George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann "Boldly Go" @nytimes by Roberta Smith

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann "Boldly Go" @nytimes by Roberta Smith

Rob Fischer’s “Good Weather (Glass House)” is at the Derek Eller Gallery in Chelsea. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times        

ACCORDING to the thermometer as well as the calendar, it’s finally spring, a great time for that urban sport known as gallery-hopping. The options in New York City have never been richer — in some neighborhoods, taking in the galleries requires Olympic stamina.

New York is often described as the former center of the art world, the torch having been passed to Berlin, London, Los Angeles or even New Delhi. Globalism notwithstanding, New York remains the center of the gallery world, and galleries are the bedrock of any truly thriving art scene.

No other city can match its sheer numbers, and such quantity creates its own strange, implicitly democratic form of quality. New York is still the place where the greatest range of art is selected for public view by the greatest number of people — namely art dealers, who operate independent of institutions. Month after month, they mount shows of artists or artworks they believe in for our consideration, and we don’t have to buy anything or pay admission (though occasionally we have to climb on something, after removing our shoes).

A few years ago, it seemed that Chelsea was the Cookie Monster devouring other gallery neighborhoods. But as our five selective reports demonstrate, New York has thriving scenes on the Lower East Side and the Upper East Side. The SoHo scene, once inundated by retail, is showing signs of bouncing back, and putting out new shoots in eastern TriBeCa. Bushwick is blooming in Brooklyn, and in the newly named Donut District an art scene is taking root virtually beneath the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

Our intrepid art critics went and looked. Now it’s your turn.

George Lindemann, George-Lindemann, George Lindemann Jr, George-Lindemann-Jr, Lindemann, Lindemann George, Lindemann George Jr, George Lindemann Junior, Jr George Lindemann, Lindemann Jr George, George L Lindemann,,,,,,,,,,,

George Lindemann Journalby George Lindemann - "An Artist Demands Civility on the Street With Grit and Buckets of Paste" @nytimes By FELICIA R. LEE

George Lindemann Journalby George Lindemann - "An Artist Demands Civility on the Street With Grit and Buckets of Paste" @nytimes By FELICIA R. LEE

ATLANTA — With a lick of wheat paste, a roller and a stepladder, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a painter and illustrator from Brooklyn, introduced herself to the South, in an unusual way.

She plastered a poster with her own face floating above the words, “Stop Telling Women to Smile” on a vacant storefront here, across from a federal courthouse.

Then Ms. Fazlalizadeh and her helpers brushed on two dozen more posters she had created. Images of young faces stared back with wary, defiant and no-nonsense gazes above statements such as “My Outfit Is Not an Invitation,” or “Women Do Not Owe You Their Time or Conversation.”

The words came from Ms. Fazlalizadeh’s interviews with women about “catcalling,” a form of public harassment by men who feel free to comment on their bodies and demeanor. Women around the country have begun to speak out publicly, in blogs, public writing projects and on the websites of anti-harassment groups like Stop Street Harassment and Hollaback!, which document and research the problem. Many women have said they feel objectified and demoralized by sexual comments made on the street, and Ms. Fazlalizadeh has transformed their feelings and images — she photographs the women and then creates pencil drawings — into a major public art project.

Local artists and Georgia State University students and professors helped plaster posters around Atlanta. Credit Dustin Chambers for The New York Times

Local artists, as well as the students and professors from Georgia State University who had invited Ms. Fazlalizadeh here, passed paste, steadied the ladders and even tried their hand at plastering the row of storefronts on Forsyth Street.

Jessica Caldas, a visual artist, watched the posters take form. “Something a lot of people take for granted as normal and acceptable is being shown for the impact it has,” she said.

Street harassment, though, is hard to define precisely and then to challenge legally, experts say. A growing body of research shows that it is a problem affecting where women live, how they get to work, when they go out and how they dress, said Laura S. Logan, an assistant professor of sociology at Hastings College in Nebraska, who has studied catcalling for years.

“The challenge has been there are so many behaviors that can go into street harassment on a continuum, from ‘hey baby’ to contact,” she said. “It also presents a first amendment challenge: Offensive speech is not illegal.” Still, she said, “the negative consequences are pretty well documented: fear, anger, distrust, depression, stress, sleep disorders, shame and anxiety about being in public.” Beth Livingston, an assistant professor of human resource studies at Cornell University, said verbal harassment is “more pervasive than workplace harassment, but there are less policies and laws to deal with it.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said, “very, very recently has started to ask questions about this, to see if this could be a pervasive public health issue or problem.”

Laurie A. Combo, a New York City councilwoman from Brooklyn who is the chairwoman of the Committee on Women’s Issues, said Tuesday that she is calling on the Council to revisit the issue. In 2010 the Council held a hearing on the matter.

“We have evolved as a society, and there is no place for catcalls, lewd gestures, inappropriate language and unwarranted comments about the physical characteristics of a woman’s body,” Ms. Combo said in a comment her office sent by email.

Ms. Fazlalizadeh did not wait for any official notice to start her art project, called “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” It took off about 18 months ago when she began making nighttime forays in her Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood with a brush, roller and her own self-portraits. (Though wheat pasting is illegal in some places, she has never been cited, she said.) She has since moved to Bushwick and interviewed and created portraits of about 15 women. Spread largely by social media, her poster campaign has appeared in Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta. A Kickstarter campaign last fall raised $34,000, allowing her to travel the country to meet women, and create and hang new work. In March, Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland, Calif., began an exhibition of her series, featuring the original graphite-on-paper drawings, oil paintings and photographs.

“This is all about how women’s bodies are consumed and are considered public property for display, comment and consumption,” said Ms. Fazlalizadeh, a soft-spoken, direct and contained 28-year-old from Oklahoma. “Women need to start talking about their daily moments because it’s the smaller stuff that affects the larger things, like rape, domestic violence, harassment in the workplace.”

She has heard all manner of stories, ranging from come-on call outs of “hey baby” to a woman in Los Angeles whose friend was shot for not giving a man her phone number. She has found some broad regional differences: Female drivers in car-centered cities like Los Angeles are often approached by men also in their cars. Women in New York tend to face street harassment.

“New York City is the most aggressive I’ve experienced in the country,” said Zahira Kelly, a 31-year-old visual artist and writer who lives in Savannah, Ga. “I cannot walk down the block without multiple men yelling at me or trying to grab me.” The caption on the poster with her picture reads, “I Am Not Here for You.”                               

