.”

The piece includes quotes from other curators and scholars who are calling on Tate to be more helpful, alongside the long-standing calls for more works to be loaned out to museums where they can be placed on view. Click on the link above to read more.

Syndicat National des Antiquaires Rally Against EU Import Regulations

April 2 2024

Image of Syndicat National des Antiquaires Rally Against EU Import Regulations

Picture: sna-france.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from France that the Syndicat National des Antiquaires (SNA), which represents roughly 300 dealers and members in France and abroad, is rallying against forthcoming EU Regulations regarding the import of cultural artefacts. Effectively, in an attempt to rout illegal trade of cultural artefacts stricter criteria will be introduced in providing for licenses for works over 200 years old and worth more than €18,000.

According to the article above:

According to UK-based consultant and adviser to art trade associations Ivan Macquisten, the law “deems an imported item illicit, unless proven otherwise”.

He adds that this means a “reversal of the burden of proof”, effectively scrapping common property law that assumes the owner’s good faith.

The SNA, which lobbies on behalf of around 300 French antique and art dealers, said that the regulation will also make it difficult for owners to donate cultural objects – like fossils, antiquities, texts and art – to museums.

Owners of items over 200 years old that are valued above €18,000 will need an "importer statement". They’ll also need an import licence for other items over 250 years old.

Nicholas Cullinan gets BM Director Job!

March 28 2024

Video: AP Archive

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Big news to report this afternoon that Nicholas Cullinan OBE, current director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, has landed the job of Director of the British Museum. He takes over from Hartwig Fischer, who resigned over the dramatic thefts scandal which made headline news last year.

According to Cullinan, quoted in the article linked above:

“I look forward to joining its wonderful and dedicated staff and to work with its hugely impressive board in leading it into a new chapter.

“This will encompass the most significant transformations, both architectural and intellectual, happening in any museum globally, to continue making the British Museum the most engaged and collaborative it can be.”

______________

It is true that Cullinan's leadership of the NPG since 2015 has brought the museum into the 21st century, particularly with its emphasis on being 'trendy' (particularly where the new cafe, bar and shop are concerned at least). It will be interesting to see how this might translate to the vast complex of buildings, galleries and disciplines housed within The British Museum. This is not to mention the large questions posed by the increasingly international contexts and pressures of the purpose and role of such significant national museums. Transforming the NPG, with its relatively smaller spaces, lends itself to being filled with fashion shows and celebrity DJs (see Cullinan's Instagram Account for an up-to-date insight into this side of his role as Director).

AHN wishes Nicholas all the best in this new role!

Museum Depot Shop - 'Here you can find beautiful paintings straight from the museum'

March 26 2024

Image of Museum Depot Shop - 'Here you can find beautiful paintings straight from the museum'

Picture: museumdepotshop.nl

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting initiative I had never heard of until yesterday. The Museum Depot Shop is an organisation from the Netherlands which allows museums to sell deaccessioned objects via their website. The blurb on the website is specifically geared towards people looking for unique gifts, from the museum into the home. It appears that museums can either sell works from their collections openly, giving their name, or be classed as a 'Mystery Museum'. The 'collection' thus far is filled mostly with prints, a few paintings and odds and ends, with prices ranging from a few tens of euros up to just under a thousand.

According to one page on their website (which looks like it needs updating):

In the Netherlands, an increasing number of museums are working together with our foundation. After thorough research in Great Britain, the MuseumDepotShop will also enter the British market. In November 2019 and January 2020, we visited London and spoke with roughly 20 museums and related institutions. We concluded from these conversations that there is a need for an online platform in Great Britain such as the one already in operation in the Netherlands. Do you also want to meet with us?

Is this the future of museum income generation? All comments welcome, as always!

Sell off the Period Rooms, says the Brooklyn Museum

March 19 2024

Image of Sell off the Period Rooms, says the Brooklyn Museum

Picture: artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

ArtNet.com have shared news that the Brooklyn Museum will be selling off the contents of four period rooms, alongside 200 furnishings. The initiative is due to attempts to regain gallery space for permanent displays of 'Indigenous Arts, Contemporary, Arts of the Americas and more'. Regular readers might remember that the museum sold off a selection of paintings including Old Masters in 2020.

According to the article linked above:

“We know [the period rooms] are much beloved,” said museum director Anne Pasternak in an email. “We have been studying them intensively over the past few years, with input from outside experts as well as our curators, and the truth is that some of them are of lesser quality, duplicate comparable works in the collection, and/or require extensive conservation to be on display.” [...]

“Deaccessioning allows curators to refine and focus the collection, ensuring that we continue to display work that resonates and tells meaningful stories for our visitors,” said Pasternak. “Thus, we are very invested in making room for many of our great collections that have never had permanent gallery space in the Museum, such as Indigenous Arts, Contemporary, Arts of the Americas, and more. While it is always difficult to part with any work in our collection, the curators have been very careful to select objects that, while very good examples of their kind, will not diminish our collections by their absence.”

