Collectors, Museums
Marion Maneker0January 10, 2014

Sachs Gift Raises Philadelphia Museum in Contemporary Art Ranks

Keith L. and Katherine Sachs

Carol Vogel was first with the story that Keith and Katherine Sachs have made a major donation to the Philadelphia Museum that Director Timothy Rub describes as putting the museum in the first rank of Contemporary art. The 97 works are led by artists Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden and Gerhard Richter and Vogel puts a market value of $70m on the gift:

“This museum has always been committed to contemporary art,” Mr. Rub said in a telephone interview. “Now, with the Sachs gift, we will have one of the best collections of contemporary art in the country. It’s transformative.”

The gift will fill crucial gaps in the museum’s holdings. There are, for instance, important video works by artists like Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Pierre Huyghe, Steve McQueen, Eve Sussman and Bill Viola, which Mr. Rub described as a “major step forward” for the museum. The collection also helps enrich holdings by artists it already owns, like Mr. Johns and Mr. Kelly. It significantly ramps up its representation of sculptures, too, with work by John Chamberlain, Donald Judd, Cy Twombly, Dan Flavin, Richard Serra and Robert Gober. The artworks include some by the hottest photographers around, including Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Philadelphia Museum Lands a Major Gift (Inside Art/NYTimes)

Marion Maneker0January 08, 2014

MoMA Tells a Story but the New Expansion Doesn’t Give Any More Room to Do That with the Permanent Collection

08-moma-rendering-2.jpg.r.nocrop.w610.h610Forget the demise of the American Folk Art Museum building or the new performance spaces or even the high-end real estate development, Jerry Saltz says. MoMA’s expansion revealed today has a fundamental problem for a museum that has the unique mission of telling a specific story about Modern art:

All this avoids MoMA’s basic problem, which I’ve written about before: that the museum needs to triple the amount of space for showing its permanent collection of art made before 1980. It didn’t in 2004, and it isn’t now.

Saltz: The New MoMA Expansion Is a Mess (NY Mag)

Marion Maneker0January 07, 2014

LA MoCA Says It Reached $100m Endowment Goal in 2013

Maria Bell, Jeffrey Deitch

Maria Bell, Jeffrey Deitch

Maria Bell spoke to Kelly Crow at the Wall Street Journal to declare victory on LA MoCA’s $100m fundraising goal and pass the baton to  Maurice Marciano and Lilly Tartikoff Karatz.

Ms. Bell said the museum now boasts one of the heftiest endowments in the country for its size, which may allow its leaders to focus more on showcasing its art—rather than defending its balance sheet.

“This means we can take off the table any questions about MOCA’s future,” she said. “The remaining questions are exciting ones concerning our upcoming exhibitions.”

The museum is also searching for a new director. Currently, the museum is being overseen by interim director Maria Seferian, but Ms. Bell said the museum is sifting through a batch of potential candidates and aims to name a permanent director later this spring.

“Will the new director need to raise funds? Of course,” Ms. Bell said, adding that the museum’s next goal will be to boost its endowment to $150 million. “But now at least we’ve got good ground under our feet.”

Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art MOCA Rebounds From Financial Woes (WSJ)

Marion Maneker0January 06, 2014

Carnegie Museum Buys 80% of Its Own Show

Phyllida Barlow, “Untitled upturnedhouse” (2012)

The Carnegie Museum has found a novel way to be able to afford works by active artists: commission them for the museum’s show, the Carnegie International, then help pay for their production, like the Phyllida Barlow (above:)

“We are purchasing 80 percent of the artists whose work was exhibited in the show,” said Daniel Baumann, who curated the exhibition with Daniel Byers and Tina Kukielski.

Museum spokesman Jonathan Gaugler said the percentage of artists whose work was purchased from the show is “very high.”

“There’s no question that we have acquired more art this time than we have in past internationals,” Mr. Gaugler said. […] Mr. Baumann explained why it makes sense to buy artworks from the International.

“The museum invests in production. So when we buy out of the exhibition, we can reduce production costs so it makes the acquisition cheaper,” he said Monday in a telephone interview.

“It’s a great opportunity to buy works that have never been shown. Many of these works premiered in Pittsburgh. It also makes sense to keep these works in Pittsburgh rather than send them to New York and buy them in a gallery.”

Art haul nets Carnegie Museum 80 percent of International show (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Marion Maneker0December 21, 2013

Michigan Governor Snyder Hints at Grand Bargain to Save DIA’s Art

The Detroit Institute of Arts It would appear that the brinksmanship over DIA’s art has worked. Michigan governor Rick Snyder gave Federal Judge Gerald Rosen’s initiative to save DIA’s art more traction last week after Christie’s submitted its final appraisal. The timing of the hints suggests the three-way battle over DIA’s art between the Emergency Manager, the surrounding counties and the state has come to a head. But since the state has been driving the bankruptcy process, the hints of a grand bargain suggest other concessions not yet revealed:

Calling ongoing efforts by Detroit federal Judge Gerald Rosen to organize a rescue package with local and national foundations “thoughtful and creative,” the Detroit museum said positive comments by the governor and some lawmakers “will continue to provide momentum to the discussions. The DIA is actively engaged in these talks and continues to be optimistic about a positive outcome.” […]

Snyder said he thought Lansing might be willing to help broker a grand bargain that would involve saving the museum’s art at the same time that it bolstered the city’s ailing pension funds. House Speaker Pro Tem John Walsh, R-Livonia, also said some state involvement in resolving the bankruptcy impasse seemed inevitable.