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh pasted her self-portrait Friday at the Krog Street Tunnel in Atlanta, known for street art. By Sunday night, the poster had been defaced. Credit Dustin Chambers for The New York Times


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George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Germany Announces Deal on Art Looted by Nazis" @nytimes by By MELISSA EDDY

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Germany Announces Deal on Art Looted by Nazis" @nytimes by By MELISSA EDDY

“Seated Woman/Woman Sitting in Armchair,” by Henri Matisse, is one of the paintings whose ownership is disputed. Credit Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Ma/Getty Images Europe, via Lost Art Koordinierungsstelle Ma

BERLIN — The German government on Monday announced an agreement with Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of a Nazi-era art dealer, that would pave the way for the possible restitution of art wrongfully taken from Jewish owners and held in his private collection for decades.

Lawyers for Mr. Gurlitt, representatives of the state of Bavaria, and the German federal government agreed that a government-appointed team of international experts had one year in which to investigate the works seized from Mr. Gurlitt’s Munich apartment in 2012.

The deal would take effect when the works, which are being held by Bavarian authorities as part of a criminal investigation, are released. It applies to all art of questionable provenance in Mr. Gurlitt’s collection, which has become known as the Munich Art Trove. Authorities said Mr. Gurlitt can prove legal ownership of some of the works.

Reached after several weeks of negotiations, the agreement bypasses the 30-year statute of limitations that applies to stolen property in Germany, and in doing so, represents a willingness by the German government to resolve outstanding claims related to Nazi-looted art works.

The resolution comes months after the public first learned of the more than 1,280 works — including those by major artists such as Picasso, Chagall and Gauguin — held by Mr. Gurlitt. They were seized by Augsburg prosecutors as part of a tax evasion investigation. When the German news media broke the story of their existence last November, it triggered outrage around the world.

Responding to intense international criticism over how it had handled the art, the German government appointed a task force to investigate their provenance with an aim to return looted works to their rightful owners. But questions lingered over what would happen to the collection once it was released to Mr. Gurlitt, if he is cleared of the tax evasion charges. Legal experts also raised questions over whether the state had been justified in confiscating the collection in the first place.

Mr. Gurlitt, 81, who lived a reclusive life seemingly dedicated to defending the modern art collection amassed by his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, during the Nazis’ reign, had initially insisted that all the art be returned to him. He declared in his only interview, with the newsmagazine Der Spiegel, that he would not give any of them up.

But his failing health led a Munich court late last year to appoint a legal guardian, Christoph Edel, to deal with Mr. Gurlitt’s legal, health and wealth affairs. Since then, Mr. Gurlitt has appeared more willing to negotiate with the authorities, leading up to the agreement.

His spokesman, Stephan Holzinger, said Mr. Gurlitt suffers from a weak heart and remains hospitalized following surgery, adding urgency to the need for resolution.

“We are dealing with a top-class team of experts, and given Mr. Gurlitt’s advanced age and frail health, it can be expected that they should be able to complete their work within this time frame,” Mr. Holzinger said.

Monika Grütters, Germany’s culture minister, has made addressing restitution issues a priority since she came into office at the start of the year. She welcomed the agreement with Mr. Gurlitt, saying it would pave the way for an independent center that is being established to streamline and reinvigorate German efforts to handle restitution claims.

“Our experience gained through dealing with the Munich Art Trove will influence the new Lost Art Center,” Ms. Grütters said. Mr. Gurlitt further agreed that images of the works in question could be posted to the government’s database, which includes 458 pictures.

But the agreement also puts pressure on researchers to determine the history of the works. An additional researcher, appointed by Mr. Gurlitt, will be named to the task force when Mr. Gurlitt’s collection is released to him. Officials said they did not know when that would happen.

Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Jewish Claims Conference, expressed concern that the deadline could lead to the art being returned before the works’ history could be clarified. “Returning artwork to Mr. Gurlitt that has not been fully researched would be reprehensible,” Mr. Schneider said. “Either the government has to commit sufficient resources to complete the work within a year, or the deadline must be extended, if it is not met.”

Among the works is a well-known Matisse painting that the descendants of Paul Rosenberg, a French art dealer, said was taken from their family by the Nazis. The picture, “Seated Woman/Woman Sitting in Armchair,” was among the first to be identified by claimants seeking the return of the picture.

But Mr. Gurlitt’s lawyers said Monday that a rival claim had been filed for the painting, forcing the delay of a previously announced return of the work.

“I am legally required to investigate the new claims,” Mr. Edel said.

The new claimant was not identified, and no details were given on the basis of the claim. Representatives of the Rosenberg family declined to comment.

The latest twist in what appeared to be a relatively clear case reflects the challenges that authorities face with disputed works in the collection; cases that on the surface appear to be morally clear cut may run into snags within Germany’s complex legal system.

Government officials hope the agreement reached Monday will help restore confidence in Germany’s image abroad, which has been tarnished by the handling of Mr. Gurlitt’s collection.

“The meaning of the so-called Munich Art Trove reaches far beyond the criminal proceedings in connection with suspected tax evasion,” said Winfried Bausback, the justice minister for Bavaria. “It opens very basic and overarching questions about how we handle such artworks.”,,,,,,,,,, George L Lindemann, Lindemann Jr George, Jr George Lindemann, George Lindemann Junior, Lindemann George Jr, Lindemann George, Lindemann, George-Lindemann-Jr, George Lindemann Jr, George-Lindemann, George Lindemann

"Pritzker Architecture Prize Goes to Shigeru Ban" @wsj by Robin Pogrebin

Shigeru Ban designed shelters after natural disasters in Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Haiti and Japan.

Architecture generally involves creating monuments to permanence from substantial materials like steel and concrete. Yet this year, the discipline’s top award is going to a man who is best known for making temporary housing out of transient materials like paper tubes and plastic beer crates.

On Monday, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban was named the winner of this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, largely because of his work designing shelters after natural disasters in places like Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Haiti and Japan.

“His buildings provide shelter, community centers and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction,” the jury said in its citation. “When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning.”

In a telephone interview from Paris, Mr. Ban, 56, said he was honored to have won, not because the Pritzker would raise his profile but because it affirms the humanitarian emphasis of his work. “I’m trying to understand the meaning of this encouragement,” he said of the prize. “It’s not the award for achievement. I have not made a great achievement.”

Continue reading the main story Slide Show
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The Work of Shigeru Ban

The Work of Shigeru Ban

Credit Roland Halbe/Centre Georges Pompidou-Metz, via EPA

The prize, established in 1979 and viewed as the Nobel of architecture awards, suggests otherwise.

