Articles on Museums

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A 1893 self-portrait of the French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Wikimedia Commons

How computer science was used to reveal Gauguin’s printmaking techniques

Artist Paul Gauguin is perhaps most famous for his colorful paintings of Tahitian life. But for years, art historians puzzled over his lesser-known prints: how did he form, layer and transfer images from one medium to another?
Ancient artefacts in the Archaeological Museum in Mosul in northern Iraq have been destroyed by ISIS. Screen shot via YouTube.

ISIS is destroying ancient artefacts to send a message of intent

Ancient artefacts in the Archaeological Museum in Mosul in northern Iraq have been destroyed by ISIS in recent days, behaviour that forms part of a pattern. The question is why.
Graham Beal led the Detroit Institute of Arts through the city’s financial crisis. Les Ward

Rescuing Detroit’s art museum: an interview with director Graham Beal

Graham Beal, the Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, recently announced that he will be retiring after fifteen years at the helm. Two of his achievements particularly stand out. The first is his…
The Forum of Pompeii recreated in Lego. Craig Barker/Nicholson Museum

Lego Pompeii creates less pomp and more yay in the museum

Lego Pompeii was painstakingly recreated from more than 190,000 individual blocks across 470 hours for Sydney University’s Nicholson Museum – it’s the largest model of the ancient city ever constructed…
Neil McGregor’s history of Germany through artefacts such as this 1989 Berlin demonstration banner/placard is extraordinary. © Deutsches Historisches Museum British Museum

Know Germany through the history of its eloquent objects

Unfortunately, I will not see Germany: Memories of a Nation at the British Museum because it closes this weekend – and I live in Perth, Australia. As a result, I am unable to speak about my personal response…
Painter Mark Rothko directs the installation of his murals in Harvard’s Holyoke Center in 1963. Artwork: © 2009 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Elizabeth H. Jones, © President and Fellows of Harvard College

How we restored Harvard’s Rothko murals – without touching them

In 1989, I was a conservation student at the Courtauld Institute in London. During a class on varnish removal, my professor, Gerry Hedley, demonstrated how shining blue light on a picture with yellowed…
Rising costs, the growing difficulty of securing loans, and a lack of curating talent have made the blockbuster exhibition a hazardous enterprise. Barney Livingston/Flickr

What happened to the blockbuster art exhibition?

A blockbuster art exhibition can double the annual attendance of an art museum and pull in significant amounts of money. Bring Vermeer’s The Girl with a Pearl Earring to the Frick Collection in New York…
Gaultier’s clothes adopt elements of satire, visual puns and the ridiculous to critique what we wear. NGV, Brooke Holm

Jean Paul Gaultier: how to make (or bake) a blockbuster

French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier – whose designs are featured at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) until February 2015 – has always had an unsettling relationship with museum fashion exhibitions…
Nola Farman’s The Lift is a key piece of Australian media art history. Photograph: Richard Woldendorp. Nola Farman

Archiving new media art: Nola Farman’s Lift Project

Western Australian artist Nola Farman’s practice has never followed a predictable trajectory. Her major work, The Lift Project (1979-82), is an important and influential contribution to Australia’s new…
A view of the atrium from the Calderwood Courtyard. Zak Jensen

A preview of Harvard’s $350 million art museum renovation

After ten years of planning and six years of construction the Harvard Art Museums opens its doors to the public on November 16. The $350 million renovation combines the collections of three distinct museums…
Immigrant faces from the early 1900s watch Ellis Island visitors pick their way through a crumbling hospital. Aimee VonBokel

Artists’ installations raise questions about abandoned buildings

This fall, French street artist JR and American cinematographer Bradford Young each installed a series of portraits in crumbling New York buildings. The two projects were not coordinated, but together…
Spotswood primary school students build their future city using touch screen technology in Scienceworks’ Think Ahead exhibition. Museum Victoria

Visits to Australia’s museums rise on the back of a digital experience

Visits to websites of Australia’s museums now exceed the number of visitors attending exhibitions, events or programs at actual bricks and mortar museums. Across the 62 museums that make up the Council…
Sol LeWitt left behind detailed instructions that today enable galleries to realise his art for exhibition. Chris Beckett

The digital future of our stuff: approach with caution

Just as we have become accustomed to two worlds of consumption – online and “location-based” retail (what we used to call “shops”) – the concept of museums and galleries as solely physical repositories…
An image of Australian shearers taken on glass plate negative is now preserved in a digital collection. Powerhouse Museum Collection/Flickr

Historic collections could be lost to ‘digital dinosaurs’

Australian’s museums, galleries and other cultural institutions must adopt more of a digital strategy with their collections if they are to remain relevant with audiences. Only about a quarter of the collections…

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