Morning Links: Government Shutdown Edition

The museums of the Smithsonian on the National Mall.


Rest In Peace

Jack Whitten has died. The news was confirmed by his gallery, Hauser & Wirth. He was 78. Alex Greenberger has an obituary at ARTnews. “Some artists use their long careers to perfect a style by creating variations on a theme, while others try to keep up with the times by continually doing something new. Jack Whitten was the latter kind of artist,” Greenberger writes. “By the end of his life, he had experimented with formalist painting, abstract portraiture, and even mystical visions of current events.” [ARTnews]

This weekend, the furniture designer and artist Wendell Castle died in Scottsville, New York, reports Steve Orr in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Castle had been the artist in residence at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was 85. [The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle]

Charm City

Like the rest of the country, the city of Baltimore has spent the last few days in thrall to the Google Arts & Culture app. Baltimore Sun reporter Mary Carole McCauley put an image of Charm City mayor Catherine Pugh through the app’s match-finding machine and, voila, there was a woman from Diego Rivera’s 1955 work, In the Market of Papantia. When you try to find a match for Baltimore royalty John Waters, you just get a painting of John Waters. [The Baltimore Sun]

And in downtown in Baltimore, the Mini Hip-Hop Museum has popped up in a space next to S.A.N.D. Gallery. Wesley Case, the Contact Reporter for the Sun, went to E. Baltimore Street to check out how the founder Milly Vanderwood assembled an impressive collection of rap history ephemera and artifacts, and hopes to someday have the funding to open it as a permanent space. [The Baltimore Sun]

While Edgar Allen Poe may be most associated with the city of Baltimore—he’s beloved enough in the town that they named the local NFL team after one of his poems—he was raised in Richmond, Virginia, and that is where the Edgar Allen Poe Museum was built. The team at Richmond’s CBS station, WTVR, was on hand last weekend to witness what was dubbed the “world’s largest Edgar Allen Poe celebration.” There was even birthday cake. [WTVR Richmond]

On Furlough

Ryan P. Smith of Smithsonian magazine reports that, despite the government shutdown, Smithsonian museums will remain open today, using leftover funds from past years. Beyond that, it’s unlikely that the institutions can be able to stay operational without funding. The National Zoo also faces closure unless the shutdown can be ended. [Smithsonian]

The closures aren’t limited to Washington, D.C., reports the staff of CBS News New York. Smithsonian-affiliated institutions in Manhattan, including the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum on the Upper East Side and the National Museum of the American Indian in the Financial District, will also close after today. [CBS New York]

WDTN in Dayton reports that military museums such as National Museum of the U.S. Air Force are already closed, and will remain so until a deal is worked out. [WTDN Dayton]

The Country’s Museums

Nowhere is the gaseous element neon more appreciated than in Las Vegas, where it fills tubes to make a glow that helps guide nighttime sin-seekers down the strip. Appropriately enough, the city is home to the Neon Museum, and now the much-loved institution is expanding. Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Steve Bornfeld says that, with visitors up nearly 60 percent since opening five years back, a second space will open across the street this spring. [The Las Vegas Review-Journal]

For 1stdibs, the writer Ted Loos sits down with Frank Stella to discuss his career, and his survey currently on view at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. The museum’s director, Bonnie Clearwater, is also on hand, and things get off to a pretty marvelous start. “It will be the largest one-man exhibition ever held in the state of Florida,” Stella says. “Is that true, or did you just make that up?” Loos asks. “I made it up,” Stella admits. “And who’s going to contest us? Frank?” Clearwater says. Respect all around. [1stdibs]

In an opinion column for the San Francisco Chronicle, Charles Desmarais brings up what he feels is a disturbing proposal regarding museums deaccessioning work in order to eliminate entry fees—a proposal made in the same newspaper earlier this month by the professor Michael O’Hare. In O’Hare’s mind, it makes sense to compare museums to national parks, and Desmarais sums up that argument thusly: “Let’s make admission free to certain national parks. We’ll just sell off other parks, perhaps the ones with the lowest attendance, and use the proceeds to fund the popular spots for a while.” He goes on to vigorously cut down this line of thinking. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

Brooklyn Galleries

Ian Mohr of “Page Six” stopped by The Journal Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to check out the opening of the first-ever solo show by Leelee Kimmel. It was attended by, as Mohr puts it, “big-time artists Jamian Juliano-Villani, Rita Ackermann and Joe Bradley.” Kimmel—who, under her maiden name of Leelee Sobieski, was a young actress who starred in flicks such as Deep Impact—had work impressive enough at her first show that mega-collector Leon Black snapped up a painting. [Page Six]

Clearing, in Bushwick, opened two shows yesterday: an exhibition by Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel entitled “Rosa Aurora Rosa,” and a solo show of new work by Hannah Levy. [CLEARING]

Market Matters

There’s an art fair somewhere nearly every week of the year, and this week it’s in sunny California, where Art Los Angeles Contemporary will take over the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica starting this Thursday. The fair’s official site has all the info on which exhibitors will be setting up booths, and how to snag a ticket to check it out. [ALAC]

The European Fine Art Fair, or TEFAF, has decided to end its annual art market report after 18 years, writes Henri Neuendorf at Artnet News. The report had been the industry standard, but in 2016 longtime author Clare McAndrew decamped to start a similar study for TEFAF’s arch nemesis, Art Basel. [Artnet News]


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