Another Upstate Gem

If you ever find yourself near the Flower City of Rochester, NY, then a stop at the Memorial Art Gallery at University of Rochester is well worth the trip. Greatness sometimes comes in small yet mighty packages. Plus you won’t be stumbling over hordes of shuffling art sheep as you enjoy spending quality time viewing major works by major artists. Win-Win!

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Epic Public Art & Empire State Plaza

The architecturally controversial seat of New York State’s government is still one of the world’s great showcases of monumental public art. Yet to this day, most state residents and visitors have no idea it even exists, much less have they taken the time to stop and visit the true wonder which is the Empire State Plaza Art Collection.

Postcard circa 1978, when the final touches of a 15 year project were finished.

On the 50th anniversary of the inaugural cornerstone being laid, the Albany Times-Union’s Paul Grondahl started an article on the plaza’s legacy as follows: On June 21, 1965, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller gathered with state and local officials and other dignitaries and laid the South Mall cornerstone — a 7,500-pound block of white granite quarried near Cortland, N.H. — that sealed a document box containing artifacts in the foundation of a long, low-slung building taking shape along Swan Street near the intersection with State Street.

Rockefeller proclaimed it would be “the most spectacularly beautiful seat of government in the world” and “the greatest thing to happen to this country in a hundred years.” He was not a man given to understatement.

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A Trifecta of Baltimore Museums

A Hot & Humid August Trip to Charm City Delivered the Goods!

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art has evolved to deploy a simple vision statement: The belief that access to art and ideas is integral to a vibrant and healthy civic life. This viewpoint is at the heart of the BMA, and remains as part of their core values. The collection is rather extraordinary, and delightful to peruse. Here’s a little visual sample platter of some spaces housing the collection:

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Clark Art Institute

Often there are gems in your own backyard which merit revisiting again and again. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts is a place that checks all the boxes (and then some) you could want for a museum. Incredible art holdings? Check. World class art research library and teaching programs which churn out the best and brightest into the museum/curatorial world? Check. Conservation studio which both teaches and restores at the highest level? Check. Sterling and Francine Clark’s vision and generosity have expanded to beyond what they might have imagined, while remaining true to a core mission which remains firmly intact.

Close-up of Winslow Homer’s Undertow at the Clark Art Institute.
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Custodianship – The Art of Owning Art

In our previous Collector Series posts I discussed how to start an art collection, and how to buy art wisely. Once you’ve started your fine art collection you become a custodian.  Custodianship is where the joys of collecting art meet the responsibilities of owning art. Here are four core strategies to help you both enjoy your collection and know it is well protected.Continue reading “Custodianship – The Art of Owning Art”

Brooding Brangwyn in Bruge

Recap/throwback to Summer 2018 in Belgium where I visited an exceptional small exhibit by an under-appreciated and misunderstood art world giant: Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956).

Born in Bruge, Brangwyn was an artistic jack of all trades: painter, muralist, ceramist, stain glass artist, lithographer, book illustrator, furniture and interior designer. His paintings are what separates this self-taught artist from the pack. Intense, colorful, moody and insightfully psychological, their impact is undeniable on viewers. Not knowing there was an exhibition when a family trip took us to the delightful, ancient and historically important city, it was an unexpected treat to see work of their native son.

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Gabriele Münter (1867-1962)

A Women’s History Month reminiscence from an incredible day and exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark, July 2018.

My thirty -five years in the art business have brought me to museums across a fairly wide swath of the planet. In the Summer of 2018, the last of five countries on a major family and art viewing trip to Europe was Denmark. Before leaving on the trip, anyone to whom I mentioned Denmark was one of the countries on our itinerary invariably told me, “DO NOT MISS going to the Louisiana!” The museum is about an hour from Copenhagen, situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean with views to Sweden.

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Seeking Balance in a Challenging Year

2020 has been a year none of us could have anticipated. A global pandemic. Business shutdowns. Working and schooling at home. A surreal presidential election. Through it all a we suffered a lack of coherent information and leadership which would allow us to feel confident there was light at the end of the tunnel. Even the vaccines have been politicized. As we get ready to say good-bye to 2020, I’m reflecting on what seems like a surreal dream. And one of the only concrete truths I can come up with is the ability of art to help me feel grounded, inspired, and connected to the human spirit.

Francis Criss painting – Winter Morning.
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The Art of Buying Art

In a previous post I discussed three core elements of how someone can start an art collection. In this post, I’d like to talk dollars and sense. I’ve broken down the basics into the following streamlined principles of art collecting: Three do’s & don’ts, and three golden rules. It’s easy to spend money on art. I’d hoping to help guide you to spending money on art wisely.

The Do’s & Don’ts:

  • Do buy what you love
  • Don’t buy to impress or to be an art investor
  • Do consider inherent value when buying
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Centre Pompidou’s and Dont’s

Reminiscing about a fantastic visit in Summer 2019 to one of Paris’ great (and controversial) museums leads to one suggestion – Do go if you can! Plus one don’t –Don’t plan on going from 2023 – 2026 when Centre George Pompidou will be closed for a three-year, quarter of a billion dollar renovation.

Centre George Pompidou
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