The auctioning off of the rooms and their contents will take place this month at Brunk Auctions in Asheville, North Carolina. 

I should also mention that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York sold a selection of 174 lots of Chinese ceramics and jades yesterday at Bonhams. Click here to see the results.

Four Years since Oxford Art Heist

March 18 2024

Image of Four Years since Oxford Art Heist

Picture: oxfordmail.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It has been four years since a group of burglars stole three paintings from Oxford's Christ Church Picture Gallery. Press reports seem to suggest that absolutely no progress has been made into identifying the criminals or having the paintings returned. It is quite something that despite our modern cities being filled with cameras, that these modern tools have seemingly proven useless in trying to track down the escape route of these criminals...

Getty Museum release 88k Images under Creative Commons Zero

March 15 2024

Image of Getty Museum release 88k Images under Creative Commons Zero

Picture: J. Paul Getty Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Good news to report that the J. Paul Getty Museum have released 88,000 images under Creative Commons Zero. This means that art lovers will be able to reproduce these artworks as they please, without any legal constraints.

According to the press release:

“users can download, edit, and repurpose high resolution images of their favorite Getty artworks without any legal restrictions.” The museum’s Open Content database is a wellspring of art that is bound to inspire myriad new creative reuses. It includes Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises and many more treasures waiting to be explored. Since opening up, Getty has seen “an uptick in image downloads on our site, averaging about 30,000 per month.”

'Activists' Escalate Protests with Box Cutters

March 11 2024

Video: Evening Standard

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A group of 'activists' attacked Philip de László's portrait of Lord Balfour at Trinity College Cambridge last week. In contrast to previous cases, de László's canvas was unglazed and thus defenceless against both the sharpened blades of box cutters and spray paint. These weapons, especially the blades, represent something of a very worrying escalation of acts of violence against works of art. The University published a statement expressing 'Trinity College regrets the damage caused', but despite the video evidence no arrests had been made.*

* - It seems we are now living in an age where acts of vandalism may well have become legalised in the UK. 

Louvre Recreated in Grimsby Public Toilet

February 26 2024

Image of Louvre Recreated in Grimsby Public Toilet

Picture: BBC

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Despite the fact that we are a few weeks away from 1st April, the BBC have reported on news that a public toilet in Grimsby has been recreated into the Louvre museum. Toilets at the The Great Escape at the Port of Grimsby were redesigned by the Creative Start project and include reproductions of famous masterpieces.

According to the piece:

Sam Delaney, director of Creative Start in Grimsby, said: "It's the whole point of the building. We give a lot of creative freedom to people and when you're allowed to do that, good things can happen." [...]

"I've had to do a bit of research. That's the bit I enjoy doing," Mr Delaney said about shopping for replicas and prints that can be found at the real Louvre in Paris.

Mr Delaney said that when visitors use the Louvre for the first, they "can't believe it, they don't expect it".

He added: "We call it Grimsby's best kept secret."

Max Hollein in India

February 21 2024

Image of Max Hollein in India

Picture: The Wallstreet Journal

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Director Max Hollein has given an interesting interview for the The Times of India focusing on questions regarding the repatriation of art. In particular, Hollein's recent visit to the country has coincided with the last year's return of 15 sculptures from the MET, details of which the interview addresses.

Jeff Koons on Moon

February 16 2024

Video: PaceGallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A SpaceX Rocket carrying 125 sculptures by contemporary artist Jeff Koons left the earth's atmosphere the day before last. This latest stunt is an attempt to be the very first authorised artworks placed on the moon. 

According to the report linked above:

The original plan was for the physical works to land on the moon in July that year, with NFTs available through Pace Verso, Pace Gallery’s NFT platform. [...]

“The lander will be carrying Koons’s 125 one-inch miniature Moons sculptures, each representing a phase of the Moon and each associated with people from various fields and time periods who have made a significant impact to human life on Earth, such as Mozart, Galileo, Cleopatra, and Leonardo da Vinci, to name a few,” according to a project statement.

RAMM makes Collection Open Access

February 14 2024

Image of RAMM makes Collection Open Access

Picture: RAMM

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAMM) in Exeter has announced that it will be making its digital collections Open Access! This means that you'll be able to enjoy and reproduce historic artworks, such as this serene John White Abbott watercolour, in any way you wish (although I note that some older images still retain their copyright taglines).

According to the museum's press release:

“We believe that open access assists RAMM to fulfil its central purpose. Adopting an open access approach lets users access digitised collections and contribute to the rich cultural heritage of Exeter, regardless of where they are. We want people to be inspired, informed and entertained by RAMM’s collection and to use them to foster individual creativity. We recognise the importance of providing knowledge and information to the public to advance our mission and to unlock new cultural discoveries.”

Find Dutch Art in the USA

February 13 2024

Image of Find Dutch Art in the USA

Picture: storymaps.arcgis.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Art Boston have created this rather intriguing mapping tool which helps art lovers seek out Dutch Art. Once you've found a relevant museum or institution, users are allowed to click through to descriptions of the highlights of these places alongside links to their databases which show their Dutch collections.

