From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

Editor's Letter

July 11, 2016  |  

It has been something of a long goodbye, my planned departure from these pages, and yet it has taken all of five months to arrive at the right successor. Now we have—Gregory Cerio, an old friend as it happens, whom you will meet on the last page of this issue. We are all pleased. We know Greg as someone with an unyielding faith in the arts of the past and a keen sense of how to give them a lively presence today. 

And so to this, my last outing as editor of ANTIQUES and our annual (mostly) folk art issue, always a favorite of mine. When I started here in February of 2008 I was looking for ways to inject some joy into that sour era of financial collapse and cultural dismay. Folk and outsider art certainly showed me one inviting avenue. I have come to value the way they have liberated art history, opening it to everyday life, relaxing our approach to the sublime in museums, private collections, and especially in this magazine. Pop art did something of the same thing, but folk a…» More

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From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

Editor's Letter, May/June 2016

May 16, 2016  |  Glenn Adamson joins us this month as editor at large with an interesting mandate you can read about below. Glenn was most recently director of the Museum of Arts and Design. Before that he was head of research at the V&A, and curator of the Chipstone Foundation.

The Magazine ANTIQUES: In your column you will think through difficult matters that confront the arts just now, beginning with the problem of ivory. What other issues might interest you?

Glenn Adamson: What interests me most about the column is its timeliness. My plan is to keep an eye on the morning paper, and see what objects from the past come to mind. Right now the refugee issue feels urgent, as does the Black Lives Matter campaign. So those may inspire my next two columns. But I’m also keeping an open mind. 

TMA: Is the column meant to be political?

GA: Yes, but not in a partisan sense. My goal is to find a middle way through the oppositional politics of our time. Historical artifacts are multi valent, textur…» More

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Current & Coming | By Elizabeth Pochoda

The Yale Center for British Art Reopens

May 11, 2016  |  

The Library Court of the Yale Center for British Art, following its recent reinstallation. Photograph by Richard Caspole.  

 

Traditional architecture can age gracefully but nothing is more dispiriting than modernism gone to seed. That may be especially true of Louis Kahn’s work because Kahn hid nothing; it was part of his bravery, and his ethics, to put every trick and technique on view, exposing it all with as much light as his walls could contain. If you revere his architecture as I do, you want the fit and finish of his final building, the Yale Center for British Art, which reopens on May 11 after an elaborate conservation project, to live up to the architect’s exceptional honesty by giving you his bravery unfiltered, undiluted, and with all of the serene thrills of 1977. And so it has.

 

Louis Kahn standing in front of the Yale Center for British Art under construction, in a photograph taken in February 1973. Yale Center for British Art, Institutional Archives.  

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The Market | By Elizabeth Pochoda

Mount Vernon Comes to Freeman's

March 9, 2016  |  Despite its dainty name the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is not an outfit to be trifled with. Nor is it one to do anything by half measures. Founded in 1858, it is comprised of twenty-seven members, each representing a state in the union at that time, who approached and still approach the project of preserving George Washington’s estate with an almost military rigor. Mount Vernon was virtually empty when the association was formed; the members set about furnishing it by having the representative from each state adopt a room. In 1858 these representatives were the wives and daughters of powerful politicians, jurists, and cultural figures, and thus well positioned to locate and donate important objects. Alice Mary Longfellow, for instance, daughter of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, located George Washington’s desk and brought it back to the estate, where it remains today. 

Mount Vernon Ladies Association Council of 1884. All photographs courtesy of the Mount …

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From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

The Fabric Workshop and Museum

March 8, 2016  |  At the moment, Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum has a national reputation though it is less well known around town. In one respect it is a little like its founder, the late Marion “Kippy” Boulton Stroud, who was both bold (and bossy) but surprisingly self-effacing. Unlike the Rosenbach or the Barnes, to name two of the city’s other idiosyncratic museums, FWM is something of a high-wire act, an ongoing experiment in the very definition of what this institution is and can be.

 

That openness should help FWM survive the demise of Kippy Stroud. You see it everywhere, starting at the classy gift shop near the entrance, where Tracey Blackman, the shop’s director, draws you into conversation while dispatching employees to do repairs, checking on meetings, and describing the shop’s artist-designed ties, napkins, hand-bags, and ceramics. You get the sense that she might even hondle with you if you couldn’t come up with the necessary cash. Tracey is improvising. Ever…

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[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi

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