Category: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monster Mash: Logan to adapt 'Jersey Boys,' Tate curator to Met

January 11, 2012 |  8:00 am


New leadership: The Metropolitan Museum of Art hires Sheena Wagstaff, chief curator of Tate Modern in London, in a bid to become a "serious competitor in the field of contemporary art for the first time in half a century." (New York Times)

Four Seasons on film: "Hugo" writer and "Red" playwright John Logan will pen the film adaptation of  "Jersey Boys," winner of four Tonys in 2006. (Hollywood Reporter)

Dancing about ... : Filmmaker Wim Wenders, whose most recent work is the documentary "Pina" on the German performer Pina Bausch, says he's working on a new documentary on architecture. (Art Review)

Fairy tale musical: Director Rob Marshall is in talks to direct a big-screen adaptation of "Into the Woods," and has said that Stephen Sondheim will write new songs for it. (New York Magazine)

Cash call: The Santa Monica Playhouse is soldiering on despite its failure to raise a needed $15,000 to continue operations. (Santa Monica Mirror)

The red violin: Joshua Bell talks about playing on the soundtrack of "Flowers of War," Zhang Yimou's historical epic that's already grossed $83 million in China. (Huffington Post)

Ring again: The Washington National Opera will present the complete Wagner “Ring” cycle in 2016, which it had initially commissioned with the San Francisco Opera but suspended because of money problems. (New York Times)

Test of time: The Gehry Residence, architect Frank Gehry's first significant work, has won the AIA's 2012 Twenty-Five Year Award. (Curbed LA)

Inflation? A 1793 one-cent copper coin from the earliest days of the U.S. Mint has sold for a record $1.38 million at a Florida auction. (Art Daily)

Mural art: A photo gallery of Los Angeles' most bizarre and beautiful storefront murals. (Myopia)

Passing: Artist and activist Dara Greenwald, co-founder of the radical feminist dance troupe Pink Bloque and co-editor of the book "Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures, 1960s to Now," has died at age 40 of cancer. (Democracy Now!)

Also in the L.A. Times: Filmmaker-playwright Neil LaBute's collaboration with photographer Gerald Slota is currently on view at the Robert Berman Gallery in Bergamot Station.

-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: A scene from the production of "Jersey Boys" at the Ahmanson Theatre in 2007. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

Public art on the museum model

June 25, 2011 |  8:00 am

On July 1, the suggested admission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will go up from $20 to $25. MoMA currently charges (required not suggested) $20 for adults and the Guggenheim charges $18.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that two of the summer’s strongest exhibitions in New York are free, to the public and pigeons alike. "Sol LeWitt: Structures, 1965-2006,” organized by Public Art Fund, takes place at City Hall Park through Dec. 2. “Mark di Suvero,” presented by Storm King Art Center, runs through Sept. 25 on Governors Island.

They appear in this Sunday's Arts & Books feature as examples of the latest wave of public art projects in New York: public art curated on the museum-exhibition model, with a broad range of works borrowed from near and far, complete with educational information like cellphone tours and iPhone apps (look for Public Art Fund and Storm King on It's enough to make other cities' public art efforts look like child's play.

So what does New York have going for it that other cities don’t? For starters, it has decades of know-how in the form of leading public art nonprofits: Public Art Fund and Creative Time.

Then there's what Emi Fontana of West of Rome, one of L.A.'s leading organizers in the public/performance art realm in L.A., calls the Bloomberg factor: "The fact that the administration is incredibly responsive has created a great opportunity for these organization to do their best work."

Or, as Creative Time head Anne Pasternak says: "With Giuliani you usually didn’t ask for permission, you apologized later. A bunch of us who program in New York have reason to be nervous for when Bloomberg is no longer mayor."


Peter Wegner's Art of Innovation at Stanford

Some public art in L.A. doesn't credit artists

Art that makes a public spectacle of itself

-- Jori Finkel, reporting from New York

Photo: A view of the fiberglass "Splotch 15," 2005, and "Three x Four x Three," 1984, in "Sol LeWitt Structures" at City Hall Park, organized by Public Art Fund. Photo by Jori Finkel.

Metropolitan Museum of Art hikes recommended admission to $25

June 3, 2011 |  1:17 pm


Visiting New York's biggest art museum is about to get more expensive. The Metropolitan Museum of Art said this week that it is raising its recommended admission by $5 to $25 starting July 1.While paying the full amount is technically optional, the new price makes the Met the most expensive art museum for visitors in New York.

The museum said in a release that it "faces a number of daunting, ongoing budgetary challenges" and that "income from our endowment has flattened, the average visitor contribution at the door is lower, and public sector operating support has fallen."

