Two major real estate developments in NYC's museum world

The New York Times, 5/11/11

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will take over the Whitney Museum of American Art's Marcel Breuer building in 2015, when the Whitney opens its new museum in Manhattan's meatpacking district.  Under the agreement, the Met will occupy the Breuer building for at least eight years. Under the Whitney, the building has been primarily a home for American art, but officials at the Met said they would use it as an outpost for modern and contemporary art from around the globe.  The Met-Whitney agreement is the second major real estate development in the New York museum world this week. The Museum of Modern Art agreed on Tuesday to take over the American Folk Art Museum's new building on West 53rd Street because the folk museum has serious financial problems. MoMA, however, will be purchasing that building, unlike the Met, which will be operating, but not buying, the Breuer building.


London's National Gallery forgoes revenue to prevent overcrowding at exhibition

The Independent [UK] 5/10/11

The National Gallery has taken the unprecedented step of limiting visitor numbers to its forthcoming exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan.  The gallery is set to admit just under a quarter fewer visitors into the exhibition than it has capacity for. The step comes after a growing number of art-lovers complained of overcrowding at the capital's high-profile blockbuster exhibitions. In January, people left Tate Modern's Gauguin: Maker of Myth exhibition moaning about "gallery rage", provoked by too many visitors trying to catch a glimpse of rare works. "Essentially, we felt very strongly that the fewer people who will see the exhibition will have a better experience," said the exhibition's curator Luke Syson. "It's about having time to be contemplative. It will be crowded, but it won't be overcrowded. We felt that although there was a sacrifice involved, these pictures are unlikely to be seen together again."  The National Gallery's health and safety rules specify the institution can sell 230 tickets to customers every half-hour. When the Leonardo exhibition opens in November, the gallery will limit entrance numbers to 180 over the same time period, potentially losing it thousands of pounds in revenue.


Hotel chain partners with museums in London, Nice, Philadelphia & San Francisco Travel Blog, 5/9/11

Le Meridien Hotels are offering a new Unlock Art program -- partnerships with art museums to allow special access to contemporary cultural centers for guests around the world. All you need is the Unlock Art pass...which, conveniently, doubles as your room key.  Just show up at the museum with your key card and you're granted automatic access. So far in the USA, Le Meridien San Francisco is offering access to the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, and the Le Meridien Philadelphia has a partnership with the city's Institute of Contemporary Art. You'll also find this sweet deal in Nice, France, and London, England.  The key cards themselves are works of art, created exclusively by artists like Hisham Bharoocha, Sam Samore, and Yan Lei -- picked by the hotel chain's global cultural curator, Jerome Sans.


An updated guide to L.A.'s 263 museums, including some very quirky places

The Los Angeles Times, 5/10/11

That the world regards Los Angeles as a very quirky place is a given.  But when the world starts thumbing through the recently published third edition of Museum Companion to Los Angeles, Borislav Stanic's exhaustive guide, the world may well conclude that it didn't know the half of it.  The guide covers 263 sites, which Stanic says is more than any other city in the world; he says New York has about 230.  That L.A. is a mega-county, and not a mere city, perhaps makes the comparison a bit oranges to apples, but of course that's just part of its hard-to-get-a-grasp-on quality.   Anyone up for a trip to the Bunny Museum?  Maybe you'd like to get a whiff of the Annette Green Perfume Museum, billed as "the only museum of its kind in the United States."  The Mini Cake Museum harbors about 150 testimonials to the art of cake decoration. The shapes are Styrofoam, but the icing is real.  Let's talk cars. The quirkiest is the Metropolitan Pit Stop Museum, devoted solely to the Nash Metropolitan, a fuel-efficient compact produced from 1954 to 1962.  L.A. is the home of noir, and it gets no darker than the Museum of Death. "This macabre collection is not for the faint of heart...and the management...keeps smelling salts handy." 


Next week's International Museum Day 2011 to focus on memory

IFLA website

The worldwide community of museums will celebrate International Museum Day around May 18, 2011. Museums and Memory is the theme. Museums store memory and tell stories. They have numerous objects in their collections that are basic to the memory of the communities we live in. These objects are the expressions of our natural and cultural heritage. Many of them are fragile, some endangered and they need special care and conservation. International Museum Day 2011 will be an occasion for visitors to discover and rediscover individual and collective memory.   ICOM established International Museum Day in 1977 to encourage public awareness on the role of museums in the development of society. Momentum has been rising unabated ever since. In 2010, International Museum Day garnered record-breaking participation with almost 30,000 museums hosting events in more than 95 countries.

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