Mr. Ban is credited with challenging traditional notions of domestic space and what it means to have a roof over your head. His Naked House in Saitama, Japan, features four rooms on casters within a house clad in clear corrugated plastic and surrounded by rice fields. He stepped in after the 19th-century Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand was ravaged by a 2011 earthquake, designing a transitional sanctuary fashioned mainly from cardboard tubes.

Asked to create something related to the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct on the Gardon River in the south of France, he came up with a footbridge, using his signature cardboard tubes and recycled paper as a counterpoint to the ancient structure’s heavy stone. And his Curtain Wall House in Tokyo links interior and exterior with white curtains that can be opened and closed.

“His works are airy, curvaceous, balletic,” Michael Kimmelman wrote in The New York Times in 2007. “An heir to Buckminster Fuller and Oscar Niemeyer, to Japanese traditional architecture and to Alvar Aalto, he is an old-school Modernist with a poet’s touch and an engineer’s inventiveness.”

Mr. Ban is also known for somewhat more conventional projects, like the Pompidou Center’s satellite museum in Metz, France (with a roof inspired by a woven bamboo hat) and his entry for the competition to redesign the World Trade Center as part of a team that included Rafael Viñoly, Frederic Schwartz and Ken Smith. Mr. Ban’s Aspen Art Museum, a 33,000-square-foot structure in Colorado with a woven exterior wood screen, is to open in August.

Yet, in a way, Mr. Ban also represents a kind of anti-architecture, a rejection of the aura of celebrity status pursued by many in the profession. In public remarks this month, for example, Mr. Ban took architects to task for not putting their expertise to work for a greater social good.

“I’m not saying I’m against building monuments, but I’m thinking we can work more for the public,” he said in London at Ecobuild, an annual conference on sustainable design. “Architects are not building temporary housing because we are too busy building for privileged people.

Each year the Pritzker goes to a living architect whose work has contributed to humanity and the built environment. Mr. Ban will receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion to be awarded on June 13 in a ceremony at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Previous winners of the prize have included Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster. 

Mr. Ban was originally drawn to disaster relief by the squalid condition of Rwanda’s refugee camps in 1994. “I thought we could improve them,” he said. He traveled to Geneva to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on designing prototype tents with paper poles.

He then turned his attention to the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, designing emergency housing with beer-crate foundations and paper-tube walls. He has since become a familiar presence on the scene of major international disasters, arriving with architecture students to teach them about developing solutions at such sites.

Many of Mr. Ban’s temporary structures have become semi-permanent. In Kobe, for example, shelters meant to be used for three years were used for 10. “Whether they keep it is up to them,” he said. Born in Tokyo in 1957, Mr. Ban studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture before transferring to the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1984. A year later, Mr. Ban established a private practice in Tokyo; he now also has offices in Paris and New York.

Many New Yorkers became acquainted with his work with the arrival of his Nomadic Museum, mobile shipping containers parked on a Hudson River pier to showcase “Ashes and Snow,” a 2005 exhibition of Gregory Colbert’s animal photography that made its debut in Venice.

With Dean Maltz, the architect who runs the American branch of his practice, Mr. Ban has also designed a set of glass duplex penthouses atop the Cast Iron House, a 132-year-old landmark on lower Broadway, and Metal Shutter Houses, a condominium on 19th Street in Chelsea. And Mr. Ban designed Camper’s flagship shoe store on Prince Street, with red-and-white interiors and a vertical garden.

Although such commissions are highly lucrative, Mr. Ban said he is not motivated by the compensation. “I’m not really interested in making money,” he said. “I’m not interested in the design fee.”

“As long as I can make people happy to use my building,” he added, “I’m happy.”

"Without a Drop of Irony" @wsj By Peter Plagens

Agonized sincerity does not sit well in today's art world, where irony—albeit sometimes diluted to the homeopathic strength of just a little too much knowingness—is a standard ingredient. This is especially true in sculpture, as opposed to painting, where assemblage—the cobbling together of disparate parts of varied origin—is the predominant manufacturing method. So what will this city's art cognoscenti make of "Germaine Richier," the Dominique Lévy / Galerie Perrotin show of about 40 cast-bronze sculptures—in an old-fashioned crowded installation—of alternately spiky and bulbous, existentially distorted and distressed human figures, some of them veritable animal or insect hybrids?

'La Tauromachie' (1953). Germaine Richier / 2014 ARS/ ADAGP

Germaine Richier

Dominique Lévy
Through April 12

At the least, we should reopen our aesthetic to the possibility that what might appear, to superficially sophisticated eyes, as mere mawkish modernism is actually profoundly tragic art. And we should recognize that Germaine Richier (who was born in 1902 in Grans, in the south of France, and who died in 1959 in Montpellier) was—with some ups and downs—a great sculptor whose depth, passion and skill we could use more than a bit of today.

After studying at the art academy in Montpellier, Richier moved to Paris in her mid-20s and entered the studio of Antoine Bourdelle, a sculptor of bombastic, classico-modernist public works who also taught Alberto Giacometti and Henri Matisse. From Bourdelle, Richier learned everything there was to know about modeling in clay and casting in bronze. (Traditional craft is visibly operative in even her most contorted pieces.)

She was married twice, the first time—and for more than two decades—to Otto Bänninger, a good but not great Swiss sculptor, and then, for the last few years of her life, to the surrealist poet René de Solier.

Although she had to teach in order to afford to work in bronze, Richier was quite successful, especially after World War II. (She and her first husband were able to sit out the war in Switzerland, returning to Paris in 1946.) From 1948 on, she participated in five Venice Biennales in a row, and her postwar exhibition record includes solos at such prestigious galleries as Maeght and Berggruen, and a 1958 retrospective at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. All of which is to say that Richier was anything but neglected in her day. But her last solo gallery exhibition in New York, at Martha Jackson—where the likes of Christo, John Chamberlain and Sam Francis made their New York debuts—took place 57 years ago. That was just about the time the art world was starting to veer from Abstract Expressionism toward Pop, and heartfelt figuration was increasingly perceived in the quarters that counted as—to be blunt—corny.

Stateside Americans hadn't been as close to the blitzes, bombardments and mass killings of World War II as had Europeans, and our artists didn't feel nearly as strongly as did Richier about the psychological as well as aesthetic problem of reviving, let alone maintaining, the credible presence of the human figure in sculpture. Perhaps she'd already formed the basis for her sculptural vision from a visit to the ruins of Pompeii in 1935, but it was the war that prompted in her an idea of human devolution—from the most advanced mammal back down to bats and birds and, finally, insects. The crouching, frightening "La Mante, moyenne" (1946)—the exhibition titles are in French—is a wonderfully pessimistic example.

