Visual Arts

Theater Symposium: Who Wrote Shakespeare?

June 3, 2009
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By Caldwell Titcomb Starting in 1769 serious questions have been raised as to whether William Shakespeare (1564–1616) of Stratford-upon-Avon actually wrote the plays and poems attributed to him. For some years the true author was claimed to be Sir Francis Bacon (1561–1626). So far, at least 60 persons have been put forward as the rightful…

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The Collective Stupidity: The Museum Bubble

May 27, 2009
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By Peter Walsh Almost overlooked in the wider, world financial crisis this spring is the precipitous decline, and perhaps impending fall, of the American art museum. All of a sudden, the money just isn’t there for them any more.

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Visuals Arts: Collection Mobility, The High Risk of Life On the Road

April 24, 2009
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Is it more harmful for a museum item to be crated and shipped off to a loan exhibition or left hanging in its own gallery or storage facility? Do we see the scars of damage once they have been repaired? Ronni Baer in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, December 2007 By Gary Schwartz “I’m…

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The Collective Stupidity: Reverse Curve for the Arts

March 15, 2009
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By Peter Walsh “There’s a gude time coming.” —Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy (1817) Americans, always attuned to the prices and classes of commodity, assume that the arts fall into the expensive luxury category: an ornament to good times but destined to wilt, like a hot house orchid, under the cold wind of recession. History…

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Visual Arts: The Humanist Meets the Exorcist

February 21, 2009
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by Gary Schwartz Albrecht Dürer, Erasmus, 1521 The recently closed exhibition Images of Erasmus at the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam rightly introduced Hieronymus Bosch into Erasmus’s sphere. Here are some unsuspected truths – well, at least possible truths – about the two of them.

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The Collective Stupidity: Architecture as Prophecy

February 4, 2009
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by Peter Walsh “Architecture is to make us know and remember who we are.” —Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe (1989) Harvard University’s Shad Hall: Can a building predict the future? Twenty years ago, the completion of Shad Hall, on the Harvard Business School campus, created a stir. Even for Harvard, the place was shrouded in deep secrecy.…

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Visual Arts: L’art, c’est moi

January 3, 2009
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by Gary Schwartz A few months ago a good friend, someone whose judgment I could not respect more highly, asked me to help convince the Rijksmuseum not to give Damien Hirst the run of the place with his exhibition “For the love of God.” She was understandably incensed by the whole business. That the cast…

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Visual Arts: Where were you in May 1968?

November 5, 2008
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By Gary Schwartz This question was asked by a Dutch newspaper last spring. At the time I did not get around to answering it. What they were after were experiences related to the students and workers revolt in France and other revolutionary manifestations of the Spirit of 68. My first reaction was that I was…

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Visual Arts: The Caress of Civilizations

October 12, 2008
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by Gary Schwartz It is not too late to commemorate the 400th anniversary, earlier this year, of one of the great inter-civilizational gestures of early modern times. On January 3rd, 1608, a delegation of Discalced Carmelite monks, arriving in Isfahan from Rome via Kraków, presented to the Moslem Shah Abbas I one of the most…

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Visual Arts: Sanitizing Black Is Beautiful

July 28, 2008
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By Gary Schwartz One in so many Western works of art contains an image of a person we would call black. The phenomenon attracts relatively little attention in art history. The Menil Foundation went after it seriously, in a project now inherited by the Warburg Institute. An exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam offers…

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