Trade News from Around the World
The American Association of Museums has adopted new ethical guidelines on how museums should finance and oversee exhibits of private collections, a move prompted by a furor over financing of last year’s “Sensation” exhibit and other art shows, reports Katherine Roth of the Associated Press. The guidelines, approved unanimously by the association’s board and announced August 2 in New York City, advise against some of the practices used by the Brooklyn Museum of Art in its exhibit of works owned by British ad executive Charles Saatchi. The show was controversial because of the shock value of some of the art, including a depiction of the Virgin Mary featuring clumps of elephant dung. But ethical questions also arose because the museum accepted loan of the works from Saatchi and included Christie’s auction house among the sponsors.
Charlotte DuMouchelle, co-founder of the Detroit fine art and antique auction house that bears the family name of her late husband, Joseph DuMouchelle, died July 28 at the age of 96 in Detroit, Mich. Mrs DuMouchelle was an active partner serving as the company’s vice-president well into her eighties. She was best known for her warm smile, keen intelligence, knack for numbers, and for having an unquenchable thirst for education, art, and travel.
An address book from the Titanic was found days after it was reported stolen last month from a Museum of Science and Industry exhibit, officials told the Associated Press August 3. The Chicago, Ill. museum spokeswoman, Elizabeth Keating, declined to elaborate. A museum employee noticed the black leather-bound address book – about 5-by-2 inches with the words “Maryland Club Rye” – missing on July 26. Museum security officials conducted their own search before notifying Chicago police several hours later.
After a recent on-site review by museum professionals, the American Association of Museums (AAM) has awarded accreditation to the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, N.Y. In its report, the AAM noted, “The [m]useum houses an impressive collection of American and African art [and] has made important contributions to both the art historical and museum fields through its publications, loans, and travelling exhibitions on a regional, national and international level.”
Members of the Getty family, known for their efforts to preserve and showcase fine art, are now being accused of destroying it: Alabama artist Garth Benton – who has reportedly worked for Bob Hope, Barbra Streisand, Danielle Steel and Carol Burnett – is suing Gordon and Ann Getty for painting over his mural in their San Francisco mansion, reports the Associated Press. Benton claims that covering up the work violated a rarely used California law barring the destruction of fine art. “Because Mrs. Getty has dedicated much of her life to the restoration and preservation of fine art, she is now working with experts to remove the paint from the mural and restore it to its original condition,” Getty family spokesman Larry Kamer told the San Francisco Examiner. Benton seeks $327,000 in damages, the amount he was paid for the work.
The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) Education Department, Williamstown, Mass., has received the Distinguished Cultural Institution Award from the Massachusetts Alliance of Arts Education (MAAE). The award, presented at the MAAE annual meeting and awards ceremony on June 8, was given in recognition of WCMA’s instructional excellence and innovative approaches to arts education.
For the first time in its more than 60 years, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., is getting a series of art works that can’t be hung or touched – they won’t even exist after the gallery closes for the day and the lights are turned out: they are projections of light on the walls. Carl Hartman of the Associated Press quotes museum director Earl A. Powell III, from a statement given August 4, that “the four projection pieces by artist James Turrell constitute the gallery’s first acquisition of installation art and signal our Twenty-First Century goals for the collection of modern and contemporary art.” Money for the purchase came from the Brown Foundation of Houston. The gallery declined to talk about price, but said Turrell will donate a fifth work.
Show promoters Kay and Bill Puchstein have purchased the Central Florida Antiques Market in Deland from Edna and Wayne Knight. The antiques and collectibles show, now in its 21st year, is one of 147 events under the Puchsteins’ belt. The couple has run the Scott Antique Markets in Georgia and Ohio, the Ohio Antiques Extravaganza, Pride of Dixie in Atlanta, Music Valley in Nashville, Start of Manchester in New Hampshire, and the Tri Delta Antiques Show in Dallas. They also set-up and exhibit at 12 to 15 shows each year as dealers.
Judge Carol Vigil, a New Mexico district court judge, ruled August 3 that the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M., does not perform enough educational functions to qualify for property tax exemption. Vigil upheld a decision by the Santa Fe County Valuation Board and ordered the museum to pay $12,170 in back taxes. The museum paid property taxes in 1996, 1997 and 1998, but then filed a request for tax exemption status on Feb. 25, 1999.
The unusual mission of Harry Rubenstein and Larry Bird, curators at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., was to procure – at the recent Republican Convention in Philadelphia, Pa. – memorabilia to add to the 90,000 objects already in the museum’s political history collection, says Associated Press writer Mike Feinsilber. The Smithsonian holds far more in its collection than it could possibly put on display, but the best of what the curators captured will go into an exhibition, “The American Presidency,” opening in November.