The new $25 recommended admission applies for adults. The recommended price for seniors and students will rise to $17  and $12, respectively, from $15 and $10. Children under 12 will still be able to get in free of charge. The Met said this is the first ticket hike in five years.

Earlier this week, the Met announced that its special exhibition devoted to Alexander McQueen will be open Mondays for people willing to pay $50 for admission.

Admission prices to art museums around the country vary widely, though many charge more than the price of a movie ticket.

To put things in perspective, here's the general adult admission for some of the major art museums around the U.S. The prices don't reflect extra charges for special exhibitions, such as the new Tim Burton show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Continue reading »

Picasso season wraps up in New York -- and starts up in San Francisco

May 26, 2011 |  9:15 am

Picassoboyleadinghorse You don't have to leave the U.S. to see some of Picasso's greatest paintings, thanks to choice holdings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and MoMA in New York -- especially MoMA. But this year it's easier than ever to see a range of works by the prolific artist on either coast.

After traveling to the Seattle Art Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, "Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso" reaches its final U.S. venue next month, opening at the De Young Museum in San Francisco on June 11. The survey spans eight decades and many media, including paintings and works on paper.

French art critics have faulted the Picasso museum in Paris, which is closed for a $60-million renovation, for sending works abroad in order to raise construction funds. California fans might just be glad to see about 150 works closer to home, despite a hefty $25 admission price for adults.

Meanwhile, across town, SFMOMA has borrowed dozens of Picasso paintings and works on paper from private collections as well as museums for a show over a decade in the making: "The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde." MoMA alone loaned several works, including the  double portrait "Boy Leading a Horse," shown above, from the artist's so-called rose period.

Continue reading »

Monster Mash: Revised 'Spider-Man' meets first Broadway audience; Elizabeth Taylor portrait sells

May 13, 2011 |  7:50 am


Back in business: The revised "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" resumed preview performances Thursday with some minor glitches. (Wall Street Journal)

Sold: A portrait of actress Elizabeth Taylor by Andy Warhol brought in nearly $27 million at an auction on Thursday. (CNN)

Hardliner: A senior Chinese diplomat has defended his government's imprisonment of artist Ai Weiwei. (Reuters)

Frivolous?: A Republican congressman has questioned the National Endowment for the Arts over grants to mimes and an accordion festival. (Washington Post)

Musical hit: Many of the songs in Broadway's "The Book of Mormon" are too racy to perform on network television during the Tony Awards. Meanwhile, producers of the show said the national tour will start in December 2012 in Denver. (New York Post and

Settlement: The Leopold Museum in Austria has agreed to pay $5 million to the descendant of a Jewish silk-factory owner to keep in its collection a painting by Egon Schiele that was stolen by the Nazis. (Bloomberg)

Dropping out: Two singers have withdrawn from the Metropolitan Opera's summer tour in Japan. (New York Times)

Growing up: The Los Angeles Ballet celebrates its fifth anniversary with "Giselle." (Los Angeles Times)

Moving in: New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art will display contemporary works in a location it recently acquired from the Whitney Museum of Art. (NY1)

Also in the L.A. Times: UCLA Live, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Dance at the Music Center have announced lineups for their new seasons.

-- David Ng

Photo: Patrick Page, right, Jennifer Damiano, second from right, Reeve Carney, second from left, and T.V. Carpio, left, at the curtain call Thursday for "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Credit: Tina Fineberg / Associated Press

Norton Simon Museum borrows Vermeer from Metropolitan, never shown before in California

May 2, 2011 |  4:35 pm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has five, not counting one now established as fake. The National Gallery of Art in D.C. has four, not including its two known examples of forgeries. But no West Coast museum owns a single painting by the widely celebrated — and imitated — Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.

Vermeerfornortonsimon So the fact that the Norton Simon Museum is borrowing a Vermeer from the Metropolitan — one accepted by scholars as authentic — is good news for any local fan of the Dutch master. The painting, “Woman with a Lute,” believed to date from 1662-63, will be on display July 8 through Sept. 26.

The painting is one of nearly a dozen so-called “pearl” pictures by Vermeer, featuring women wearing pearls that the artist polished to perfection. One of the most famous “pearl” paintings, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” inspired the 1999 novel by Tracy Chevalier and the 2003 movie starring Scarlett Johansson. Here, the subject wears a pearl choker and large pearl-drop earrings, as she sits at the table holding her lute.

Familiar Vermeer props abound, from the map of Europe hanging behind the sitter to the ermine-trimmed jacket that she wears. Norton Simon chief curator Carol Togneri  calls it “a classic Vermeer” in another respect as well. “That magical way he can reproduce light coming into a room or reflecting on a single pearl earring. It’s a diffused type of light, and he’s absolutely virtuosic when it comes to this ability to relay light through a leaded glass window or unidentified source,” she says.

