Subscribe to our RSS feed:

RSS Feed Button

Artnet News
Sept. 8, 2009 

The "special exhibition" featuring a single masterpiece is one new trick museums have come up with to keep costs down, or so it would seem from a quick survey of the now-popular practice. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, opens "Vermeerís Masterpiece The Milkmaid," Sept. 10-Nov. 29, 2009, focusing on a single painting borrowed from Amsterdamís Rijksmuseum (to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudsonís visit to America, of all things -- but in museumland, little excuse is necessary for a Vermeer show). The exhibition follows fast on the heels of "Michelangeloís First Painting," the museumís summer blockbuster featuring the Kimbell Art Museumís new acquisition, The Torment of Saint Anthony (1487-88).

Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Art is about to open "Monetís Water Lilies," Sept. 13, 2009-Apr. 12, 2010, which focuses on the mural-sized triptych from 1914-26 that in the old days was one of the museumís most popular attractions. Also in New York, the Frick, with its relatively constrained exhibition space, is an old hand at single-painting shows, having done "Parmigianinoís Antea" in 2008 and "Raphaelís Fornarina" in the winter of 2004-05. This spring, the Frick presented a show of five Old Master paintings from the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. And down in Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art currently has not one but two shows devoted to single artworks: "Edouard Manetís Ragpicker from the Norton Simon Foundation," May 22-Oct. 4, 2009; and "The Beffi Triptych: Preserving Abruzzoís Cultural Heritage," June 15-Sept. 7, 2009.

In fairness, it should be noted that the Metropolitan has devoted notable real estate to "Vermeerís Masterpiece," assembling its own five paintings by Vermeer, seven other Dutch paintings from the museum collection, and several prints and a drawing, all spaciously displayed in several galleries. The curatorial approach is an amusing one, emphasizing the sexual puns that Dutch painters would insert into paintings of cooks, kitchen maids, farmhands and the like. And the show is bound to be popular, even though the Vermeers are usually on view in any case, and were last featured two years ago in the encyclopedic "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art."

The chic Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala for spring 2010 celebrates Brooklyn -- the Brooklyn Museum costume collection, that is. The "party of the year" benefit is co-chaired by Oprah Winfrey and Gap designer Patrick Robinson -- Gap is sponsoring the show -- along with Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The exhibition is dubbed "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity," May 5-Aug. 15, 2010, and features ca. 75 costumes dating from 1890 to 1940, drawn from the long-time Brooklyn Museum collection that was transferred to the Met in January 2009. Canít wait to see something about the survey on Oprahís talk show!

Whatís more, the show itself extends to Brooklyn, with the Brooklyn Museum simultaneously presenting a companion survey, "American Style: Fashioning a National Collection," May 7-Aug. 1, 2009. The Met show is organized by Andrew Bolton, while the Brooklyn survey is overseen by Met consulting curator Jan Glier Reeder; Reeder is author of the accompanying book, High Style: Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

The Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan is presenting the theatrical premiere of The Painter Sam Francis, Sept. 11-17, 2009, an 85-minute-long documentary done in 16 mm, super-8 and digital video by filmmaker Jeffrey Perkins. Completed over a period of 40 years, the movie includes a 1973 interview between the artist and Perkins as well as extensive footage of Francis at work in the studio. Additional commentary is provided by Bruce Conner, Alfred Leslie, Ed Ruscha, James Turrell and others. For more info on the movie, see; for showtimes, see

This fall Exit Art presents a ten-year retrospective exhibition of Guatemalan "body artist" Regina José Galindo, a show that opens with a new performance by the artist. The exhibition "Regina José Galindo," Oct. 2-Nov. 21, 2009, features videos made during the last ten years by the artist-activist, whose works frequently express social issues in dramatic form via her own body: for Social Cleaning (2006), the naked artist had herself blasted with a high-pressure water hose, while for Who Can Erase the Traces? (2003), she left footprints on the street in blood.

For her new performance, titled Cloth, the artist plans to sell each article of clothing she is wearing for $5 to any audience member willing to pay and remove it from her body. Cloth takes place on Oct. 2 at 8:30 pm. The José Galindo retrospective, which is organized by Exit Art directors Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo, is accompanied by a newsprint catalogue with an essay written by Nick Stillman, an editor at Bomb magazine. "Performance in Crisis," a series of site-specific performances by other artists, is also scheduled during the run of the show.

The ever-contemporary Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook, Brooklyn, undertakes a revival of a popular Renaissance drawing tool with "Reinventing Silverpoint: An Ancient Technique for the 21st Centry," Sept. 11-Oct. 25, 2009. Organized by Susan Schwalb and Margaret Mathews-Berenson, the show features contemporary works by five artists who have rejected digital technology in favor of drawing with a metal stylus, which "demands a sure hand, concentration, and refined, controlled draftsmanship." The artists are Marietta Hoferer, Cynthia Lin, Natalie Loveless, Carol Prusa and Susan Schwalb. For more info, see

PAUL SHANLEY, 1925-2009
Paul Shanley, 83, long-time publisher of Art in America during its heyday in the 1970s and Ď80s, died on Sept. 2 after a brief illness. A handsome man with an infectious chuckle who loved to dish "off the record," Shanley could often be seen at art-world events with his wife 52 years, Isobel Shanley, who died last year. At Art in America he shepherded the publication through changes in ownership, launching the popular summer "Annual Guide" issue, a directory of U.S. art galleries and museums. He left Art in America in 1985 and took over the eccentric but much-loved Arts Magazine, serving as its publisher for several years before it fell victim to the economic slump. More recently, in partnership with two of his four daughters -- one, Kate Shanley, followed her fatherís footsteps and is now U.S. ad director for Flash Art magazine, among other publications -- he launched the International Guide to Art Fairs and Antiques Shows. A memorial service is planned for Sept. 13 at St. Lukeís Episcopal Church in Forest Hills Gardens.

contact Send Email