The gallery season has yet to begin, so editorial emphasis this week has been devoted to forthcoming museum restaurants. Both the year-and-a-half-old Museum of Arts and Design and the Guggenheim have loftily titled new boutique restaurants. The former gets The Robert (named for the developer Moses), designed by Memphis acolyte Johanna Grawunder, who created a canopy with hot-pink Lucite panels illuminated from within via LED. The Guggenheim’s Wright (the name needs no explanation) was not to be outdone. It’s designed by architect Andre Kikoski, and artist Liam Gillick has created a site-specific sculpture comprising planks of color-coated aluminum.
DESIGN FOR THE WRIGHT AT THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM.
In spite of renewed enthusiasm for museum infrastructure, this week saw a slew of closed institutions. The economy was to blame. The Fresno Museum announced closing and already laid off much of its work force. The rest will remain on to assist in closing. Portland’s Velveteria Museum, the only museum of velvet in the world, will close after four niche years of operation. Not a financial decision, but a museum of greater scope and magnitude: Following a government dispute, the Musee de Luxembourg is set to close after its present exhibition. Also not a museum: The sixth edition of Art LA was canceled, ostensibly replaced by Art Contemprary LA, the brainchild of one of its former directors. ArtLA President Stephen Cohen says the fair will be back.
Unrelated to the Velveteria Museum but related to other closings if you take the Trickle-Down theory of economics seriously: in 2009 auction prices of works by Hirst and Koons fell 50%. It is unclear what relationship that figure has to actual, behind-the-scenes transfers. Many highly valued works are not going to auction in this climate. Instead, collectors have gone to lunch.