museums and galleries

Fragment of wallpapered drywall, with hole in the center that reveals curlicued strips of colored paper inside.

Cut Up Cut Out

I have a soft spot for paper. While my hand was injured, I kept sane by sewing papers together with a sewing machine, and this show at Bellevue Art Museum, about all the ways you never thought to use cut paper, really spoke to me. I’ve been thinking about how to expand my paintings as

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Diego Rivera poses next to small artwork.

365 Days of Art: December 26 – Diego Conquers NY

December 26, 1931 New York art critic Henry McBride describes Diego Rivera as “the most talked-about man on this side of the Atlantic.” At this point, he’s installed as artist-in-residence at special studio space within MoMA, creating a total of eight “portable murals” that are exhibited for five weeks from December to January. The exhibition,

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365 Days of Art: December 21 – Donors Raise $68M to Keep Painting in Philly

December 21, 2006 A group of Philadelphia donors raises $68,000,000 to keep the painting The Gross Clinic by favorite son Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia. A month earlier, the painting breaks auction records (highest price for an Eakins painting, and highest price for an American portrait) when it sells jointly to the National Gallery of Art

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Two women bundled in winter clothes carry picket signs and march on sidewalk.

365 Days of Art: December 12 – Artists Protest Whitney to Demand More Female Inclusion, Cornell Hosts a Party

December 12, 1970 Artists with police whistles protest at the opening of the Whitney Annual because of the few women the Whitney historically exhibits. Faith Ringgold recalls: In the fall of 1970 Poppy Johnson, Lucy Lippard and I, formed an ad hock [sic] women’s group to protest the small percentage of women in all past

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365 Days of Art: November 30 – National Portrait Gallery Censors AIDS Film

November 30, 2010 The National Portrait Gallery removes a film from the first-ever gay portraiture exhibition, Hide/Seek, after receiving complaints from a Catholic organization and members of Congress. The video, created by David Wojnarowicz, features footage of ants crawling on a crucifix, and is made in the heyday of the AIDS epidemic. It is a

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Organically abstract geometric shapes, some of which appear to have eyes, seem to cavort with more geometric shapes and lines.

365 Days of Art: November 10 – Frida and Diego Arrive in SF, NY Times Reports on Nazi Looting, Gorky Exhibits at the Whitney, Hockney Faxes an Artwork

November 10, 1930 Frida and Diego arrive in San Francisco, where he has mural commissions to work on. November 10, 1943 The New York Times reports “Unique Collection of Art Treasures Taken Away by Germans in Italy,” referring to the trucks carrying artwork for Goring’s birthday party. November 10, 1936 Arshile Gorky’s painting Organization is

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Framed by abstract sculpture, Peggy Guggenheim and Jackson Pollock stand in front of one of his paintings.

365 Days of Art: November 9 – Pollock’s First Solo Show Opens, John Meets Yoko at Gallery, Emma Thompson’s Journey Opens in NYC

November 9, 1943 Jackson Pollock’s first solo show opens at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery. He has not yet painted the dripping works for which he’ll be most famous. November 9, 1966 John Lennon meets Yoko Ono at her art opening at Indica Gallery in London. The work above impresses Lennon; after climbing

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Pollock stands on a large canvas unrolled in a field, among paint cans, crouching and concentrating, holding a paintbrush.

365 Days of Art: November 5 – Pollock Moves to Long Island, Obama Portrait Joins NYC Exhibition After Presidential Election

November 5, 1945 Jackson Pollock moves from New York City to Long Island, to a farmhouse in Springs. This is a shocking move at the time, since NYC is the center of the art world. The yard and barn where he keeps his studio become the backdrops for some of the most iconic Pollock moments:

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Colored head of King Tut gazes into distance.

365 Days of Art: November 4 – King Tut’s Tomb is Discovered, Florence Flood Damages Millions of Artworks

November 4, 1922 Howard Carter discovers King Tut’s tomb. November 4, 1966 The Arno River floods Florence, killing 113 and damaging millions of masterpieces. The scramble to deal with the sheer volume of works, as well as the race against time to avoid further damage by mold, leads to new developments in art conservation.