Not that Richier didn't have hope. In 1950, she completed a commission for a crucifix for a church in Plateau d'Assy; the sculpture (not in the exhibition) was a stark, almost stick-figure Christ, whose tortured surface came from a verse in Isaiah about "a man of sorrows" having grown up "as a root out of dry ground," without "form or comeliness." The work was denounced politely as "liturgically insufficient" and not so politely as "an insult to the majesty of God," and removed in 1951. It most likely didn't help that the artist was a woman. In 1962, however, the Vatican II reforms decided what was called "the quarrel over sacred art" in favor of the kind of cry-from-the-heart modernism that Richier represented.

The artist's best pieces in this mode, in this show—among at least a couple of dozen very good ones—are "Le Couple peint" (1959), a tall, poignantly thin (from the pressures of the world, not lack of food) man and woman; "La Tauromachie" (1953), a walking, hollow-stomached figure accompanied by a bull's skull; and the startlingly inventive "l'Echiquier" (1959). That last work, which tackles the cliché of the chessboard in modern art, features the king, queen, knight, rook and bishop; each piece displays a different semiabstracted human gesture and—this is Richier's magic—is somehow moving. At Dominique Lévy, the large version consists of a row of figures deftly installed on a low platform; on another floor sits the smaller work, with the figures positioned on a partial chessboard.

In spite of the fact that Richier's art deeply influenced not only such contemporaries as the "geometry of fear" English sculptors Reg Butler and Lynn Chadwick but is a clear inspiration for Louise Bourgeois's giant spiders, she's not had the obviously obligatory major retrospective in Paris. The reason is Giacometti, of whom some unfairly judge Richier to be a variant, if not imitator. While there are similarities, the two artists are as different as, say, Joan Miró and Paul Klee.

Richier is, in bronze, quite an original artist and, in words, one of the better thinkers about sculpture. "What characterizes sculpture, in my opinion," she says in a gallery wall text, "is the way in which it renounces the full, solid form. Holes and perforations conduct like flashes of lighting into the material, which becomes organic and open, encircled on all sides, lit up in and through the hollows. A form lives to the extent to which it does not withdraw from expression."

When London's Tate Modern opened in 2000, in the famous former power plant on the Thames, it installed in a prominent place a painted plaster—and quite joyful—iteration of Richier's "l'Echiquier." London, at least, had it right.

Mr. Plagens is an artist and writer in New York.

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Speculating on Trophy Art" @nytimes

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Speculating on Trophy Art" @nytimes

''Cracked Egg (Magenta)'' by Jeff Koons. Credit Christie's


LONDON — Works by contemporary artists born after 1945 generated $17.2 billion in worldwide auction sales last year, a 39 percent increase from 2012, according to figures just released by the French database Artprice. Last November, a triptych by Francis Bacon sold for $142.4 million, a record for any work of art at a public sale. And a handy new website,, now advises speculators on which hot young artists to buy, sell or “liquidate.”

Inevitably there’s talk of a bubble. Art is a notoriously volatile investment that has suffered spectacular collapses, as seen in the great Impressionist boom and bust of 1990-91, and in 2008-9, when contemporary works by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and other fashionable names halved in value after the fall of Lehman Brothers.

“Things are different now,” said Allan Schwartzman, the New York-based art adviser. “There’s a momentum in the market that’s dictated by the top players. It’s trophy-driven. There are often six competitors for the major lots at auctions, which indicates to me there isn’t a bubble. Contemporary art has never been supported like this before.”

 Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Water-worshipper."

Credit Sotheby's

Others feel uneasy about the record prices being paid by billionaires for big-name trophies, as well as the six-figure sums for paintings by hip 20-somethings like Lucien Smith and Oscar Murillo. But how can a market crash when the people now driving its growth are seemingly rich enough to be impervious to the fluctuations of the wider economy? How do their decisions influence smaller buyers? The art market is rife with speculation at the moment, but does that necessarily mean it’s a bubble about to burst? These are the questions on the minds of many in the art world in early 2014.

“In 2007 we were definitely in a bubble,” said Howard Rachofsky, a Dallas-based collector. “Then after the break it got globalized. The market attracted the attention of international players who are interested in art as another asset and they’ve got huge reserves.”

For instance, last week, at the Art14 contemporary fair in London, Citi Private Bank hosted a gathering of private museums from 16 countries.

The super rich have grown in number and wealth. The world had a record 2,170 billionaires with a combined net worth of $6.5 trillion in 2013, according to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census. In the United States, research from the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that the wealthiest 1 percent has captured 95 percent of the country’s economic growth since 2009. Those with tens of millions in disposable cash are looking for alternatives to the stock markets, be it luxury apartments in London or Gerhard Richter abstracts.

“Enormous amounts of money have backstopped at the top of the system among a relatively small group of people,” said Todd Levin, the New York-based art adviser.

Still, art is a relatively small sector of the global economy — total dealer and auction sales were estimated at 43 billion euros, or $59 billion, in 2012, according to the European Fine Art Foundation (the 2013 figure will be announced next week). It therefore takes only a tiny minority of the world’s richest 1 percent to spend a small proportion of its wealth to have a disproportionate effect on such a niche market.

“Right now, they’ve decided that art is a good place to put their money,” said Mr. Levin, who, on behalf of a client, was among at least five bidders competing for Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” at over $100 million. Unprecedented auction prices have paid for trophies by blue-chip artists such as Bacon ($142.4 million), Richter ($37.1 million), Jean-Michel Basquiat ($48.8 million) and Andy Warhol ($105.4 million) within the last 12 months. Some are questioning the sustainability of this bull market.

“The global art market is currently held hostage by the very top end of the market (works sold above $10 million) as well as the taste and wealth of a relatively small number of individuals,” said ArtTactic, an art market research company based in London, in an “Outlook” report published earlier this month subtitled “A 10-year-old bubble about to become even bigger.” ArtTactic said the apex of the market was dominated by about 150 individuals with the resources to pay $20 million for a single work of art.

“These prices are being driven by excess cash,” said Anders Petterson, the founder of ArtTactic. “The wealthy get a lot of social prestige out of buying these works. But if prices rise too much, this clique could lose interest and move on to something else, and if they lose interest, a lot of other people would lose interest as well.”

