Things to do when I could be grading . . .

Yes I could be grading ARTH 101 papers about Greek Revival buildings in Geneva, but instead I’m working on some of the reports for our departmental review. I’m making a list of all the honors projects completed in the department in the last 5 years, and I’m encouraged by all the interesting projects our students have done!
Oh well – I should stop stalling and get to work on ARTH 101.

No snow outside

Yikes - fast growers.
So the year I remember to buy paperwhites and start them on time we have mid-November weekends in the 60s. I’m not regretting this at all — I took two long walks this weekend — but part of the point of planting paperwhites is to have something grow and bloom while it’s nasty outside. This being Upstate New York, that’ll come soon enough, I suppose!

Here’s a solution for the ongoing academic job crisis . . .

. . . hire recent Ph.d. graduates in the social sciences with numerical skillz to audit the admissions figures supplied by colleges and universities to various agencies. Otherwise lying liars get away with lots.
Iona College – lying provost.
University of Illinois College of Law – lying dean of admissions.
How many more are out there? Lots, I’d imagine.

Financing that Crazy Clyfford Still museum in Denver

I wondered how that new all-and-only-Clyfford Still museum I blogged about yesterday was financed. Here’s how it seems to work — they’re selling a few of the paintings. Still held his work off the market so successfully that they bring tremendous prices:

The Still painting, “1949-A-No. 1,” shattered the artist’s previous record of $21.3 million, achieved at a Christie’s International sale in 2006. It sold to a telephone bidder, represented by Lisa Dennison, Sotheby’s chairman of North and South America. She won a bidding war against Christopher Eykyn, a New York dealer who had a mobile phone to his ear and his hand covering his mouth.
The work was one of four Stills consigned by the City of Denver that raised a total of $114.1 million for the endowment of the Clyfford Still Museum, which opens in Denver next week. The reclusive artist died in 1980.
Three of the works were completed in the 1940s and one in 1976. The top lot, in deep reds and velvety blacks, more than doubled its presale low estimate of $25 million. During his life, Still sold very little and frequently rejected exhibition opportunities. His will stipulated that the estate be given in its entirety to a U.S. city willing to establish a permanent museum housing his work alone.
[my emphasis]

The incredible sordidness of Big Football

Penn State turns it up to 11.
Cheating, eh. Boosters, eh. Armed robbery? Eh. Coaches raping boys in the showers? That’s up to eleven.
Really now — more people than just the rapist should go to jail, go directly to jail, should not pass Go on the way from the Happy Valley.
Further:
Students riot in Unhappy Valley. A newly responsible Board of Trustees and administration would cooperate fully with local police to use the inevitable cell phone video to track down the adults who destroyed property because they felt like it.
(via Prof. Soltan)

Craziest New Museum in America

No, not Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas. That’s an out of the way place, but it’s going to be a very normal museum.
The Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. That’s crazy. Clyfford Still doesn’t ring a bell? Well, he wasn’t an outsider artist. He was an entirely conventional abstract expressionist (let’s not pretend that just because they were avant garde for a decade they didn’t turn into an entirely predictable orthodoxy whose reign lasted a long time) in style, though he was a bit eccentric. He refused to sell or show for most of his career, so he owned most of his output. Look here.
So Still left his entire collection to whatever American city would build a museum dedicated to his monomaniacal focus on his own self-expression. And Denver took up the bet and built a monument to everything I think is wrong-headed about art in the modern world. But then I’m a medievalist — I teach art without names.

In keeping with Still’s wishes, the museum does not have a restaurant or auditorium, and only works by Still can be displayed. The bulk of his artwork has not been seen by the public. Sobel hopes the institution will become a destination museum for lovers of modern art.

Destination museum? I can’t wait to see their attendance figures. They’re financing the museum by selling some paintings. I read somewhere else (I apologize that I can’t find it now!) that there is also a No Loans policy to go along with the Only My Works stipulation. In the long run that’s bad for Still’s reputation, I’d have to guess. I wonder if there are oppressive reproduction policies, like Dr. Barnes set up for his foundation?

$1.1 million sculpture damaged by cleaning woman in German museum

A $1.1 million art installation in Germany’s Ostwall Museum was damaged by a cleaning woman who mistook a hand-painted patina for dirt and scrubbed it away. Artist Martin Kippenberger’s “When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling” was comprised of a wooden structure and a rubber trough painted to look as though it had once contained a puddle of dirty rainwater.

I take it she was a relatively recent hire who had not internalized the rule of those who clean studio art facilities: “ask even about the dust.” We regularly come in to Houghton House to find neat piles of stuff with signs on top of them from Housekeeping that read “Trash?” Of course, sometimes I’m not sure.