Thursday, March 30, 2006

all about museums in the New York Times

Arts - Museums - New York Times

Their annual special on museums is so chock-full of information, I haven't had a chance to read everything. There are more than a dozen articles on museum topics ranging from antiquities to Alcatraz to kids' view of Jackson Pollock paintings. It's an excellent gathering of articles about a lot of the current issues for museums today.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Teens, Art, and Museums | Red Studio: A Site for Teens

The link goes to a website set up by the Museum of Modern Art that is both by teens and for teens. It includes teens' interviews with artists, an upcoming art contest, polls, art activities, and so forth. It looks like a good tool for art teachers, and may serve as a good prototype for other museums who want to work with teens and technology.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It's a beautiful day at LRMA....

...perfect for cranes, utility trucks, and mechanical excitement. If you've ever wondered what it takes to keep 22,000 square feet of museum air conditioned in the brutal Mississippi summer, these pictures may answer that question. Our 20+ year old chiller wore out on us, and we got a new one today. Here's the crane:

Here, the old chiller is coming up and out:

Here, the new one is going in:

In an effort to save money, Todd, Mark, and George offered to do the moving themselves instead of using the crane:

Here you see just how big these things are: the old one on the way down, the new one on the flatbed to the right:

This is merely one component of our complex HVAC system, which is designed to keep the artworks in optimal conditions. Artwork will last longest if kept at about 65 degrees, and about 50% humidity, which is why most people find museums a bit chilly.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Spring Break Art Break: picture goodness

This Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the education department held art classes each morning and afternoon. The morning classes were for K-3rd grade, afternoon for 4th-6th grades. The students made collage and watercolor landscapes, visited the museum for a tour, and made self-portraits in pastel and watercolor.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Spring Break Art Break has Sprung

and as of now, all classes are full to the brim.

We'll post pics of the fun later this week.

why study art history?

I read this on a listserv and reproduce it here because I think it's important to remember why we do what we do, why museums and art history are important:

"Off the top of my head, here's why I think one should study art history:

1. To become an educated person
2. To achieve visual literacy
3. To have historical referents for making sense of the world around you
4. To translate visual information into verbal form (both spoken and written)
5. To understand the past in the way historical peoples saw their cultures or wanted their cultures understood
6. To make sense of the present realities, one must be aware of how those realities became the way they are
7. To know how to research visual art to integrate our society with the distant and recent past
8. To comprehend how visual imagery communicates information
9. To understand the mechanisms of culture
10. To make the connections afforded by a liberal arts education and its different disciplines
11. To provide the reasons for societies to cohere
12. To recognize the motivations behind creativity
13. To become a better person

Anne Swartz, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History
Savannah College of Art and Design

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spring Break Art Break!

There are still a few slots available for next week's Spring Break Art Break kids' classes!

click here for info:

Spring Break Art Break

Or just call the museum at 601-649-6374 and ask for Pam, who is in charge of registration.

Revising Art History's Big Book: Who's In and Who Comes Out? - New York Times

Revising Art History's Big Book: Who's In and Who Comes Out? - New York Times

The link goes to an interesting article about the state of the Big Art History Books that art historians use to teach introductory classes. Gardner, Janson, and Stokstad are the big three, and many professors use them as a foil, to "teach against." Everybody can read a survey book and be outraged that some person or some painting was "left out."

The Stokstad is my favorite, and not just because Marilyn Stokstad teaches at my alma mater and is a lovely person. I like it because it is inclusive, wide-ranging, and includes important historical and social information. Growing up in American culture, I have no basis for understanding a West African sculpture from the 18th century, so I need context. Likewise, kids raised in Protestant churches need context in order to understand art made in Catholic societies. And people raised in traditional Asian culture need historical and social context in order to understand Western art. Stokstad does a fine job of covering these bases without getting too far away from the artworks.

Having said that, I'll have to have a good hard look at the forthcoming Janson to see how it works.

*the New York Times requires registration to read articles, but it's free and can be anonymous.