Archive for February, 2011

Proposal to sell UIMA Pollock halted

February 22, 2011

According to the Daily Iowan, the “Pollock Bill” is dead. The so-called “Pollock Bill” (see previous post) was introduced by Rep. Scott Raecker on February 9th to the Iowa House Appropriations Committee in an attempt to balance the state’s budget through the forced sale of the University of Iowa Museum of Art’s prized painting (Jackson Pollock’s Mural). The Iowa House was scheduled to vote on the bill Monday afternoon (February 21) but Raecker withdrew his bill for this legislative year because it was too controversial to win enough support to pass.

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Sale of Pollock painting to fund scholarships?

February 22, 2011

Ohio State Representative Scott Raecker recently introduced a bill in the Iowa House which would force the University of Iowa Museum of Art to sell a prized painting in their collection for the purpose of funding scholarships. The painting, Jackson Pollock’s Mural, is valued at $140 million and is the centerpiece of UIMA’s collection. According to Raecker, “the core function of the university is to educate students” and this proposed sale “could provide a $5 million a year endowment. It could let 750 to 1,000 students get a full-ride scholarship each year.” The Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Association of Museums have issued a counter-argument noting that this proposed sale violates a core value within the museum community to not treat accessioned works of art as disposable financial assets. This is not the first time a proposal to sell Pollock’s Mural has been offered: in 2008 a University of Iowa Regent suggested selling Mural to cover expenses incurred during a flood which destroyed many of the campus structures. (source: Huffington Post, 2/22/11)

iPhone war photos: photojournalism or photography?

February 16, 2011

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Damon Winter’s ‘A Grunt’s Life‘, a photo essay capturing the daily life of US troops in an Afghanistan war zone with the use of the photographer’s iPhone, has won recent praise and an international photojournalism award. It has also stirred up some surprising controversy. The flap is not over the content — standard
photojournalism — or Winter’s use of an iPhone — also not unusual for photojournalists.  Rather, journalists and photojournalists are questioning whether Winter’s ‘fauxlaroids’ are telling the ‘truth. Winter relied on the iPhone app Hipstamatic which applies visual filters resulting in color-shifting and some distortion to create a moody atmosphere. For more on this debate about authenticity and photojournalism, go here, here and here.

13th Annual Sacramento Free Museum Day

February 3, 2011

This Saturday, February 5, twenty-six Sacramento area museums will be offering free admission for the 13th Annual Sacramento Museum Day. Museum Day, a Sacramento cultural tradition, invites all members of the community to experience the Capital City’s incredible wealth of art, history, science and wildlife at numerous participating museums at no cost. The event is sponsored by the Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM) and supported by Umpqua Bank.

Participating museums include: Aerospace Museum of California, California Automobile Museum, California Foundry History Museum, The California Museum, California State Military Museum, California State Capitol Museum, California State Indian Museum, California State Railroad Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Discovery Museum Science and Space Center, The Don and June Salvatori, California Pharmacy Museum, Fairytale Town, Folsom History Museum, Governor’s Mansion State, Historic Park, Heidrick Ag History Center (Woodland), Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park, Museum of Medical History, Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic, Park, Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento History Museum, Sojourner Truth Multicultural Arts Museum, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, Wells Fargo History Museum (Old Sacramento and Downtown locations).

Collection spotlight: Unreported Heritage News

February 2, 2011

In my effort to keep up with events in Egypt, I ran into Unreported Heritage News: Reporting on the heritage stories that are not in the media — yet. Owen Jarus, a correspondent for Heritage Key, a multimedia website that publishes history and archaeology articles, uses his blog to report on unreported or breaking world heritage news. A sample of his reportage includes his conversation with Dr. Gerry Scott from the American Research Center in Egypt on the crisis in Egypt and its impact on conserving Egypt’s cultural heritage; the discovery of a Greek coin from 210 BCE marking an eclipse in ancient Syria; and a study of a 3800-year old tablet from Larsa, Iraq revealing the business dealings of a tycoon.
A big thanks to my friends at UCSB’s Image Center for directing me to this great blog.

Egypt’s antiquities during mass protests

February 2, 2011

National Museum at Tahrir Square

While it is difficult to keep up with events in Egypt, according to the Associated Press (February 1), Egypt’s museums and antiquities are for the moment secured. Zahi Hawass, antiquities minister in Mubarak’s new Cabinet, reported that looters broke into the National Museum (Egyptian Museum) on Saturday, ripped the heads off 2 mummies and damaged 10 artifacts before they were caught and detained by soldiers. Fears of looting has resulted in the Egyptian military being dispatched to other archaeological monumenSoldiers in the National Museumts as well. Al Jazeera video stills, photographs and the latest updates of the damage to the museum and its antiquities are available at Hypoallergic: Sensitive to Art & its Discontents.

The latest from Associated Press can be viewed here.

Google’s ‘Art Project’

February 1, 2011

Google has partnered with several major international museums to present a new tool that allows users to explore galleries and view artworks online in extraordinary detail. The project is in its infancy but already 17 museums have agreed to participate and submit high resolution images.

Street View of 'The Ambassadors' at the National Gallery

Among the museums contributing are the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Gemäldegalerie (Berlin), the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA (New York City), Tate Britain and the National Gallery (London), Rijksmuseum and the van Gogh Museum (Netherlands), the Museo Reina Sofia and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), the Uffizi (Florence) and the Hermitage (St. Petersburg). Viewers can virtually explore museums using Google’s Street View and closely explore and zoom into selected paintings. Google has added a ‘Create an Artwork Collection’ feature that allows users to save views of artworks and build personalized collections with comments that can then be shared with friends. You can discover more at the ‘Art Project‘ website.