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Glass-fronted box contains cockatoo and watches on display.

365 Days of Art: November 3 – Joseph Cornell Writes a Polite Letter, Matisse Dies, 100 Trucks Full of Confiscated Artwork Head to Germany

November 3, 1938 Joseph Cornell writes a letter to an employee named Iris Barry at MoMA’s Film Library. He’s a very polite correspondent: Dear Miss Barry, Between the increasing activity of the Film Library and an injury I sustained on my vacation a few weeks ago, it hasn’t been very convenient for me to speak

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Ellen DeGeneres, posing in clown makeup, photographed by Annie Liebowitz.

365 Days of Art: October 30 – Hide/Seek Opens

October 30, 2010 Hide/Seek, the first major museum exhibition to explore themes of sexual identity in portraiture, opens at the National Portrait Gallery. More than 100 works of varying media by artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Jasper Johns, Annie Liebowitz, and Andy Warhol, are on display. The show not only explores the contributions of LGBTQ artists,

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A free and minimal line drawing of a tired-looking woman with her head in her hand.

365 Days of Art: October 27 – Egon Schiele Completes Last Artworks, Lichtenstein is Born, Pinacoteca Vaticana Opens

October 27, 1918 Egon Schiele completes his final two artworks, drawings of his wife in bed with the Spanish flu. She dies the next morning, as did 20 million others in this worldwide epidemic. Schiele himself dies three days afterwards, also of the flu. October 27, 1923 Roy Lichtenstein is born. October 27, 1932 The

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Stark shadows delineate the curving architecture of the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, against a crisp sky.

365 Days of Art: October 21 – Delacroix Writes to Brother About Patriotism, Guggenheim Museum Opens, Warhol Invites Self to Party at Leather Bar

October 21, 1830 Eugene Delacroix, who has been working on Liberty Leading the People, writes to his brother: My bad mood is vanishing thanks to hard work. I’ve embarked on a modern subject — a barricade. And if I haven’t fought for my country at least I’ll paint for her.” October 21, 1959 The Solomon

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Confident Peggy Guggenheim reclines on modern rocking chair in sleek-looking art gallery with paintings on wall behind her.

365 Days of Art: October 20 – Peggy Guggenheim Opens Art of This Century Gallery

October 20, 1942 Peggy Guggenheim opens the Art of This Century art gallery at 30 W. 57th Street in New York. A press release calls gallery a “research laboratory for new ideas” that will “serve the future instead of recording the past.” Guggenheim specializes in the work of European modernists and Surrealists like Picasso, Mondrian,

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365 Days of Art: October 14 – Marshall Telegram to Eisenhower Shows Concern for Artworks

October 14, 1943 During World War II, it’s common to lodge Allied soldiers in cultural institutions. While many of them are emptied of their portable treasures, stationary pieces like frescoes, mosaics, even hidden artworks, remain. For example, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples provides bunking quarters, as well as a pharmaceutical ward where flammable alcohol

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365 Days of Art: September 27 – Munch Museum Celebrates Return of Damaged Paintings

September 27, 2006 Munch’s The Scream and Madonna go on view in a special five-day exhibition to celebrate their return to the Munch Museum–damages and all–after being stolen by masked gunmen two years earlier. Before conservation begins, 5,500 people view the damaged paintings.

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365 Days of Art: September 24 – Barnes Foundation Announces Plans to Move

September 24, 2002 The Barnes Foundation, possibly the best collection of Post-Impressionist works in the world, announces a petition to move from Merion, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia. The need for a petition, and the reason this request rocks the art world so thoroughly, is because collector Albert C. Barnes has left his collection of personal favorites

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An abstract painting with light shapes against dark, hard-edged background shapes.

365 Days of Art: September 15 – Gorky Marries; David Struck by Hammer

September 15, 1941 Driving back home to New York from an exhibition in San Francisco, Arshile Gorky and Mougouch (Agnes Magruder) are married in Nevada. September 15, 1991 A 47-year old art vandal attacks Michelangelo’s David with a hammer. While declaring that a 16th-century painter’s model has given him orders to do so, he breaks

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Vivid paintings on columns and ceiling of long gallery in Vatican Museum.

