May 20, 2014 | It was big news in the museum world when the New York Times reported that a rare exhibition of Donatello, considered by some to be the finest sculptor of the Renaissance, was coming to New York City. But the venue for Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces From Florence Cathedral (on view from February 20 through June 14, 2015), will not be the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the National Gallery in Washington, but rather the tiny Museum of Biblical Art (MOBiA), on Broadway and 61st Street. The exhibition will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the museum's founding, and the palpable incongruity between the show and its surroundings will be like having the Rolling Stones show up for some sweet sixteen party.
The Museo del Duomo in Florence is currently undergoing renovations and the major museums that were approached with the exhibition felt that they would not have enough time to mount it properly. And so it comes to MOBiA, one of the worthiest if leas…» More
May 9, 2014 | Visitors approaching the grand front entrance of Norfolk, Virginia's Chrysler Museum of Art on its reopening on May 10 could be forgiven for not realizing that a major transformation has taken place. So seamlessly have the flanking wings been enlarged and the gardens in front of them so surreptitiously moved forward that it is only when inside that the impact of the seventeen-month renovation and expansion becomes evident. In its new spaces and reconfigured galleries the museum presents a fresh look at its collections, with its longstanding strengths in glass and European and American painting and sculpture as well as newer areas, such as contemporary art.
Within a broadly chronological progression of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts the curators have created several provocative "interventions": in a gallery devoted to seventeenth-century Italian art, a 1954 Robert Richenburg Pieta so abstract that it takes some looking to discern the image of the dead Chri…» More
May 6, 2014 | The subtitle of the Met's Charles James exhibition, "Beyond Fashion," is suitably vague, hinting at an exalted realm where even the most extravagant fashion superlatives will be inadequate. Then, too, the phrase is meant to suggest that what lies beyond fashion must inevitably be art. Certainly James's designs have been so described almost from his first decade as a couturier in the 1930s: "Charles James is...the world's best and only dressmaker who has raised it from an applied art form to a pure art form," no less a personage than Cristóbal Balenciaga declared in a compliment that has become more or less routine.
Evening dress in black silk-rayon velvet, red silk satin, brown silk faille, and black silk crepe by James, 1946. © Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of Arturo and Paul Peratto-Ramos.
The Met will display some seventy-five of the master's designs, all instantly recognizable for their dramati…» More
April 25, 2014 | Some people have the good fortune to find a unique path that leads to discovery and is enriched by sharing. For them life can be an endless adventure, laced with exploration and learning, younger people to mentor, and a broadening circle of those who share their interests and become close friends. Brock Jobe, this year's recipient of the ADA Award of Merit, is one of those people
A love of New England furniture and an endless appetite for learning have been central to Brock Jobe's career. His work has ranged from regional furniture studies, building collections, organizing exhibitions, and writing and editing to masterminding the recent eleven-museum collaboration titled Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture. He has been heard to say "I live and breathe furniture," and he is never happier than when crawling under a piece to study the details of its construction and feel its history.
When Brock was a first year student at Winterthur, the legendary Charles Montgomery retu…» More
April 18, 2014 | One of the noblest buildings on Manhattan's Upper East Side is 903 ParkAvenue, which commands the northeast corner of the avenue at 79th Street. As it happens, this building makes two compelling claims upon your attention. First of all, it was completed exactly one century ago by Warren and Wetmore, who gave the world Grand Central Terminal a year earlier. It is thus about fifteen years older than most of the other, more typical buildings on Park Avenue, and this fact is expressed in a certain assertiveness in the cornice and the other details, a certain vigor in the volumes, that remind one more of the residential palaces of Central Park West than of those on Park, which tend, when all is said, to be simple boxes with a few ornaments slapped on.
The building's second point of interest is that much of its third floor--though unsuspected by most pedestrians at street level--is occupied by Questroyal Fine Art, which was founded nearly forty years ago, and is still being run, b…» More
by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton» View All