Articles on Museums

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Projects funded by the Australia Council sustain a much larger network of arts organisations, including university arts museums. Ted Snell/Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

Australia Council changes will also affect university museums

The transformation of arts funding in Australia won't just affect grant recipients, it will disrupt the ecology of the arts – as the potential impact on university art museums demonstrates.
What do collections of dead butterflies do for their still-living counterparts? Andrew D Warren

Why we still collect butterflies

The dead animal specimens that comprise natural history collections contribute a lot toward scientific understanding of their still-living counterparts – and those that have gone extinct.
A detail from the north wall of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry. Diego Rivera, 1932. Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit, 1932: when Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo came to town

A new exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts highlights a controversial mural commissioned during a period fraught with social unrest.
Drawings by male warriors – like Black Hawk’s ‘Dream or Vision or Himself Changed to a Destroyer or Riding a Bufalo Eagle (1880-1881)’ – often depicted visions perceived during meditation and fasting. New York State Historical Association, Fenimore Art Museum/John Bigelow Taylor

From the Great Plains, Native American masterpieces emerged

A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates 2,000 years of artistic achievement.
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…

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