365 Days of Art: September 14 – Hitler Issues Orders to Commandeer the Vatican’s Artworks; Vandal Slashes a Rembrandt

September 14, 1943 SS General Karl Wolff, Supreme Leader of All SS Troops and Police in Italy, receives the following instructions from Hitler: As soon as possible I want you and your troops to occupy the Vatican and Vatican City, as part of the German counter measures against this unspeakable “Badoglio treachery,” secure the Vatican’s

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Marble statue of David with his slingshot.

365 Days of Art: September 13 – Michelangelo Begins Carving, Childe Hassam Travels to Gloucester, Art Vandal Prepares to Attack, Boston MFA Exhibits Stolen Painting

September 13, 1501 About a month after signing the contract for his first commission, Michelangelo picks up his tools early in the morning and begins carving the statue of David. He will work on it for over two years. September 13, 1900 American Impressionist Childe Hassam arrives in Gloucester, Massachusetts to paint. The area is

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365 Days of Art: September 4 – Thieves Steal 13 Paintings in Montreal

September 4, 1972 Thieves steal 18 paintings from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It is the largest art theft in North America until the Boston Museum of Fine Arts robbery almost 20 years later. They enter through the skylight, tie up the guards and steal a rare Rembrandt landscape (he usually paints portraits), two

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Abstract shapes with some anthropomorphic qualities seem to collide in a friendly way.

365 Days of Art: September 3 – Barnett Newman Protests Police Brutality

September 3, 1968 Protesting police brutality in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention, painter Barnett Newman demands that his painting be removed from an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. America is stunned in front of their televisions, watching cops in riot gear executing “Gestapo tactics on the streets of Chicago,” as Senator Abraham

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Mary lovingly cradles Jesus' limp body in her lap.

365 Days of Art: August 27 – Michelangelo Takes 1st Commission, Krakatoa Colors Sky for The Scream, and Guernica is Displayed for 1st Time in US

Another big day in the history of art! August 27, 1498 At age 25, Michelangelo receives his first big commission: a statue of Mary and Jesus for a cardinal. He selects the Carrera marble himself from the quarry and carves the statue from that single piece of stone. The 450 ducats he’s paid make him

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Two masked thieves carrying paintings to getaway car in front of Munch Museum.

365 Days of Art: August 22 – The Scream is Stolen by Masked Men

August 22, 2004 Gun-wielding men in masks raid the Munch Museum in broad daylight and steal The Scream (one of several versions),as well as Munch’s Madonna. About seven months later, a suspect is arrested, but the paintings are still missing. For ten months, the museum is closed for a overhaul of security systems. The city

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Woman seated in front of misty landscape with mysterious smile and folded hands.

365 Days of Art: August 21 – Mona Lisa is Stolen, but Theft Goes Unnoticed

August 21, 1911 The Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre, but it takes 24 hours to notice that it is missing. What in the world?? Yes, guards, and visitors too apparently, believe that the famous painting has been officially removed for photographs or other legitimate museum business. The same visitor has to report his

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Diane Arbus photo of two young, female identical twins.

365 Days of Art: July 26 – Three Events About Women in the Art World: a Suicide, a Congressional Debate, and a Job Interview

Three events today, about women in the art world: July 26, 1971 Diane Arbus commits suicide. She is a photographer, known for her black-and-white, usually head-on photos of folks that might make other folks cringe: a man in rollers and make-up, presumably half-way through his transformation to drag queen (this photo is spat on by

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Peggy Guggenheim wears huge sunglasses while posing with her dogs beside the Grand Canal in Venice.

365 Days of Art: July 13 – Peggy Guggenheim Arrives in US with Plans to Open Art Gallery

July 13, 1941 Peggy Guggenheim arrives in the US from Europe with plans to open an art gallery. This simple-sounding plan leads to the creation of Art of This Century, probably the most influential art gallery ever, with her artists becoming commercially successful, and introducing the fine arts into pop culture. She is known for

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A portrait of John Salisbury, circa 1820.