The painting also has the emotional elusiveness typical of Vermeer, as it remains psychologically inscrutable despite its precisely detailed surface. “Is the map an indication that she longs for a husband or lover who is away?” Togneri wonders. Or, “does the fact that the chair is pulled out indicate she is waiting for someone to sit down and play a duet with her?”

Little is known about the painting’s earliest owners. But Collis P. Huntington, the railroad magnate whose heirs went on to found the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, bequeathed the work to the Metropolitan Museum when he died in 1900. It has never been displayed in California.

Vermeer worked in Delft at a time when the merchant class and art market were both taking off, but he made relatively few paintings before his death at age 43. Walter Liedtke, curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan, writes that Vermeer painted “perhaps about 45  (of which 36 are known today).”  Both numbers have been in flux over the last century because of the flood of imitations discovered, including those by the notorious forger Han van Meegeren, who successfully avoided criminal charges that he collaborated with the Nazis and sold them a Vermeer by proving that the painting in question was actually a fake of his own making.

Generally, the Norton Simon is not known for borrowing or lending works. But the Pasadena museum has partnered with the Frick Collection and the National Gallery of Art to periodically borrow masterpieces. In 2008, it showed another Vermeer under this agreement: “A Lady Writing” from the National Gallery.

The new loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art is not part of this alliance. Rather, it’s the sort of trade that’s common in the museum business when one institution covets another’s painting for a particular show. In this case, the Metropolitan sought to borrow the Norton Simon Raphael painting “Madonna and Child with Book” to round out a 2006 Raphael exhibition. In exchange, it offered Vermeer’s “Woman with a Lute.”

Togneri plans to install the Vermeer in what the museum calls its “Rembrandt gallery,” featuring its prized Dutch 17th-century paintings. There it will hang alongside works such  as “Woman at her Toilette” by Gabriel Metsu, another Dutch interior filled with images of musicality and melancholy.


Raphaelmadonnanga Celebrated Raphael Madonna to go on show at Norton Simon in time for holidays

 Eli Broad, today’s Norton Simon



--Jori Finkel  

Image: "Woman with a Lute," ca. 1662–63 by Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–75), oil on canvas from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900.

Gauguin painting's attacker isn't the only crazy one

April 5, 2011 | 11:35 am

Gauguin Two Tahitian Women NGA AP The woman who attacked a Paul Gauguin painting with her fists at Washington's National Gallery of Art on Friday might be mentally ill. According to a published report, the woman told police that the painting of two bare-breasted Tahitian women is "very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned ... I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you."

If she is deranged, one wonders: What is the excuse for the Washington City Paper, which Tuesday published a story with the headline "Three Works at the National Gallery We’d Have Defaced Before Gauguin"?

The alternative tabloid proceeded to "recommend" three works in the museum's collection more suitable for trashing than the Post-Impressionist picture, which is on loan from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to a popular traveling exhibition. One of the three writers even explains, "Actually, I've been defacing a work of art very subtly since September last year," claiming to regularly add colored pencil marks to a Sol LeWitt wall drawing at the museum.

The story appears in the paper's ArtsDesk blog, not on a comedy page, where standards would probably be higher.

The authors do bend over backwards to say they "recoiled at the news" of the original attack, and in a lame attempt at wit repeat variations of "don't try this at [your] home [museum]." But I suspect the shiver that ran down the spines of every museum curator around the globe when the Gauguin story first appeared, fearing possible copycats, will get a new jolt from what amounts to water-cooler tomfoolery now posted by art critics on the Internet.

Initial examination of the Gauguin painting showed no damage, according to conservators at the National Gallery, although study continues. (The painting was behind Plexiglass.) That's a good thing.

So was the quick action of the museum guard who intervened in what can only be described as a sad event, both for the art and for the plainly troubled attacker. Washington City Paper is an alternative newspaper, but who knew that the alternative to sad was dumb?


Smith Art review: 'David Smith: Cubes & Anarchy' at LACMA

Art review: 'Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964-1966' at LACMA

Art review: 'William Leavitt: Theater Objects' at MOCA

-- Christopher Knight

Photo: Paul Gauguin, "Two Tahitian Women," 1898. Credit: Associated Press / National Gallery of Art

L.A. museums lag behind San Francisco in Art Newspaper survey of 2010 museum attendance

March 29, 2011 |  6:00 am

By many measures Los Angeles now has one of the most vital art scenes in the world. So why do its leading art museums still lag behind counterparts in New York,Chicago and San Francisco, not to mention Paris and London, when it comes to general attendance?