For the moment, high prices are acting as a stimulus program for wealthy sellers at the expense of auction-house profits. Last week, Sotheby’s announced net annual income of $130 million, or 2.1 percent, on record total sales of $6.3 billion in 2013. (Equivalent profit figures are not available from Christie’s and Phillips, which are privately owned.) Thanks to cutthroat competition for consignments, owners of high-value works like Jeff Koons’s “Cracked Egg (Magenta)” sculpture — sold by Damien Hirst for 12.5 million pounds, or $21 million, plus £1.6 million in buyer’s fees at Christie’s in London on Feb. 13 — are not charged sellers’ commissions and are usually given some of the extra paid by buyers.

The auction houses instead have to make money out of lots in the $50,000 to $5 million range, for which they charge double-digit fees to both the seller and the buyer. This in turn squeezes the profitability of middle-range works that don’t enjoy trophy status.

At Sotheby’s on Feb. 12, for example, the 1984 Basquiat painting “Water-worshipper” sold below estimate for a hammer price of £2.15 million; it had been bought by its seller for €2.4 million at an auction in Paris in 2010.

The bargaining power of today’s richest investor-collectors makes it more difficult for the auction houses, and the bulk of their sellers, to turn a profit, thereby putting further pressure on the skin of what may or may not be a bubble. “It used to be said the air was thin at the top of the market,” said Mr. Schwartzman. “Now it’s thin in the middle.”

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Artists Donate Works for Legal Defense of Man Who Smashed Ai Weiwei Vase" @nytimes by NICK MADIGAN

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Artists Donate Works for Legal Defense of Man Who Smashed Ai Weiwei Vase" @nytimes by NICK MADIGAN

MIAMI — A few dozen artists have promised to donate works for an auction to help cover the legal expenses of a colleague who stunned the art world by smashing a vase by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

The mustering of support for their fellow artist, Maximo Caminero, who has been charged with criminal mischief and could face up to five years in prison if convicted, includes a defense of the intellectual underpinnings of his action. “We do not support the act, but we support the intention,” said Danilo Gonzalez, a painter and sculptor who said he spoke for many of his fellow artists.

While Mr. Caminero’s purpose, as he initially expressed it shortly after breaking the vase on Feb. 16, was to draw attention to a dearth of exhibition space for local artists in Miami’s museums, he has since said that he was driven more by a spontaneous impulse to emulate Mr. Ai’s own destruction of vases, some thousands of years old.

In an interview, Mr. Caminero said he had acted from a sense of solidarity with Mr. Ai, a dissident who has been under pressure from the Beijing authorities for his political activities and is barred from leaving China. Mr. Caminero said he did not realize until later that the vase, painted over in bright green by Mr. Wei, dated from the Han dynasty.

“I was in shock,” Mr. Caminero said. “He could have made replicas.”

Reached at his studio in Beijing, Mr. Ai said he had received an apology from Mr. Caminero but was unimpressed.

“My only advice is that he should make sure next time he knows — or have someone tell him — what he’s going to break,” Mr. Ai said. “He thinks it’s from Home Depot?”

Some artists accuse Mr. Ai of hypocrisy for taking that view. The Chinese artist, they point out, has made a show of not only painting over exquisite ancient vases but of smashing some of them to pieces.

“On the one hand, it is a clear act of vandalism,” the Ukrainian-born artist Alexey Steele, based in Los Angeles, said on Friday of the Pérez Museum incident. “On another, painting on a historic vase is a clear act of vandalism, too.”

While Mr. Ai has defaced works to make new art, one difference is that, unlike Mr. Caminero, he owned the art before he ruined it.

In his emailed apology, Mr. Caminero told Mr. Wei that he shared the Chinese artist’s battles “as though they were my own.”

“Breaking the vase signifies breaking the chains that prevent you from leaving the prison in which you find yourself,” Mr. Caminero wrote. “You were the vase in my hands, and I was the silent voice of the artists of Miami.”

However divided they might be on the advisability of Mr. Caminero’s act, Miami artists clearly see it as an opportunity for a debate about their situation. “Prominent intellectuals” were planning to discuss the cultural impact of the work’s destruction at a news conference late Friday in Miami’s Wynwood arts district, an announcement from organizers said.

Maximo CamineroNick MadiganMaximo Caminero

Emilio Martinez, a 32-year-old Miami-based artist from Honduras who is helping to plan the auction, said he had pledges from 35 to 40 artists — including some from Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela — for donations of works and that six more had already turned some in. He said he expected the sale to take place in three or four weeks.

Mr. Martinez called Mr. Caminero’s action “heroic.” Asked what his reaction would have been if Mr. Caminero had destroyed one of Mr. Martinez’s own paintings, he said it would not have bothered him, provided that it was an “unselfish, altruistic act” driven by a “humanitarian” ethos.

Another local artist, Elsa Roberto, said she supported Mr. Caminero’s act “in concept” but not in execution. She added that various ideas were “floating around” to help seize the moment on behalf of Miami artists, including placing vases on the steps of every museum in the area.

The Pérez Museum has pointed out that its schedule already includes exhibitions of local artists’ work, which it describes as “part of the museum’s long legacy of working with the local creative community.”

A show of works by the Miami-based, Haitian-born artist Edouard Duval-Carrié is planned for March 13 to Aug. 31, and an exhibition devoted to the artist Adler Guerrier, also from Miami, opens on Oct. 30. “Americana,” a series of exhibitions at the Pérez through May 1, 2015, includes work by the local artists José Bedia, Naomi Fisher, Lynne Golob Gelfman and Frances Trombly.

Mr. Ai’s plight, meanwhile, continues to draw attention: At the Armory Show, a fair that opens on Thursday on Piers 92 and 94 in New York, a booth set up by the For-Site Foundation of San Francisco will feature a large bicycle similar to one he keeps chained outside his Beijing studio to remind people that he is not free to leave the country. The foundation is also working with him on a major installation at Alcatraz prison, scheduled for September.

A spokeswoman for Cheryl Haines, the executive director of For-Site, said it does not plan to line up extra security at its booth.

A version of this article appears in print on 03/01/2014, on page C1 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Miami Artists Rally Around Colleague Who Smashed a Star’s Vase.

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Artists Donate Works for Legal Defense of Man Who Smashed Ai Weiwei Vase" @nytimes by NICK MADIGAN

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George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "State of Our Art, According to Whitney" @nytimes by CAROL VOGEL

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "State of Our Art, According to Whitney" @nytimes by CAROL VOGEL
 “Untitled,” 2013, by Laura Owens, one of the women revitalizing abstract painting. Credit Private collection; courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York.                
WHITNEY Biennials can be daunting, confounding, exhausting and sometimes even outrageous. No matter how the curators organize this sprawling survey of what’s happening in American contemporary art right now, trying to navigate the museumwide exhibition and make sense of it all is a challenge, even for the pros.

