Here’s a look at what’s in the limelight this week in national arts news:
Denver Art Museum Revises Wall Labels In Native American Art Galleries
After a seven-months-long overhaul, the Denver Art Museum reopened its Native American wing this weekend with a revolutionary difference: Each wall label has been re-worded so that the work of art it references is attributed to an individual artist, rather than to that artist’s tribe. The change of policy is part of a conscientious effort on the part of curators to treat the works as art rather than ethnographic relics of the culture they come from. The New York Times reported that “the Denver museum has now embraced attribution more completely and comprehensively than any other institution.”
Striking Detroit Symphony Musicians Offered A Revised Contract
Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians have been on strike for the past four months. Last week, they were offered a revised contract that stipulates they must respond by this Friday, February 11. The implication of not reaching an agreement by that deadline, which was imposed by the DSO’s board of directors, is that the Symphony’s 2011-2012 season could be in jeopardy.
- Read the article in the Detroit News.
Google Launches Virtual Museum Tour
February 1 Google announced on its blog February 1 that it was launching the Google Art Project, which it’s calling “a new tool… [that] puts more than 1,000 works of art at your fingertips in extraordinary detail.” Using the same technology as they did for Google Earth, designers have virtually reconstructed seventeen major museums in such detail that a viewer can get even closer to each painting than he might in a real-life museum, where a security guard would be sure to ask him to step back from the wall. Museums that are currently available via the Google Art Project include The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA in New York, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Tate Britain & The National Gallery in London, Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Other Internet News
Two new online projects allow music lovers to access and interact with music virtually: As a multi-year project will eventually include more than 8 million Web pages, the New York Philharmonic is in the process of developing a digital archive, which will be available to the public online. And the Johnny Cash Project allows fans of that legendary singer to create portraits of him which, compiled in an ever-evolving order, become a music video for his song “Ain’t No Grave.”
Colbert Portrait To Be Sold At Auction
In a bizarre intersection of popular and high art, the auction house Philips de Pury & Company announced February 4 that a portrait of the comedian Stephen Colbert will be up for auction in March. The painting, “Portrait 5: Stephen(s),” was completed on television during an episode of The Colbert Report. Colbert invited several artists, including Andres Serrano and Shepard Fairey, to alter the piece: Serrano drew a mustache on Colbert’s likeness, while Fairey added his signature stencil, which reads “OBEY.” The levity with which the piece was constructed may increase its value; proceeds from the sale will benefit DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that benefits classrooms.