Recent links of note:
“Where Did All the Patrons Go?”
Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal
The golden days of the art patron may be over, Terry Teachout writes. In the early twentieth century, the support of museums and other cultural institutions was seen as a status symbol: Andrew W. Mellon, for example, single-handedly funded the construction of the National Gallery of Art and furnished it from his own collection in the 1920s. But younger “new money” donors have for decades been moving toward humanitarian causes, acting on what Teachout called in 2013 a “utilitarian view of charity” similar to that of Bill Gates, who said that “to build a new wing for a museum rather than spend it on preventing illnesses” was “slightly barbaric.” More recently, a younger generation of potential donors has been hesitant to make charitable gifts at all, and big-name patrons have struggled to keep even established institutions running smoothly; the planned renovation of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall after a $100 million gift from David Geffen in 2015 is currently stalled because of insufficient funding. This lack of voluntary support for the arts presents the greatest danger for small cities and institutions that, without the national reputation of organizations like the New York Philharmonic, thus depend on a limited donor base that appears to be eroding across the country.
Roberta Smith, The New York Times
The New York–based painter Robert Ryman died in his Greenwich Village home last Friday. Ryman was considered a Minimalist for his almost exclusive use of white pigments and his experiments with the square format, an “encyclopedic” variety of painting materials, and unconventional wall hangings. In 1952, the twenty-one-year-old Nashville native moved to New York as an aspiring saxophonist and took a side job as a museum guard at MOMA, where he was impressed by the “nakedness” of Mark Rothko’s Abstract Expressionist paintings. He began to paint “to see what the paint would do, how the brushes would work,” and though his first choice of color, green, gave way to white, this pragmatic, quasi-mechanical approach guided his career, linking his work to the Conceptual and Process movements of his time. For more, read Daniel Kunitz’s Gallery chronicle about a 2002 exhibition of Ryman’s paintings at PaceWildenstein in Chelsea.
Nancy Kenney, The Art Newspaper
On Thursday, the Morgan Library & Museum in New York announced a $12.5 million project to restore its exterior. The first such renovation in the building’s history (the interior was expanded in 2006) will include replacing the roof, fixing ornamentation, and improving lighting, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. In a phase of the project that will be finished in fall 2020, the respected British landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan will add gardens and seating space that will allow visitors to enjoy the Morgan’s facelift from outdoors, as well.
From our pages
“A girl in a bag, etc.”