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Public and private institutions are joining forces to restore the 13th-century Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in the earthquake-damaged town of L’Aquila, Italy.

According to the plan presented to the mayor Tuesday, the regional heritage authority will oversee the design, construction work and security of the site, while three universities (Milan, Rome and L’Aquila) and the Italian energy group Eni will advise on technical matters, such as improving the long-term earthquake resistance of the building. Eni is financing the €12m project. A call for tenders has been released to appoint a contractor by December, with a projected completion date in 2016.

Published in News
Thursday, 15 August 2013 19:51

Tate Britain Will Unveil its New Look this Fall

Tate Britain will unveil its new look on November 19, 2013 as part of The Millbank Project. The renovation, which was helmed by Caruso St. John Architects, follows the opening of ten new galleries and is part of the first phase of the twenty-year project.

The recent $70 million project includes the reopening of Tate Britain’s main entrance on Millbank, the reopening of the Whistler Restaurant, new learning studios, the reopening of the museum’s balcony in the Rotunda, which has been closed since the 1920s, and site-specific works by three contemporary artists. Penelope Curtis, the director of Tate Britain, said, “The new Tate Britain opens up the Millbank entrance to reassert and enhance the original grandeur and logic of the galleries. Adam Caruso and Peter St. John have created new spaces out of old ones and artists have helped to articulate a new sense of the public realm.”

The subsequent phases of the The Millbank Project will be implemented after 2014 and will aim to restore the galleries in the museum’s south-west quadrant, create a new suite of galleries and transform Tate Britain’s landscape facing the River Thames.

Published in News
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 18:31

Helsinki Awaits Second Bid for a Guggenheim Museum

Helsinki, Finland is expecting a second proposal for a Guggenheim museum after rejecting the first offer due to its high cost. Plans for a Guggenheim franchise in the Finnish capital were vetoed by the Helsinki city council in May of last year, despite having the support of the city’s mayor Jussi Pajunen. The original proposal speculated that the project would cost around $186 million to complete.

Helsinki’s deputy mayor Rita Viljanen told AFP that executives of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York have been talking with several Finnish representatives. Together with the foundation’s director, Richard Armstrong, they are trying to determine a way to improve the project plan while keeping costs down. A new proposal is expected to be submitted to the city by September 2013.

The Guggenheim’s proposition has been met with some opposition from The Greens, Finland’s Social Democratic Party, the Left Alliance and the populist Finns Party. Dissenters feel that the Guggenheim’s endeavor is motivated more by tourism than a true interest in the development of contemporary art in Finland.

The Guggenheim currently has museums in New York, Bilbao, Berlin, Venice, and another is under construction in Abu Dhabi.

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Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art In New York City announced that one million people have visited the institution’s New Galleries for American Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts since opening to the public on January 6, 2012. The galleries, which were expanded, reconceived, and reinstalled, average 2,000 visitors per day -- about 11% of the Met’s overall attendance.

The New Galleries present works ranging from the 18th century through the early 20th century arranged in chronological order. Highlights from the New Galleries include Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware and works by American masters such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, and Frederic Remington.

The renovation of the Met’s New Galleries was part of a comprehensive, decade-long project to redesign the museum’s entire American Wing. The overhaul added 3,300 square feet of gallery space to the American Wing and allowed for a more in-depth presentation of the Met’s remarkable American art collection. Nearly all of the American Wing’s 17,000 holdings are now on view. 

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston presents the exhibition Audubon’s Birds, Audubon’s Words. The show features approximately 30 prints from the museum’s copy of John James Audubon’s seminal work The Birds of America alongside the prose he originally wrote for the book.

The naturalist and painter is best known for his life-size, hand-colored prints illustrating the wide variety of birds in North America. The MFA’s exhibition aims to bring attention to Audubon’s undervalued text, which he original wrote to describe each bird he portrayed in Birds of America. However, the first edition of the book was printed between 1827 and 1838 without words. The MFA’s presentation of Audubon’s prose allows patrons the chance to read first-hand accounts of the methods the artist used to depict the birds and the trials associated with his substantial project.

Audubon’s Birds, Audubon’s Words will be on view at the MFA through May 11, 2014.

Published in News
Monday, 29 July 2013 17:50

Maine Museums Raise Funds for Newtown

Six museums in Maine are raising funds to help Newtown, Connecticut build a museum. Newtown is home to Sandy Hook Elementary School the location of a devastating school shooting that took place on December 14, 2012. Plans to build the EverWonder Children’s Museum in the small Connecticut town have been in discussion for years but the project gained momentum following the tragedy.

