Wednesday 17 December 2014

Assorted Links, mostly bad news

Picture: Britannica
Deeply depressing news about Chartres Cathedral 'restoration'. Pure vandalism. Artwatch and NYRB coverage is good.

It's bad enough that public libraries have turned their back on books and seek to become community centres where people can look at internet porn. Now universities are ditching books too. Sad news from Barnard College. Over the past few years I've been able to pick up cheap copies of lots of scarce but important books that have been deaccessioned by public and academic libraries. My gain doesn't make me feel any better about the public loss.

Do keep reading Elginism on the Elgin Marble loan. 

Frick director Ian Wardropper just doesn't get his institution. Wall Street Journal article talks about the need to expand because they have so much more stuff and do so many more exhibitions - in other words, they need to get bigger so they can compete with the Met and become just like every other museum in the world. The Frick just doesn't need to put on endless (and often trivial) exhibitions, and shouldn't keep acquiring works of art that don't stand comparison with the founder's collection. 

Laughable news release from the UK's culture ministry about the export block on a Roman statue. The statue in question was an integral part of one of the greatest rooms in the country - Robert Adam's brilliant entrance hall to Syon House (pictured above). It is in my view one of the most important work of art to 'save for the nation' in a generation, not because of its intrinsic artistic value (high though it is), but because it is a fixture from an architectural masterpiece. But the moronic press release thinks the highest possible praise is to make vague connections between this Roman masterpiece and, er, Henry Moore. It's an inherently stupid comparison. The connection between Moore and Roman sculpture is pretty tenuous, but there is no link at all with this particular work. And it's especially depressing that they can't think of any way to justify an ancient work of art for its own value, but only in relation to trendy modern art. All history is obliterated, reduced to footnotes to fashion. 

And while I'm on the theme of morons, the EU is proposing to ban cadmium pigments. Do they think artists eat their paints? More here, including link to petition (for what it's worth).  

Finally an interesting Guardian piece on consolidation of internet news, squeezing smaller sites and making blogs like this 'economically irrelevant'. Oh well, better get back to the day job then...

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