How Did The Catholic Church Go From Being A Major Patron Of The Arts To… Meh

For centuries, the Catholic Church was one of the world’s most important collectors and patrons of art, but in recent decades, the Vatican’s holiday nativity scene has often been one of its most high-profile artistic contributions. This shift didn’t happen overnight—or even in a generation—but across centuries, and it is inseparable from the evolution of […]

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‘Uncomfortable Art’ And #QueerMuseum: Alternative Museum Tours Are Catching On In Britain

Dan Vo leads groups on #QueerMuseum tours of Cambridge museums and the V&A, pointing out things like an Antarctic explorer’s scandalized notes on male-on-male penguin sex and a “gender-fluid” statue of Lucifer. Alice Procter’s “Uncomfortable Art” tours through the likes of the British Museum point out the ways colonialism pervades the collections. — The New […]

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Why We Should Stop Trying To Justify The Arts (And Their Funding) With Measurable Data

“Underlying the development of quality metrics seems to be the question: ‘Are the arts justified?’ In other words, we are looking for evidence. This is the opening the quantifiers of the world need. Witness the attempts to find the value of the arts in their instrumental benefits to society, to the economy and to things […]

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The Spirit Of Burning Man, And Why It Just Doesn’t Fit Into A Museum

For all of its insane growth, creeping capitalism, and occasional insufferability, writes Jillian Steinhauer, the desert festival largely continues to uphold its “‘radically participatory ethic,’ the idea that there are no spectators because everyone can and should be involved in building the contents of Black Rock City.” The problem, when you try to put art […]

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How Art For Justice Aims To Reduce Mass Incarceration

It’s worth remembering that the Art for Justice Fund is barely a year old. Yet in that short time frame, the fund, along with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, has placed the issue of mass incarceration front and center across the arts giving landscape. The rapid evolution of Art for Justice has provided socially driven funders with […]

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After The Sale Of A Rockwell, The Berkshire Museum May Get Its Local Government Grant Back

The Massachusetts Cultural Council grant, frozen in September when the museum decided to deaccession and sell some of its art, represents a tiny fraction of the money that’s coming in from art sales. But, after a bruising fight, the museum wants the money anyway. A state representative says, “These are funds paid for by the […]

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MoMA Acquires The Painting That Provoked Rudy Giuliani To Try To Shut Down The Brooklyn Museum

Billionaire Steve Cohen is donating Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. “The canvas stirred controversy at the Brooklyn Museum during the 1999 ‘Sensation’ exhibition of works by the Young British Artists from the collection of advertising mogul Charles Saatchi. Giuliani criticized Ofili’s painting as an affront to Catholics. […]

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