DIA says Snyder’s consideration of state aid helps bankruptcy talks (Detroit News)

Marion Maneker0December 20, 2013

The Case for Valuing Detroit’s Art Much Lower

Detail of Vincent van Gogh Self Portrait at DIA

The Detroit Free Press spoke to an appraiser who offers a view of the works that differs from the assumption that the sales could maximize value from the top Detroit works:

Beverly Schreiber Jacoby, president of BSJ Fine Art in New York, said that while Christie’s did what the city asked it to do, she regarded the evaluation process as “conceptually flawed.” She said it ignored the reality of bringing the art to market in the context of bankruptcy and what would be, in effect, a forced sale.“This evaluation didn’t take place in a fair-market value situation,” she said. “It’s a liquidation.”She also pointed to other conditions that could potentially depress prices, including the intense negative publicity that would surround the sale of DIA art, scaring away museums and significant collectors who are trustees at those institutions.“A smaller pool of buyers may have a negative impact on prices,” she said.Other art consultants and dealers, however, have said that while American buyers might shy away from DIA art, deep-pocketed collectors in burgeoning markets in the Middle East, China, Russia and Japan would be less afraid of the stigma of taking advantage of Detroit’s misfortune.

Did Christies put the right appraisal on DIAs art treasures? Reviews are mixed | Detroit Free Press |

Marion Maneker0December 20, 2013

Van Gogh Kept in Mellon Home for 58 Years Goes on Display at National Gallery

van Gogh, Green Wheat Fields, Auvers

Paul Mellon kept this van Gogh hidden away at his country home in Virginia for 58 years but it will now go on display at the National Gallery:

The painting has only been exhibited once before in the United States in a show devoted to the Mellon collection in 1966 at the National Gallery of Art. The painting spent its early years with Van Gogh’s brother Theo and then was traded in Germany. It was shown in a major exhibition in Cologne, Germany, in 1912 and then in Berlin. But it has mostly been out of view since the 1930s, said French paintings curator Mary Morton.

Van Gogh painting joins collection at the National Gallery of Art (CTV News)

General, Museums
Marion Maneker0December 19, 2013

Detroit’s Top Ten Works as Christie’s Appraised Them

Rembrandt, The Visitation

Christie’s values the top ten works held by DIA at $323 – $ 635m

1.) Pieter Bruegel the Elder “The Wedding Dance” $100 – $200m

2.) Vincent van Gogh“Self Portrait with Straw Hat” $80 – $150m

3.) Rembrandt “The Visitation” $50 – $90m

4.) Henri Matisse “Le Gueridon” $40 – $80m

5.) Edgar Degas “Danseuses au foyer (La Contrebasse)” $20 – $40m

6.) Claude Monet “Gladioli” $12 – $20m

7.) Michelangelo  “Scheme for the decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (recto and verso)” $12 – $20m

8.) Neri di Bicci “The Palla Altarpiece: Tobias and Three Archangels” $8 – $15m

9.) Frans Hals  “Portrait of Hendrik Swalmius” $6 – $10m

10.) Giovanni Bellini and Workshop “Madonna and Child” $4 – $10m

Marion Maneker0December 17, 2013

Detroit Art City: The DIA Documentary

Detroit Art City


So how did all of this squabbling over the museum’s collection of masterpieces by Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Diego Rivera come about?

“Detroit Art City,” a new documentary premiering on Detroit Public Television and produced by Genevieve Savage, hopes to answer that question. Narrated by Angelo B. Henderson, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Detroit radio host, the film tells the story of the DIA’s relationship to the city and how its fate was placed in the hands of a bankruptcy judge and an emergency manager.


Marion Maneker0December 12, 2013

Could a Grand Bargain Save Detroit’s Art from the Auction Block? Let’s Hope So

The Detroit Institute of Arts

It’s curious that the Detroit Free Press phrases this possible grand bargain over Detroit’s art in terms of DIA’s participation. It is also telling that the deal comes shortly after Judge Rhodes ruled the bankruptcy could go through. In other words, a deal to save the art from inclusion in the city’s assets has been brewing for some time and now emerges once the bankruptcy can proceed. That is a reminder to the shrieking and fretting arts writers who framed the issue as a moral cause when it was a political fight between various Detroit-area constituencies. Art cannot be removed from human society, nor should it be:

The Detroit Institute of Arts embraced publicly, for the first time, the broad outline of a federally mediated deal that would protect its art from sale and spin off the museum from city ownership into an independent nonprofit. The deal would raise roughly $500 million from a consortium of national and local charitable foundations and funnel the money into retiree pensions on behalf of the value of the art at the DIA.

There’s still no guarantee that all of the parties — including labor groups representing about 23,500 pensioners and foundations of different size and interests — will be able to work through the layered complexities of hammering out a deal. But the DIA’s enthusiastic support is seen as a pivotal move in the march toward toward a possible compromise.

The museum also indicated that it was open to contributing financially to the plan.

DIA joins deal in works with mediators that would protect art, pensions in Detroit bankruptcy (Detroit Free Press)

Update: An astute reader pointed us to this Dec. 5 Detroit Free Press story:

Since early last month, Rosen has met with at least 10 local and national foundations to ask them to create the new $500-million fund. A Rosen-mediated deal also would free up money in the bankruptcy case to satisfy other creditors and go toward restoring some of the city services that hard-hit Detroit residents sorely lack.

“Bankruptcy is designed to be a carrot and stick,” the source told the Free Press. “It encourages parties to negotiate issues and solve them or the court will find a solution. I think that’s why Judge Rosen sees the opportunity here to really provide the opportunity for every party to come to the table and reach a solution before one is determined by the court that is outside their control.”