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
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.…» More
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 …
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…
March 8, 2016 |
The American Revolution has a hit on its hands with Hamilton, the hip-hop musical currently lighting up Broadway. “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story,” the cast sings in its sly retooling of our republic as the story of Alexander Hamilton’s rise through the imperial city of New York (“History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen/to be in the greatest city in the world...”).
But wait. Wasn’t Philadelphia the cradle of liberty and our first capital? Wasn’t it in Philadelphia that Hamilton orchestrated the consolidation of federal power, and was it not, moreover, Philadelphia where his busy libido came to grief and scandal? Yes, but... Hamilton loved New York and lobbied hard for it as the temporary capital; Philadelphia was his third or fourth or fifth choice, so I guess you can say that at this late date he finally got his way. He usually did.
So we will stand up for the lesser-known glories of Philadelphia in this issue (timed in part to its April antiques sh…» More
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All