|Follow Lord Cultural on twitter, facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn|
Magna Carta on display in Edmonton for the first time
EDMONTON, AB, CANADA — The historic Magna Carta, signed in June 1215, will be on display at the new federal building near the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton Monday [November 23, 2015]. The 800-year-old document signed in England by King John set the bar for many legal concepts that continue to this day. The principles that nobody is above the law including the king, habeas corpus, trial by jury and some women's rights began with this document. Al Chapman is the visitor services manager at the legislative assembly. "They'll have the chance to see up close both the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest, its companion document ... There's some interactive displays, some hands-on materials and just an opportunity to find out about the great charter and its impact on our society today," Chapman said. The document is wrapping up a tour of four Canadian cities and it's the first time it has been on display in Alberta. The exhibit open Monday at 8:00 p.m. to the public and runs until the end of December.
Magna Carta multimedia exhibition will conclude its Canadian tour at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton from November 23 to December 29, 2015. Lord Cultural Resources has designed, developed and organized the tour for this travelling exhibition on behalf of Magna Carta Canada.
Other museums queue for cash
SANTA FE, NM, USA — In addition to the New Mexico Museum of Art's Centennial Campaign, slated to last through 2019, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation is contemplating future capital campaigns for the other institutions it supports in the state museum system. All the initiatives will need the approval of the foundation's board. "We started this process with the Shape the Future campaign for the New Mexico History Museum," said Jamie Clements, the foundation's president and CEO. That campaign was to help build the History Museum, which opened in 2009. "Everyone at the foundation at the time agreed that, once that campaign was completed and knowing that the Museum of Art centennial was on the horizon, [the art museum] would be next." After making improvements to the Museum of Art, the foundation will start a campaign to renovate the interior of the Palace and its permanent exhibitions. In the meantime, the foundation is pressing the state to fund structural upgrades at the Palace. "That's about $1.5 million," Clements said. "We got $680,000 in the last session, and we're hoping to receive the balance over the next two sessions." The funds would pay for a new fire-suppression system, exterior stucco work, roof fixes, and refinished floors.
Lord Cultural Resources was commissioned to develop a 5-year strategic plan for the New Mexico Museum of Art, which provides the opportunity for the Museum to chart a vision for its second century and a plan for a new location of a Contemporary Arts "wing". We have also been working closely with the Staff and Foundation of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe to craft a Facility and Operations Master Plan for a new Center For International Textiles and Dress (Textile Center) attached to the existing building which is part of Museums of New Mexico's hilltop campus.
makes National Geographic's list of best trips on earth 2016
WINNIPEG, MB, CANADA — The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Arctic Glacier Winter Park at the Forks and the Downtown Spirit bus. Those are three of the reasons National Geographic Travel named Winnipeg one of the best places to visit on earth on their list, Best Trips 2016. "Winnipeg is a whistle-stop on rail and road trips across Canada; polar bear and beluga whale enthusiasts know it as the starting point for their journey north to Churchill," Kimberley Lovato wrote in the article. "But this unpretentious prairie city proves itself worthy of more than a glance from a train window." The National Geographic profile provides information on the public transit system, including the Downtown Spirit, a free bus with three routes at the center of the city. Winnipeg's Alt Hotel is named one of the best places to stay while vacationing in Winnipeg, whether it be in the winter when there are lots of opportunities for ice skating and tobogganing or in the summertime, when farmers markets are a popular way to spend time. The list includes a mix of well-known travel destinations including New York City and the Philippines and places that people may not think to visit such as Hokkaido, Japan, where snow falls twice a day in the winter, according to National Geographic.
Lord Cultural Resources has worked with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights since 2000. We have helped to develop the concept and to craft the three-volume Master Plan and business plan, provided the space program, assisted with the international architectural competition that selected Antoine Predock to design the building, and organized and facilitated the cross Canada consultation process that gathered human rights stories from thousands of Canadians in 19 cities. We have continued to provide advisory services to Board and senior management on all aspects of implementation, content and the inauguration.
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 reopens
HALIFAX, NS, CANADA — Toronto-based collaborators Architects Luc Bouliane and David J. Agro Architect are pleased to announce the recent reopening of the Canadian Museum of Immigration, a $12.5-million expansion and renovation of the 100-year-old Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The completion is a significant milestone for a major institution. Often called the "gateway to Canada," Pier 21 processed nearly one million immigrants between 1928 and 1971, became a local museum in 1999 and is now a National Historic Site and one of two National Museums outside of Ottawa.