365 Days of Art: July 9 – Portrait Subject Describes Sitting for Gilbert Stuart

July 9, 1823 Stephen Salisbury, from Worcester, Massachusetts (holla!) writes home to his son about having his portrait painted by Gilbert Stuart at Stuart’s studio in Boston: Your aunt &c. has prevailed on me to Sit before Stuart for a likeness, which he has accomplished to their Satisfaction, as well as my own.” His wife

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Expressive, abstract painting by Willem de Kooning.

365 Days of Art: July 1 – De Kooning Begins Teaching, Lennon’s 1st Exhibition Opens, and A Crowd Protests Mapplethorpe’s Cancellation

July 1, 1948 Willem de Kooning begins teaching at Black Mountain College, an experimental art college near Asheville, North Carolina. Famous colleagues include Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham. July 1, 1968 John Lennon’s first art exhibition, with Yoko Ono, entitled You are Here, opens in London. July 1, 1989 On the

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Yayoi Kusama's dozens of phallus-shaped, polka-dotted sculptures on ground, reflected in multiple mirrors and repeated again and again.

365 Days of Art: June 27 – 15th Anniversary Exhibition Closes at Yokohama Museum of Art

June 27, 2004 The exhibition And or Versus: Adventures in Images, which is the 15th anniversary exhibition of the opening of the contemporary/modern Yokohama Museum of Art in Yokohama, Japan, closes. It features work by artists as varied as Salvador Dali, Richard Long, Yayoi Kusama, and Andy Warhol. The image above is from Kusama’s solo

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Several suitcases are placed near each other; one is opened to reveal it's packed with blocks of cheese.

365 Days of Art: June 11 – Dieter Roth Exhibition Receives Humorous Review

June 11, 1970 Dieter Roth’s first US exhibition receives a tongue-in-cheek review in the International Herald Tribune, which says that the gallery owner “will sell it to anyone with $21,000 and a bad cold.” The reason for the bad cold is that the exhibition stinks. Literally stinks. Inspired by an artist whose work Roth thinks

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Framed by abstract sculpture, Peggy Guggenheim and Jackson Pollock stand in front of one of his paintings.

365 Days of Art: May 31 – Art of This Century Closes After Five Influential Years

May 31, 1947 Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery, Art of This Century, closes its doors. Peggy wanted to return to Europe, and confided that the gallery business had completely tired her out. Although it was only open for five years, I’d have to say it became one of the most influential art institutions ever by bringing modern

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A painting of a stylized goldfish against a dark background, by Paul Klee.

365 Days of Art: May 30 – Three Exhibitions Close at MoMA

May 30, 1937 Three exhibitions close at MoMA: Twelve Modern Paintings, featuring Paul Klee, Joan Miro, and Jean Arp, Prehistoric Rock Pictures, and a Cezanne show. Director Alfred Barr made comparisons between all three and saw the Modern and Prehistoric shows as companion pieces, sharing elements like primitive figures, scratched surfaces, and distorted scale and

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Leonardo's painting of Virgin of the Rocks.

365 Days of Art: April 27 – Arbiters to Leonardo: After 23 Years, Finish the Painting!

April 27, 1506 Arbiters in Milan, who have gotten involved in a dispute between Leonardo and a patron, rule that Leonardo is required to finish the commissioned Virgin of the Rocks within two years, and will be paid 200 lire. Notoriously slow on his follow-through, he had accepted the commission 23 years earlier with no

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A painting of a sorrowful Virgin Mary.

365 Days of Art: April 21 – Serial Art Vandal Throws Acid at Five Dürer Paintings

April 21, 1988 Hans-Joachim Bolhmann, who we’ve met before this year, throws two bottles of sulfuric acid on five paintings by Albrecht Dürer in Munich’s Alte Pinakothek. The injured works include Lamentation for Christ, the Paumgartner Altar and Mater Dolarosa or Virgin of Sorrows. The Virgin of Sorrows is hit directly in her face, and

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A painting of two Tahitian women in a tropical location.