According to the website:

Museums throughout the United States have significant collections of pre-modern Dutch art. To help people identify and locate these museums, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York and the Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston created “Mapping Dutch Art in the United States.” This digital mapping project allows users to more easily explore museums in the United States that show 17th-century Dutch art. The different sections below the map provide further resources to gain general knowledge about 17th-century Dutch art and understand its impact on collecting and exhibitions in the United States.

Dogs allowed in Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria in February

February 12 2024

Image of Dogs allowed in Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria in February

Picture: Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Italian press have reported on a pet friendly initiative promoted by the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria this February. On a few selected dates the gallery in Perugia will be allowing owners and their pets to tour the galleries. There are a few T&Cs to note. Only ten dogs are allowed in at once, they must weigh under 10 kilograms each and owners must be able to carry the animals in their arms or in a carrier. Prebooking is essential.

Should the National Gallery open up to Modern Art?

February 12 2024

Image of Should the National Gallery open up to Modern Art?

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Guardian published an article over the weekend regarding the question of whether The National Gallery in London should scrap its 1900 cut-off date. The piece focuses on comments by the art critic and former curator Julian Spalding, who claims that the current divide is 'creating this terrible fossil'.

According to Spalding the current cut-off point suggests:

“[It was] as if painting died then as a great art form. This isn’t what happened. The art of painting non-representationally was brilliantly reinvented for our times, by Picasso and Matisse, of course, and many others.”

 “Bringing the collection up to date will also naturally and most importantly widen the gallery’s representation of female artists and the art of many cultures, truly reflecting the nature of Britain and our world today.”

“When it was founded, the gallery’s collection was on-going, with paintings being added when their greatness became apparent. This was often, understandably, a slow process, but sometimes surprisingly fast. The Gallery bought Van Gogh’s Chair only 34 years after it was painted.”

______________

This is an argument which has been discussed many times and touched on in several of Bendor's posts in the past. For myself, the biggest question here is one of space. The NG site just simple isn't as sprawling as the MET galleries in New York, let's say. In attempting to serve both masters, it is possible that both spheres would be watered down.

An interesting topic which will always generate interesting debate, it seems clear!

AI Art is not Sacred Art says Catholics

February 9 2024

Image of AI Art is not Sacred Art says Catholics

Picture: rcregister.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

In the wake of the proliferation  of AI generated art that is sweeping across the globe, the US Catholic Newspaper the Catholic National Register has run an extended article exploring whether AI generated images (such as St Joan of Arc above) can be considered sacred. In particular, can these pastiches be thought of as powerful or profoundly religious as many paintings by Old Masters?

According to one of the quotes from the article:

Kathleen Carr, president of the Catholic Art institute, told the Register that AI creates images “but is not really art since it lacks a human’s imagination and hand in creating it. Sacred art is a human endeavor, and artists mirror God by being co-creators, bringing beauty and order into the world in architecture, beauty and art.” Carr, a classically trained realist painter and illustrator whose award-winning art has gained international recognition, pointed out that the earliest Christian artists were iconographers who prepared themselves with fasting and prayer before creating an icon, which they saw as a “window into heaven.” Importantly, this art requires an understanding of theology. “Christian artists intend to make something sacred or reveal something sacred for the purpose of drawing the faithful into prayer, contemplation, reverence and awe,” she said.

Furthermore, AI images she has seen “often lack proper theological symbolism ... a major glaring issue with AI ‘sacred art,’” plus, “the works are confabulations of various styles, some of which should be avoided, particularly photorealism or saccharine depiction.”

A burning question appears settled for now, it seems.

Redecorating with Sir Roy Strong

February 8 2024

Image of Redecorating with Sir Roy Strong

Picture: The Telegraph

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Telegraph published a rather fun article a few days ago featuring an interview with the former V&A and NPG director, not to mention Elizabethan art scholar, Sir Roy Strong. The piece focuses on Sir Roy's recent renovation and redecoration of a Regency house in Ledbury.

Emma Hamilton on an Escalator

February 8 2024

Image of Emma Hamilton on an Escalator

Picture: Alexey Kondakov via. thiscolossal.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I was rather intrigued to come across this article on the contemporary art platform thiscolossal.com recently. The piece focuses on the works of the contemporary Ukrainian born Alexey Kondakov, who likes to mix details from Old Masters into contemporary settings. Some of his experiments in what he has termed Art History in Contemporary Life are rather fun and amusing.

According to the article:

Kondakov primarily works with backgrounds he’s photographed throughout his native Kyiv and other European cities including Berlin, Milan, and Naples. Often laden with graffiti and modern conveniences like electric stovetops and vehicles, the harsh, urban settings counter the soft, angelic characteristics of the Old Masters. In one work, the spirited trio in Ferdinand Leeke’s “Fleeing Nymphs” dashes across a misty street, while another depicts Alexandre Cabanel’s “Desdemona” sitting unamused with two empty cocktails on the table in front of her.

Click on the link above to see more examples of his work.

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