Category Archives: ARTH 115

This is brilliant!

Read anything you can by Philip Kennicott, art critic for The Washington Post. Here he writes about how one might visit an art museum…and really get something out of it!

Philip Kennicott, “The ‘learn one thing’ rule.” Washington Post, 2/4/18, E13.

The series of short articles is about “getting the most” out of your visits to a museum, theatre, dance performance, even a movie. They are all worth reading. If you just want to read Kennicott, scroll down to the Mondrian glasses.

We do this here! Students curate exhibits!

From the New York Times, March 15, 2017.

On College Campuses, a New Role for Students: Museum Curator, b

Students from ARTH 317: Laboratory in Museum Studies, are curating an exhibition on the work of Margaret Sutton (1905-90), New York artist and 1926 graduate of Mary Washington. Opening is April 19, 2017.

https://nyti.ms/2mL3QxY

Conservators in the spotlight

A new trend in art conservation has conservators working in public places…not in the conservation lab, but in galleries where the public may watch. Is this good for the art? “The public” aren’t wearing lab coats, nor are they always in small groups (more people = more humidity = more damage to works of art). One could also ask, Is it good for the public? Chemicals are (sometimes) involved in conservation. Here is an article from The New York Times that provides interesting background.

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Showtime at the Musée d’Orsay: Watching Varnish Dry

Paris flooded and the Louvre threatened

How does a museum plan for a massive flood? The Louvre has had to face a potentially devastating flood this summer. Their decision to close to the public while staff prepared the collection for removal to higher levels was necessary.

New York Times, “Crowds Are Out, Crates Are In as Louvre Takes Flood Precautions,” b

Artworks were packed to be moved from the Louvre Museum’s storeroom to the exhibition halls, where they would be less vulnerable to rising flood waters. Credit Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

Artworks were packed to be moved from the Louvre Museum’s storeroom to the exhibition halls, where they would be less vulnerable to rising flood waters. Credit Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images.

Lapis lazuli…still coveted for its beauty

Some of the finest lapis lazuli comes from Afghanistan. This was true in the early modern period when European artists wanted an exquisite blue for painting the Virgin Mary’s cloak, and it continues to be valued by artists and collectors today. The mining of this gemstone and mineral in Afghanistan today, as well as buying objects made from Afghan lapis lazuli, is not straightforward, as this article from The New York Times points out.

“Greed, Corruption and Danger: A Tarnished Afghan Gem Trade,” b

An Afghan businessman checked lapis lazuli at his shop in Kabul in March. Afghanistan has long been one of the chief sources of lapis lazuli, a prized gemstone associated with love and purity. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

An Afghan businessman checked lapis lazuli at his shop in Kabul in March. Afghanistan has long been one of the chief sources of lapis lazuli, a prized gemstone associated with love and purity. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

Lapis lazuli at a shop in Kabul. The lapis trade was valued at about $125 million a year in 2014. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

Lapis lazuli at a shop in Kabul. The lapis trade was valued at about $125 million a year in 2014. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

Saving Art from ISIS

Maxwell Anderson, former director of the Dallas Museum of Art and former chair of the Association of Art Museum Directors’ Task Force on Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art, writes persuasively here of AAMD’s decision to establish a system for protecting art in times of war, terrorism, or natural disaster. Called the “Protocols for Safe Havens for Works of Cultural Significance from Countries in Crisis,” the protocols offer a structure for American museums to “shelter works of art at risk.”  According to Anderson, “The protocols are a major first step. They mean that, for the first time, American museums are taking an active role in protecting cultural heritage under threat from Islamic State.”

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Maxwell Anderson, “How to Save Art from Islamic State,” Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2015.