365 Days of Art: April 1 – “Evil” Gauguin Painting is Attacked

April 1, 2011 A museum visitor at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC leapt at Paul Gauguin’s painting, Two Tahitian Women, tried to tear it from the wall, and pummeled it with her fists while yelling that it was “evil.” Luckily, the painting was protected by plexiglass, and the woman was quickly apprehended.

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A painting of a stylized goldfish against a dark background, by Paul Klee.

365 Days of Art: March 29 – Serial Art Vandal Strikes for First Time

March 29, 1977 At the Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hans-Joachim Bohlmann damaged the painting The Goldfish by Paul Klee by spraying sulfuric acid on it. This was the first of many attacks on artwork in Bohlmann’s career as a serial vandal; he damaged over 50 artworks between 1977 and 2006, causing millions in damage, and untold hours

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Abstract Expressionist painting that is mostly red, with blue and yellow striped accents.

365 Days of Art: March 21 – Vandalism of Newman Painting Leads to Botched Conservation and Lawsuits

March 21, 1986 Barnett Newman’s Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III was slashed open with a boxcutter, by an unbalanced painter who did it in the name of art. Sort of. Here’s the story. By purchasing the painting, the Amsterdam Museum of Modern Art (Stedelijk Museum) opened itself up to controversy. To put

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A trio of people sing or play piano together in the drawing room of a home.

365 Days of Art: March 18 – Thieves Steal 13 Works in Biggest Art Theft EVER

March 18, 1990The largest art robbery in history occurs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where 13 paintings valued at $100 million are stolen. Disguised as Boston police officers, the two thieves claimed to be responding to a call. In Boston, in the early morning hours of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, this sounded

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Ants crawl on a crucifix.

365 Days of Art: March 17 – Hide/Seek Opens at Tacoma Art Museum

March 17, 2012 Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture opens at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington. This show, which originated at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, is the first major museum exhibition to focus on gender and sexuality. It drew international attention not only for this reason, but also because of

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Greek marble statuary; some are headless.

365 Days of Art: March 13 – Elgin Marbles and Their Poor Conservation Are Subject of Letter

March 13, 1858 The Elgin Marbles, sculptures taken from the Acropolis in Athens, and their poor conservation were the subject of a letter, written by the superintendent of the “moving and cleaning the sculptures” at the British Museum: I think it my duty to say that some of the works are much damaged by ignorant

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Iconic van Gogh painting of swirling constellations and stars over a night landscape.

365 Days of Art: March 12 – Bequest of Art Collection Sets Foundation for MoMA

March 12, 1931 Art collector Lillie Bliss dies and bequeaths her art collection to found the Museum of Modern Art, with one condition: that the fledgling museum is established financially by the end of three years, or it will forfeit the artworks. Exactly three years later, on March 12, 1934, after raising $600,000, MoMA proves

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Loose, surrealist painting by Arshile Gorky.

365 Days of Art: March 6 – Gallery Forgets to Mail Invites So Almost No One Attends Gorky’s Opening

March 6, 1945 The exhibition Arshile Gorky opens at the Julien Levy Gallery, featuring paintings created during the previous year, including How My Mother’s Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life. André Breton, who helped Gorky title the paintings, writes a glowing foreword for the catalogue. Here’s the kicker: because Levy had forgotten to mail out

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A newspaper headline proclaims "Defaced Picasso."

365 Days of Art: February 28 – Picasso Painting Vandalized in Vietnam War Protest

February 28, 1974 Tony Shafrazi spray-painted Picasso’s painting Guernica, which hung in the Museum of Modern Art, with the words “KILL LIES ALL.” Luckily, the paint was easily removed due to heavy varnish on the painting’s surface. Shafrazi was protesting the announcement, the day before, of the release on bail of U.S. Lieutenant William Calley,

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A Toulouse-Lautrec print advertises the Moulin Rouge.

365 Days of Art: February 25 – Paper Reports Donation of Toulouse-Lautrec Collection

February 25, 2011 The Globe and Mail (Toronto) reported the donation of a collection of lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The collection was one of the largest in the world that was privately held, and belonged to a New Yorker by the name of Ross Scott. He’d died two years previously, willing the collection of

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Portrait of an 18th-century man.

