March 11, 2013 | A few weeks ago the Connecticut congressman Joe Courtney registered dismay at one of the more significant departures from historical fact inSteven Spielberg's Oscar-bound Lincoln. To dramatize the narrow margin by which the Thirteenth Amendment passed, the film's screenwriter Tony Kushner shows two members of the Connecticut delegation voting against the abolition of slavery. As it happened, all four voted in favor of the amendment. Kushner replied, arguing for his dramatic license (and pointing out that he had changed the names of the actual figures so as not to impugn them). He went on to observe that despite its four enlightened representatives the Nutmeg State ("the Georgia of the North") was soft on slavery, giving his fictionalized vote the whiff of a deeper truth.
Kushner seemed unreasonably peeved at being called into question by a mere congressman, which is too bad as he does have a point: sometimes you need the conventions of fiction to arrive at historical fact. A l…» More
January 23, 2013 | In the 1950s Robert Moses, New York's bully-boy developer (a familiar type in these parts), had a suggestion for citizens who objected when he razed their neighborhoods: "Go to the Rockies," he told them, implying that city life is bulldozers, cranes, and scaffolding and to resist them is to resist being urban and modern.
Moses notwithstanding, modern life in New York has plenty of allure but its pleasures do often seem to me tinged with sadness. The new captivates us even as its undertow is the loss of so many buildings, shops, and streetscapes that were once familiar and dear. For someone caught in the crossfire of these conflicting emotions, certain city landmarks acquire symbolic weight. The Park Avenue Armory, site this month as it has been for many years of the Winter Antiques Show, is, for me, one of them. And not just because it is huge, fairly old...and still here.
The armory strikes me as a wonderful amalgam of history and modernity, open to transformation and car…» More
November 16, 2012 | We are an extended family here at Antiques and we are mourning our most valued member-the man who gave Americana its voice and our office its warmth.
There will be a celebration of Wendell's life at the Winter Antiques Show on January 28, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. It will be a joyful occasion. This was a joyful man.
In addition, a memorial fund in Wendell Garrett’s honor has been established at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. For further information or to make a contribution, please contact Matthew Thurlow, Major Gifts Officer, Winterthur Museum, 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE 19735 firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-888-4878.» More
November 6, 2012 |
Not long ago I planned to have some fun in these pages by running a sly taxonomy of the current television shows about old things-from the somewhat shopworn Antiques Roadshow down through Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Market Warriors and the rest of the Roadshow's offspring. I expected to spare only Storage Wars, which I find the sunniest of guilty pleasures and the most amusing.I know the argument: however demented, these shows bring welcome attention to the field. I don't really buy it. Even the Roadshow, despite its virtues, strikes me as guilty of deforming our appreciation of art and decorative arts by always building to its main event-the "Land sakes alive!" moment routinely squeezed from pilgrims whose treasures have been appraised for those really big sums. Works of art have always been commercial objects, of course, but they are crucially more than that. What a show like Market Warriors does is to sev…» More
September 4, 2012 | Our country's regional wars may be over, but in the 1960s when the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) began, they were very much alive. Southern writers for instance were still working through the story of loss while northerners remained dubious about the value of southern culture. MESDA took a different path. The idea that the South did not need to justify itself to the world was a winning strategy for the museum back then, and it continues to be so as MESDA pushes beyond coastal high style into the backcountry of the South as described here by Laura Beach. Nothing undermines a prejudice more effectively than simply ignoring it.
Elsewhere in the South the High Museum of Art in Atlanta has shown another kind of moxie by forming fruitful partnerships with museums in Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, France, and even New York. Closer to home, as Stephanie Cash explains, the High has taken Hale Woodruff's powerful Talladega murals, restored them, and, along with Tall…» More
Pickle Dish, American China Manufactory (Bonnin and Morris), Philadelphia, 1771-72. Soft-paste porcelain with lead glaze; height 4 3/16, width 4 1/2» View All