The contributing museums in Maine are offering free admission and accepting donations of Thursday, August 1, 2013. Currently the Maine State Museum in Augusta, the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, the Maine Historical Society in Portland, the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport are participating.

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Thanks to a grant from Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project, the Detroit Institute of Arts has embarked on a research endeavor focused on examining and digitally photographing 13 full-scale preparatory drawings by Diego Rivera for his Detroit Industry murals. The drawings have not been viewed since 1986 and have never been photographed. The project, which started on July 22, 2013, will last through August 2, 2013 and will include any necessary conservation work on the drawings.

Rivera gave the drawings, which are housed in a climate-controlled custom storage in the museum, to the DIA after he completed his monumental Detroit Industry murals in 1933. The series of frescoes, which features 27 panels surrounding the museum’s Rivera Court, depict the then state-of-the-art Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant. The murals stirred up controversy following their completion and critics deemed the works blasphemous, vulgar, un-American and Marxist propaganda. While members of the Detroit community called for the destruction of the murals, commissioner Edsel Ford and DIA Director Wilhelm Valentiner defended the murals’ right to exist.

Following the research project, 5 of the 13 panels will be go on view at DIA as part of an exhibition of works by Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo created during their time in Detroit.

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Less than two months after Richard Koshalek, the director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Park in Washington, D.C. resigned, Constance Caplan, the chair of the museum’s board, has followed suit. Caplan announced her resignation in a strongly worded letter on July 8, 2013; she is the third member to leave the board since early June. Caplan cited lack of transparency, trust, vision and good faith as her reasons for leaving. Koshelek listed similar reasons in his resignation letter.

Staff members have been losing faith in the Hirshhorn since it embarked on its doomed Seasonal Inflatable Structure project in 2009. The project was continually stalled due to rising construction costs and conflicting feelings about the structure’s purpose. It was ultimately abandoned after Koshalek’s resignation.

The original vision was to create a 150-foot-tall bubble that would connect the inside and outside of the Hirshhorn and create additional space for installations and performances. Designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, the bubble was expected to cost over $12.5 million to create and install. Previous fund-raising efforts brought in about $7.8 million. When it was first announced, the Bubble garnered national attention and was applauded for being highly innovated.

Published in News
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 12:24

BMW Withdraws Support for Guggenheim Project

In 2010, New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum embarked on a six-year project with the luxury automobile brand BMW. The BMW Guggenheim Lab was to include three 5,000 square feet pop-up structures that would travel in consecutive cycles to one location in the U.S., one in Europe and another in Asia. The architect-designed pieces were to remain in each location for 3 months, accompanied by Guggenheim curators who would helm programs for leaders in the fields of architecture, art, science, design, technology and education in an effort to curb issues relating to urban living.

The project’s first lab opened in Manhattan’s East Village in 2011 and attracted over 54,000 visitors. The project transformed a gritty, empty lot into a handsome community center designed by the Tokyo-based architecture firm, Atelier Bow-Wow. The Lab, which was the first and last for the project, traveled to Berlin and Mumbai following its stint in NYC.

BMW officials assured the public that the company will continue to be a global partner of the Guggenheim and that they are still considering future collaborations. The lab project, which was slated to last through 2016, was supposedly reconsidered due to “strategic shifts within the company” at BMW. The exhibition Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab will prematurely wrap up the project. The show will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum in New York from October 11, 2013 through January 5, 2014.

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The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. announced that Oprah Winfrey will donate $12 million to support the capital campaign of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Winfrey donated $1 million in 2007, bringing her total contribution to the project to $13 million. She has been a member of the museum’s advisory council since 2004. To thank her for her generosity, the Smithsonian will name the museum’s 350-seat theater the Oprah Winfrey Theater.

The museum, which is currently under construction, is expected to cost $500 million by the time it reaches completion. Congressional funding provided half of the capital and the rest is being raised by the museum. The museum is situated on 5 acres of land and sits next to the Washington Monument. It will be the 19th Smithsonian museum.

Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian Secretary, said, “At its heart, the National Museum of African History and Culture is a showcase for a richer, fuller picture of the American experience. The Oprah Winfrey Theater will bring untold stories alive through films, performances, artistic expression and public dialogue.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to open in late 2015.

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