That is just one question raised by The Art Newspaper's international museum attendance survey for the year 2010, which will be published in its April issue.

TopusmuseumsWith 1,205,685 visitors last year, the Getty Center ranked behind the leading museums in New York, D.C., and Chicago. It also trails the de Young Museum in San Francisco, which broke the 2-million mark for the first time ever last year thanks to two blockbuster exhibitions: King Tut and paintings from the Musée d'Orsay. 

(Including the Getty Villa figures would bring its total to roughly 1.6 million. But by the same token, including attendance at the Legion of Honor, the de Young's sister museum, would boost it to nearly 2.5 million.)

LACMA posted a 2010 attendance of 914,356, which puts it behind other encyclopedic museums like the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and just ahead of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Other L.A. museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Hammer Museum, did not make the cut of top 100 museums worldwide. Click here for the full story exploring the gap in museum attendance, and what L.A. museum directors are doing about it.


LACMA reports uptick in admissions for 2010

Museum attendance up, income down

Museums roll out the red carpet for Hollywood


--Jori Finkel

Monster Mash: Alexander McQueen to be honored by Met museum; drug-themed exhibition in London

November 11, 2010 |  7:57 am

Mcqueen Fashion icon: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will pay tribute to late fashion designer Alexander McQueen with a 2011 exhibit at its Costume Institute. (NBC New York)

Under the influence: An exhibition on the influence of drugs on art and culture has opened at London's Wellcome Collection. (BBC News)

Vanity project: French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to create a museum in his own honor, but not everyone is happy about it. (The Guardian)

Leading men: Norbert Leo Butz and Aaron Tveit have officially joined the cast of the Broadway production of "Catch Me If You Can." (New York Times)

Back to work: The Arizona Opera and its orchestra musicians have agreed on a five-year contract. (Arizona Daily Star)

For sale: Mikhail Baryshnikov has put his upstate New York home on the market with an asking price of $4 million. (Wall Street Journal)

Free to come and go: Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been released from house arrest. (Voice of America)

Expanding: The San Francisco Opera will be getting new rehearsal, meeting and administrative space. (San Francisco Examiner)

Rock legend: A new statue of Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia has taken its place at the Santa Barbara Bowl. (Associated Press)

Master builders: A Denver-based architectural firm has been selected to design the proposed expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. (San Diego 6)

And in the L.A. Times: the Tony Awards ceremony is moving to New York's Beacon Theatre; conductor James Levine had to withdraw midway through a Wednesday evening performance at the Metropolitan Opera.

-- David Ng

Photo: Alexander McQueen, with actress Sarah Jessica Parker, in 2006. Credit: Stuart Ramson / Associated Press

Monster Mash: King Tut artifacts to be returned to Egypt; Harvey Fierstein to star in Broadway's 'La Cage'

November 10, 2010 |  8:16 am

Tut Heading home: Egypt's antiquities authority said the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will return 19 artifacts taken from the tomb of Tutankhamun, or King Tut. (Bloomberg)

Leading lady: Starting Feb. 15, Harvey Fierstein will take over from Douglas Hodge in the Broadway revival of "La Cage aux Folles," a musical that Fierstein wrote. (Playbill)

Hard times: A 2010 report shows that jobs took a hit in L.A.'s creative economy. (Los Angeles Times)

Public chat: Eli Broad discussed his art collection and other art-related subjects during a conversation at New York's American Folk Art Museum. (Wall Street Journal)

Big sales: Andy Warhol’s 1954 painting of a Coca-Cola bottle has sold for $35.4 million at Sotheby’s, following the sale of the artist's 1962 black-and-white painting of Elizabeth Taylor, which went for $63.4 million at Phillips de Pury & Co. in New York. (Bloomberg)

Outdoor renovations: New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has selected landscape architecture firm OLIN to redesign its 5th Avenue plaza over the course of the next five years. (New York Times)

Into the wild: Campaigners have urged London's Natural History Museum to halt a botanical research expedition to a remote area in Paraguay, warning it would be "like genocide" for isolated indigenous groups. (Reuters)

Chance find: A signed print of the Salvador Dali painting "The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus" was discovered at a Goodwill store. (NPR)

Passing: Social realist artist Jack Levine has died at age 95. (Associated Press)

Also in the L.A. Times: A study shows that wealthy Americans' philanthropy dropped in 2009, but not for the arts;  violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter puts in a rare Southern California appearance.

-- David Ng

Photo: A bronze figurine of a dog with a golden collar, one of 19 objects taken from King Tutankhamun's tomb that is being returned to Egypt. Credit: AFP / Getty Images


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