365 Days of Art: February 21 – Connecticut Detectives Solve Case of 9 Slashed Paintings

February 21, 1945 The New Haven, CT police department announced that the case of nine slashed paintings at the Yale Art Gallery and Peabody Museum in Cambridge, MA was solved. Edward Morse was taken into custody and voluntarily committed himself to Middletown State Hospital after confessing to the vandalism. Morse had slashed the portraits with

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Colored head of King Tut gazes into distance.

365 Days of Art: February 17 – King Tut’s Burial Chamber is Opened

February 17, 1923 King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber is opened by archaeologist Howard Carter. The brouhaha of the traveling Tut exhibition in the late 70s (which was revived with a less newsworthy sequel just a couple of years ago) was a big part of my childhood. I desperately, desperately wanted to see it at the Field

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Liberty carries the French flag and a musket as she leads the French people forward, over various casualties on the battlefield.

365 Days of Art: February 7 – Delacroix Painting Vandalized by 9/11 Conspiracy Theorist

February 7, 2013 Eugène Delacroix’s painting Liberty Leading the People is vandalized at the Louvre-Lens Museum by a 28-year old woman who wrote “AE911” on its surface with a permanent black marker just before closing time. She was immediately confronted by a security guard and a visitor, and arrested. The graffiti apparently refers to the

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The Met's first building.

365 Days of Art: February 6 – Metropolitan Museum of Art Trustees Formulate Plan for Construction of First Building

February 6, 1871 The Board of Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art discussed the plan that led to the construction of the Museum’s first building. At this point in time, the Met had few artworks, no permanent home, and no staff. The Trustees, along with the recently established American Museum of Natural History, decided

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Sculpture of a bison with sharp, raised spine and easygoing attitude, walking toward viewer

365 Days of Art: February 5 – Ice Age Art (No Artifacts!) Exhibited at British Museum

February 5, 2013 Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind opened at the British Museum. The exhibition presented artwork (not archaeological artifacts) between 10,000 and 40,000 years old, created during the last Ice Age. The distinction between art and artifacts represented humans’ arrival at complex thought, as illustrated by an embrace of abstraction, symbolism,

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An autochrome photo portrait.

365 Days of Art: January 30 – Special Five-Day Photo Exhibition Closes to Keep Works from Fading

January 30, 2011 A special five-day exhibition of never-before-exhibited autochrome photographs, using low-oxygen enclosures to keep them from fading, closes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some background: what are autochromes? They’re photos made from a process that was developed in the early 20th century, transparent color images on glass that must be viewed either

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The Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.

365 Days of Art: January 27 – The Renwick Gallery Opens in Washington DC

January 27, 1972 The Renwick Gallery, whose collection is devoted to American crafts, design, and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present, opens in Washington, DC as a branch of the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum). It’s situated very close to the White House in a National

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Marble statue of David with his slingshot.

365 Days of Art: January 25 – Leonardo and Botticelli Are Consulted as to Location for Michelangelo’s David

January 25, 1504 Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and other citizens and artists are consulted as to the best location for Michelangelo’s David. After two years of work by Michelangelo, Florentine authorities had to acknowledge that the more than six-ton statue couldn’t be placed on the roof of the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Fiore,

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Picasso's sculpture stands in downtown Chicago.

365 Days of Art: January 22 – Museum Visitor Accidentally Damages a Picasso. Oops!

January 22, 2010 A visitor at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art accidentally fell into The Actor, a 105-year-old painting by Pablo Picasso, causing a 6-inch gash in the canvas. (It was a student doing research for a college class. Oops! As a teacher leading field trips, this was my nightmare). It has since

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A long-horned animal skull and a white flower float over a desert landscape in a Georgia O'Keeffe painting.

365 Days of Art: January 21 – First Georgia O’Keeffe Retrospective Opens at the Art Institute of Chicago

January 21, 1943 The exhibition Georgia O’Keeffe Paintings 1915-1941 opens at the Art Institute of Chicago. It is O’Keeffe’s first museum retrospective. By the way, January 21 is a slow day in art history. Thank God for Georgia O’Keeffe at my favorite museum, or I would’ve been stuck talking about Jeff Koons today. Yecccch.