This year’s edition, its 77th, which opens next Friday, is the last in the Whitney Museum’s Madison Avenue home before it decamps to its new building in Manhattan’s meatpacking district in 2015. It is also perhaps the most highly anticipated contemporary art event in a week jam-packed with gallery openings and art fairs.

For the Biennial’s finale in the Marcel Breuer building, the Whitney invited three outside curators to organize the show: Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance at the Museum of Modern Art; Anthony Elms, associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and Michelle Grabner, an artist and a professor in the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In a break from years past, the three have each taken a floor and will present distinct visions, rather than one buildingwide narrative. Although they have coordinated in some of the public spaces, the second, third and fourth floors can be seen as independent shows and visited either in bite-size pieces — one floor at a time — or swallowed in one gulp.

“It’s as if you’re on your laptop and have three windows open,” Mr. Comer explained. “It’s not a collaboration but a conversation, a dialogue.” To drive home the point that this is “a show with three chapters,” as he calls it, the catalog gives each curator a distinct section, printed on differently textured papers.

This year’s biennial is especially dense, featuring the works of 103 participants (a word carefully chosen to include both individual artists and artist collectives), more than twice the number in 2012. Art is everywhere — in the stairwells, the sculpture court, the elevators, the lobby (where the composer and artist Sergei Tcherepnin has created a sound installation emanating from the ceiling).

Performances will be sprinkled throughout the museum, changing during the run of the show, which ends on May 25. (The schedule will be posted on the museum’s website.)

It’s not the first time the Biennial will spill out of its home, this time into Hudson River Park, at 17th Street, with a monumental multimedia work by Tony Tasset, composed of colored acrylic panels etched with the names of 400,000 artists, from Picasso and Warhol to little-known emerging artists.

For visual omnivores, the week also offers a panoply of commercial art fairs. There are the Art Dealers Association of America Art Show, at the Park Avenue Armory (at 67th Street), which opens on Wednesday, and the sprawling Armory Show, at Piers 92 and 94 (12th Avenue and 55th Street in Clinton) and the Independent Art Fair, (548 West 22nd Street in Chelsea), which both open on Thursday.

But it is the Biennial that aims to capture what’s happening in American art. Themes inevitably emerge, delivered in different ways, in different mediums, by different curators. Here are a few to look out for during your visit.

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"Five Senses for One Death,” 1969, ink and watercolor by Etel Adnan, 89, the Beirut-born cultural editor. Credit Collection of the artist; Callicoon Fine Arts, New York

Words and More Words

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The “Midwesternism” notebook, from “The Pale King” materials by David Foster Wallace. Credit Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin/David Foster Wallace Literary

PAPER is a star of this Biennial, with dozens of books and printed material. “Now that we have access to more archival material, we are all preoccupied with how we can reanimate it and create living histories,” Mr. Comer said. The independent publisher Semiotext(e) is presenting a series of books; an artist duo, Valerie Snobeck and Catherine Sullivan, have created an installation whose imagery and objects are based on a lifetime of airline menus collected by a Chicago anthropologist.

The 89-year-old Beirut-born cultural editor and artist Etel Adnan, whose accordion-folded paper books and diaries depict street scenes of New York, suggest the relationship between writing and painting. Also on view are the spiral notebooks with sketches that the writer David Foster Wallace kept while researching “The Pale King,” his last novel. (His biographer, D. T. Max, called them “an improvised bulletin board.”)

In addition to printed matter, look for literary accouterments, such as a writing table created for Nancy Mitford, the British novelist, by the Canadian-born artist Paul P.

Arts and Crafts

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“Blehh,” 2012, a delicately tooled wall piece of leather, enamel, brass and acrylic, created by Carol Jackson. Credit Collection of the artist, Courtesy the artist

The first Arts and Crafts movement, in England, challenged the taste of the Victorian era. Now the handmade aesthetic is flourishing again, Ms. Grabner said. “As so much moves to the digital world, there is a movement of slowing art and life down.”

Sheila Hicks, an artist whose career has involved melding art, design, craft and architecture, has created a monumental fiber sculpture from ceiling to floor in a spectrum of colors. Lisa Anne Auerbach, based on the West Coast, has knitted sweaters with political messages in the trim.

There is also ceramic art by Shio Kusaka, John Mason and Sterling Ruby, as well as a delicately tooled leather wall piece created by Carol Jackson. The Los Angeles artist Joel Otterson created a 14-foot-tall curtain wall of colored beads that seems straight from a hippie apartment.

Looks That Deceive

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“Relationship,” 2008, from a photographic diary by Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst that chronicles the couple’s years together. Credit Courtesy of the artists and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Things are not always as they appear. Genders are switched. Artists known for working in one discipline are presenting work in another. There are writers who paint; painters who write poetry; filmmakers who create sculptures; photographers who draw.

What appear to be abstract canvases by Ken Okiishi are actually oil paintings on flat-screen televisions, with a mash-up of footage from old VHS tapes and new digital images in subjects ranging from newscasts to commercials in an installation that is neither a painting nor a video.

An especially provocative photographic diary compiled by Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst in Mr. Comer’s installation chronicles the couple’s five-and-a-half-year relationship, in which one transitioned from female to male, and the other from male to female. Until now, this had been a private journal.

Toward the end of March, look for a 22-minute video by the duo called “She Gone Rogue,” described as an odyssey through a world of transgender-themed magical realism when it was shown at the Hammer Museum’s biennial in 2012.

Female Painters

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“Okie Dokie,” 2008, dyed cheesecloth and acrylic on canvas, by Dona Nelson, who lives and works in Pennsylvania and New York. Credit Collection of the artist; Courtesy of the artist and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York

Women are revitalizing abstract painting, and they are well represented here, with works by artists like Louise Fishman, Jacqueline Humphries, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Dona Nelson, Laura Owens and Amy Sillman.

“I am focusing on a handful of women artists who take on the authority of abstract painting — its history, its ambition and its relationship to power and gender,” Ms. Grabner said. “I wanted to put them together to underscore how different the language of abstract painting can be.”

She isn’t alone; Mr. Elms has included two large-scale abstract paintings by Rebecca Morris on the second floor. Long a fan of Marcel Breuer’s Brutalist architecture, Mr. Elms said the works fit perfectly with the space.


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“Gone With the Schwinn” hangs in Keith Mayerson’s installation. Credit Collection of Dan and Jane Slavin. Courtesy the artist and Derek Eller Gallery, New York

In trying to grapple with the future, artists of different generations are looking to the past for inspiration. The Surrealist environment on the fourth floor, created by Shana Lutker, a Los Angeles-based Conceptual artist, is loosely based on a fistfight between André Breton — a founder of Surrealism — and two artists, Joan Miró and Max Ernst, over their sets and costumes for a ballet based on “Romeo and Juliet” in 1926. (Breton considered the production lowbrow, Ms. Grabner explained). Ms. Lutker’s stage, an abstract re-creation of the sets and costumes, from Miró's drawing, includes hanging stainless-steel figures of dancers, two cast ballerina feet and hundreds of red fliers on a ballet bar, to symbolize those thrown onto the stage in a protest.

On the third floor, a 19th-century-style salon, the work of Keith Mayerson, is hung with images from his own modern family: he and his husband; Elvis Presley; Kermit the Frog; and Marvin Gaye, among them.

“It falls somewhere between comic books, a story board and an old-fashioned painting gallery,” Mr. Comer said. He also enlisted Triple Canopy, a nonprofit group that publishes books and an online magazine, to create an installation that explores the cultural meaning of artworks as they are collected, sold, replicated, photographed and exhibited. It focuses on the Garbisch family (Col. Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch) and its vast trove of American primitive paintings and furniture, given to many museums. (The Whitney sold its gift in 1999 to focus on the 20th century.) Objects include a wash basin on loan from the Met and carefully made reproductions.


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An image from a camera obscura installation by Zoe Leonard at the Whitney Museum. Credit Courtesy of the artist

Perhaps because the Whitney is saying goodbye to the Breuer building — or because more artists today are preoccupied with architecture, both as a form and a discipline — watch for constructed objects and architectural images, and ideas about what a museum should be, to be addressed in myriad ways.

Zoe Leonard has transformed a fourth-floor space into a giant camera obscura. Most of the Breuer’s trapezoidal window is blacked out, with only a small hole left that projects an inverted image of the unfolding streetscape — people rushing, and taxis and buses barreling by — onto the walls, ceiling and floor of the gallery.

Morgan Fisher, a Los Angeles artist, has created a curious portrait of the Whitney’s new Renzo Piano building. His sculpture, on the third floor, is an intentionally scrappy construction fashioned from drywall, in which he has reconfigured spaces in the museum, from the lobby to a boardroom coat closet. “It’s about how we rethink the history of museums and the hierarchy of space,” Mr. Comer said.

Mining Marcel Breuer’s archives, Mr. Elms brought together 24 artists and groups to answer a question by Breuer in his earliest notes on the building, when the architect wrote: “What should a museum look like, a museum in Manhattan?”

Look for the artists’ responses to that question in Mr. Elms’s second-floor installation.

Correction: February 28, 2014

An earlier version of this article, and a picture caption with it, misstated the age of the artist Etel Adnan. She is 89, not 84.

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Clueless at the Corcoran" @wsj by Eric Gibson

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann - "Clueless at the Corcoran" @wsj by Eric Gibson

If the proposed "collaboration" goes through, it will mean the end of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Corbis

The past four or five decades have witnessed much upheaval in the art world. Museums have been founded, others enlarged, still others have spun off satellites. Some have relocated, others have merged. Yet no museum has consciously willed itself into oblivion, as Washington's Corcoran Gallery of Art has done with its announcement Wednesday of a proposed "collaboration" with two other Washington institutions.

"The Corcoran" is actually two entities under one roof: an art school and museum. Under the terms of the proposed agreement—details of which have yet to be finalized—the Corcoran College of Art + Design will become part of George Washington University, which will also assume ownership and responsibility for the Corcoran's 1897 Beaux Arts building, no small undertaking since the perpetually cash-strapped museum needs some $100 million for deferred maintenance and upgrades on it.

The building's museum functions will be taken over by the National Gallery of Art, thereby realizing that museum's long-held dream of a dedicated space for its own shows of modern and contemporary art. It will be renamed "Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art." Some corner of the Corcoran building itself will be set aside as a Legacy Gallery for a rotating display of the museum's "signature works." Anything the National Gallery doesn't want will enter a "distribution plan" to place the works in other U.S. museums. In all, this is a sorry end for a once-proud U.S. arts institution.

This announcement is the latest in a string of policy lurches going back a decade or more as the Corcoran strove to find answers to problems of money, mission, visitorship and the physical plant. It wanted a satellite space in Southwest Washington, then it didn't. It wanted a Frank Gehry addition to the 17th Street Beaux Arts building, then it didn't. It wanted to sell that building and move to the suburbs, then it didn't. It had a partnership with the University of Maryland; now, evidently, it no longer does. This is mismanagement on a near-epic scale. If you added up the costs associated with developing, implementing, then abandoning each of these initiatives, you'd probably make a serious contribution to the renovation tab.

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Leisure & Arts editor Eric Gibson on why the Corcoran Gallery's troubles reflect a broader crisis in nonprofit governance. Photo credit: Getty Images.

But of all the board's decisions, this one is by far the worst. Because if this agreement goes through—and there is no reason to doubt that it will—it will be the end of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The trustees will be washing their hands of their own institution, in effect saying: "Enough, already! Let someone else deal with it. We're done." This is a shocking dereliction of duty by Washington's supposedly enlightened elites—the lawyers, financiers and other well-educated, well-heeled professionals who make up its board.

Yet sadly, the Corcoran is not alone in its misguided ways. Indeed the untold story of our time is the emerging crisis in nonprofit governance, where boards embark on policies that go against—and even imperil—the mission of the institution they are charged to oversee and protect.

Exhibit A in this regard is, of course, New York City Opera, which in 2007 hired Gerard Mortier as an "edgy" choice for general director, setting in motion a chain of events that led to the closure of the company last year. The New York Public Library wants to gut its magnificent Beaux Arts building on Fifth Avenue and change it from a research institution to, as Ada Louise Huxtable wrote in this newspaper, "a state-of-the-art, socially interactive, computer-centered" circulating library, with fewer books, a good number of them moved off-site. Four years ago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles hired an art dealer, Jeffrey Deitch, as director, an unheard-of blurring of the line between commerce and art in a museum. Mr. Deitch soon fired Paul Schimmel, the longtime chief curator and one of the most respected professionals in his field, precipitating a hemorrhage of support. And had the Barnes Foundation not endured two decades of mismanagement—unnecessary lawsuits against the neighbors, for example—it might still be in Merion, Pa., instead of downtown Philadelphia.