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A painting of 17th century people gathered at night.

365 Days of Art – January 13: Rembrandt Painting Attacked with Knife

January 13, 1911 A discharged Navy cook named Ligrist attacked The Night Watch by Rembrandt, one of the most popular paintings in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. He used a shoemaker’s knife, but luckily could not cut through the thick varnish on the painting. (Painters, take note!) This was the first, but not last, time this

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President Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy and others stand underneath the Mona Lisa, on special loan in the United States.

365 Days of Art – January 8: Mona Lisa, on Loan, Unveiled in US

January 8, 1963 The Mona Lisa, on loan from the Louvre, is unveiled at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in a star-studded opening reception. The exhibition was made possible almost entirely due to the efforts of Jackie Kennedy, the First Lady. The Kennedys, and especially Jackie, brought a well-known love of art

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A painting vandalized with a spray-painted dollar sign.

365 Days of Art – January 4: Malevich Painting Vandalized

January 4, 1997 Russian-born performance artist Alex Brener added his own touch–a spray-painted green dollar sign–to Kazimir Malevich’s painting Suprematisme while it hung in the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam. This was his comment on the “corruption and commercialism” of the art world. According to Brener, “Malevich wanted to change to the world

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Robert Henri painting of New York City.

The First Thing to Know About Robert Henri Is How to Pronounce His Name

I recently made a presentation to docents at the Tacoma Art Museum about Robert Henri. I thought it would be easy, since his The Art Spirit, a compilation of charismatic lectures to his students, propelled me through many of my painting classes in college. The first thing I learned is that I’ve been pronouncing his

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The Abe Lincoln Debacle: Ethics Commission Rules It Was, In Fact, a “Debacle”

By popular demand, I’ll close out the saga of the Abe Lincoln paintings which were refused exhibition by the Slater Museum, against its own contest rules. The Ethics Commission of the City of Norwich convened hearings to hear testimony against defendant Vivian Zoe, Director of the Slater Museum, and sponsor of the contest to replace

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Wore Out Art Supplies

Every time I throw away an abused, no-longer-serviceable paintbrush, I think of the Reverend Howard Finster: “LIFE:TIME ART-SUPPLIES WORE OUT BY HOWARD FINSTER” Just look at all those dried-up Sharpies! He staple-gunned every single one he ever used–along with every pencil nub, every squeezed-out tube of paint–all around the walls of this little outdoor building.

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Maura McGurk’s Art Blog Featured on CTMuseumQuest.com

CTMuseumQuest.com, the website devoted to exploration of each and every one of Connecticut’s museums, has featured Maura McGurk’s art blog in its recent article about the Norwich Arts Center Gallery. The article discusses the Abraham Lincoln portrait contest. The website has identified over 650 museums and historical sites in Connecticut (not bad for the third-smallest

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A line of artists march down a city sidewalk, each while carrying their large portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Maura McGurk Blog Featured in The New London Day

Maura McGurk’s blog regarding the Lincoln portrait contest sponsored by the Slater Museum is quoted extensively in The New London Day. The Day reveals the backlash among the contest entrants, the artistic community, and citizens of Norwich, CT regarding so-called “unethical” practices in the portrait judging. Lincoln artists cry foul, by Claire Bessette, The Day

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Museum Reneges on Promise to Exhibit All Lincoln Portraits–What Would Honest Abe Say?

This Abraham Lincoln portrait, painted by Norwich, CT local son John Denison Crocker, was ripped from its frame in City Hall in 1994. The Slater Museum and the City of Norwich sponsored a contest with a purchase prize for the best copy of the original portrait. Although I’m normally an abstract painter, I thought it

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Paradise Gardens

I should have met the Reverend Howard Finster in 2000. He used to sit on his front porch in Summerville, GA once or twice a week, at a scheduled time, to make himself available to his fans. That included banjo players looking to jam, young art students, fans of the musical group REM…I didn’t realize

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