The answer to why this is happening can be found in "The Whitney Women and the Museum They Made," the 1999 memoir by Flora Miller Biddle, granddaughter of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The book traces Biddle's involvement with the museum from 1958, when she was in her late 20s, to 1990—years in which she witnessed a dramatic change in the boardroom. In the 1960s, she writes, trustees were "idealistic and committed to public service" and possessed "a genuine love of art and faith in the museum." By the late 1970s and into the 1980s a new breed had emerged, one that "wanted to use the museum and their contacts there for social and business purposes."

Not everyone on a board today is an opportunist, of course; many are serious, dedicated supporters and benefactors. But it's impossible to ignore the shift away from boards populated by individuals who understand the values of the institution and the discipline. One now-retired museum director once told me that one of the hardest parts of his job was teaching new trustees from Wall Street that a museum is not a business in the sense that they understand the term.

Until the pendulum starts to swing back toward the kind of board member Ms. Biddle encountered early in her career, we're going to see a lot more tragedies like the one now engulfing the Corcoran.

Corrections & Amplifications
The National Gallery will integrate some of the Corcoran Gallery of Art's collection into its displays and holdings but will not sell any of the Corcoran's works. An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the nature of the National Gallery's custodianship of the Corcoran's collection.

Mr. Gibson is the Journal's Leisure & Arts Editor.

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George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann "The Corcoran Gallery of Art May Cede Control of Its Collection" @nytimes by CAROL VOGELFEB

George Lindemann Journal by George Lindemann "The Corcoran Gallery of Art May Cede Control of Its Collection" @nytimes by CAROL VOGELFEB

Facing mounting debts, a shrinking endowment and tens of millions of dollars in renovations, the long-struggling Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington is exploring a plan to give up its independence as the oldest privately supported art museum in the nation to form a partnership with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.

The resulting three-way arrangement, which must be approved by the boards of the three institutions, would ensure that the Corcoran’s art collection would remain in public institutions and maintain its Beaux-Arts building as an art destination. At the same time, the Corcoran’s education arm, its 124-year-old Corcoran College of Art + Design, one of Washington’s only professional colleges of art, would continue to operate, but under the auspices of George Washington University.

Under the proposed agreement, the 145-year-old Corcoran would cede control of its renowned collection to the National Gallery — some 17,000 works, including a world-class group of American paintings by masters like Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church and John Singer Sargent, as well as its celebrated holdings of photographs. George Washington University would operate the Corcoran College, and the university would assume ownership, including responsibility for all of the expenses, of the landmark Corcoran building near the White House, which is in need of about $100 million worth of renovation and repairs.

The federally funded National Gallery would organize and present exhibitions of modern and contemporary art at the Corcoran under the name Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art — a gesture to preserve the Corcoran’s heritage. The National Gallery would also oversee what it is calling a Corcoran Legacy Gallery in the Corcoran building and show a selection of the museum’s greatest attractions. What works the National Gallery and curators from the Corcoran decide are not compatible with the National Gallery’s collection would be distributed to other American museums, giving Washington-area ones first priority. Artworks that would enter the National Gallery would be identified as from the Corcoran Collection.

“This arrangement turns two great collections into one extraordinary collection,” said Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery. “The Corcoran will still have its own identity: a great facility with a distinguished building. It’s a way of keeping the Corcoran memory alive.”

If the plan is approved by the boards in April, it will put an end to years of money trouble for the Corcoran, which had some 103,000 visitors last year. The Corcoran currently runs a $2,071,129 deficit, has $2,787,690 of bank debt and an endowment that has shrunk over the last decade to only $18 million. It also has a $44 million acquisitions fund. Unlike the National Gallery, which does not charge for admissions, the Corcoran is one of the few museums in Washington that does ($10 for adults), a practice that has hampered its ability to attract a strong visitorship. If the plan is implemented, all exhibitions in its original home will be free to the public.

Over the years, the Corcoran has pursued a number of efforts to shore up its finances, including the sale of real estate. In 2010, it sold the Randall School, a former public school in Southwest Washington, where it once planned to relocate the college, for $6.5 million to the Miami collectors Donald and Mera Rubell and the developer Telesis. It also tried to sell the college’s current building in Georgetown, but the deal fell through. Last year, it announced the possibility of relocating from its historic building on 17th Street, but after a hailstorm of criticism its board changed its mind, saying the museum would stay put and look for other options. In June, the museum auctioned a group of Oriental carpets at Sotheby’s, which gave the Corcoran about $39 million, which went into its acquisitions fund.

Last year, the Corcoran’s board appointed a new interim director, Peggy Loar, a former director at the National Museum of Qatar and the Wolfsonian Museum and Research Center in Miami to take over for Fred Bollerer, who retired as president and director after only three years in the job. In April 2013, it announced the possibility of a partnership with the University of Maryland, but talks fell apart several months ago, when the board of the Corcoran and the university were not able to come to an agreement about the future of the college, the museum and the sustainability of the art collection, according to officials at the Corcoran.

“We’ve been looking for a good, secure solution for the collection and for the future of the school,” said Ms. Loar in a telephone interview. “Our curators have worked with curators at the National Gallery. We feel like these are colleagues, and we can partner with them. It solves the problem with the building, which is in need of major repairs.”

If the partnership is approved, Ms. Loar added, the faculty of the college would be absorbed by George Washington University for at least one year. Ms. Loar said the future of the Corcoran’s staff, including its curators and registrars, was still being discussed. “We will look for future roles either within the new partnership or elsewhere,” she said.

The plan also gives the National Gallery an additional site to present its own exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Although its East Building is currently being renovated to add more than 12,000 square feet of gallery space, Mr. Powell, the director, said that overseeing the Corcoran’s majestic galleries, which he described as “arguably the most beautiful galleries of any museum in the United States,” would solve a bigger problem for his institution in a few years. “It does answer an unspoken need for us,” Mr. Powell said. “We would have been looking for more space.”

If the plan is approved, the Corcoran’s board will comprise representatives of all three entities in an advisory role to “keep innovation programmatically alive at the Corcoran,” Ms. Loar said.

As for George Washington University, Steven Knapp, its president, said on Wednesday that taking over the college “would be a very exciting opportunity and helps establish our university as a hub for the arts.”

“I’ve been talking to the Corcoran for a number of years about partnerships that would be beneficial,” Mr. Knapp said. “They are a close neighbor.” But this particular plan, including the hefty expenses required to renovate the Corcoran’s building, Mr. Knapp said, “would secure the nation’s capital as a center for arts and culture.”

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