[see also Revamped Museum of Immigration needed subtle touch, Daily Commerical News, 20 November 2015]
Halifax's Pier 21 uses new technology to tell historic immigration tales
HALIFAX, NS, CANADA — Return visitors will notice major changes to the airy, high-ceilinged building since its official reopening last June following six months of construction on a pair of new permanent exhibits. The result is a museum double its original size that is colourful, interactive and enlightening. The reimagined Rudolph P. Bratty Hall explores Pier 21's history as well as that of the vessels that carried newcomers to Halifax. It includes a reconstructed ship's dining cart with sample menus, a typical bunk room and several children's trunks filled with items that might have been taken to Canada at the time. There's also an example of a Dutch kist — a huge wooden crate — crammed top to bottom with everything from clothing to toys to a sink. Touch screens allow visitors to pretend they are new immigrants and learn what items would have been permitted into Canada by customs at the time. Knives got the stamp of approval, but James Joyce's "Ulysses" was considered contraband. But perhaps the most poignant part of the hall is the gateway. Once the entrance through which immigrants passed before undergoing civil and medical exams and customs, the gateway is now a long room with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a view of the harbour. Though passengers no longer enter through the hallway, it is impossible not to imagine the crowds that once streamed in. Benches provide an opportunity for silent reflection. Luggage tags with handwritten anecdotes from visitors hang on two walls.
Lord Cultural Resources was selected to assist the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 with the expansion project. Our firm led the interpretive planning process, managed the design and fabrication of the new permanent exhibition and led the content development process for 20,000 square feet of new exhibitions. We provided the architects with the systems and standards required to ensure that all display spaces met the museum standards for environmental controls.
3D Technology Enables Cleveland Museum of Art to Identify Centuries-Old Sculptural Fragment
CLEVELAND, OH, USA — Hindu legend says that the deity Krishna, when a storm threatened his people, lifted India's Mount Govardhana to shield the villagers from the rain, which lasted for seven days and seven nights. The legend has been widely depicted in various art forms, including a six-foot-tall, 2,000-pound stone stone statue, sculpted in the sixth century and now owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The museum purchased the sculpture in 1973, but it was fragmented and incomplete–until very recently, when 3D scanning and printing allowed for it to be fully restored. When the museum acquired the statue, it was missing its arms and legs, the broken pieces of which were later rediscovered in the garden of a Belgian sculptor who had attempted his own failed reconstruction years ago. The Cleveland Museum of Art was able to restore most of the statue, including the legs and right arm, but they were unable to make a 432-pound fragment, which included the left hand holding up the mountain, fit. Concluding that the piece must not have been part of the original sculpture, the museum donated the fragment to the National Museum of Cambodia, which owns a similar statue.
In 1995, The Cleveland Museum of Art engaged Lord Cultural Resources to facilitate a yearlong Strategic Planning process that involved the staff at all levels of the Museum's organization, Board and community. Lord Cultural Resources was invited back in 2002 to facilitate the 2002–07 strategic plan update.
Revolutionising the art and culture landscape
ABU DHABI, UAE — Abu Dhabi will be putting the finishing touches to a host of landmark developments in the next few years for a cultural experience. Art and culture are at the heart of Abu Dhabi's unique strategy to attract visitors from all over the world. The capital will be home to the likes of Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim, Zayed National Museum, and the Maritime Museum and Performing Arts Centre, which are key to increasing the emirate's art appeal. These will be based in Saadiyat Island's Cultural District, and once open, it will not only boost Abu Dhabi's art scene on a global scale, but also gather culture seekers and art aficionados onto one platform. Besides standing out in terms of the scale of the project, these cultural attractions will be unique to the region, offering a different approach when compared to art offerings in Dubai. Once completed, the Saadiyat Cultural District will draw local, regional and international visitors with unique exhibitions, permanent collections, productions and performances. Furthermore, the museums will be housed in iconic architectural landmarks that have been designed by globally renowned architects and are considered works of art themselves.
Lord Cultural Resources has worked with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) to develop many of the exciting new cultural institutions on Saadiyat Island. We produced a Concept Plan for the Louvre Abu Dhabi and worked with leading French architect Jean Nouvel who has designed that museum. We did a Master Plan for the Abu Dhabi Maritime Museum, working with the renown Japanese architect Tadao Ando. For the Zayed National Museum Lord Cultural Resources developed the Master Plan and then used it as the Brief to create and manage the international architectural competition which was won by the leading British architect Sir Norman Foster. We were subsequently asked to help develop a Governance Structure for these museums.
Qatar opens slavery museum
DOHA, QATAR — A vast museum complex incorporating an institution dedicated to the history of slavery has opened in Doha, Qatar. The development is the oil-rich state's latest bid to rebrand itself as a culture hub. Human rights organisations have criticised Qatar for the poor labour conditions faced by migrant workers building stadiums and museums ahead of the World Cup in 2022. Four museums opened in October as part of a new mixed-use commercial and residential quarter called Msheireb. The $5.5bn redevelopment is backed by one of the country's most high-profile figures, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, the second wife of Qatar's former emir. Displays and exhibitions at Bin Jelmood House chart the history of the global slave trade. "The [museum] explores the role Islam played in providing guidance for humane treatment of enslaved people, their integration into society and the eventual abolition of slavery," a project spokeswoman says.
Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum Wants You To Sketch, Not Selfie
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — The saying may be "take a picture, it'll last longer," but Amsterdam's recently reopened Rijksmuseum has a different idea. The institution, which features masterworks by artists like Vincent van Gogh, Frans Hals, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Johannes Vermeer, is trying to discourage photography in its galleries, asking visitors instead to draw with their own two hands the artworks they wish to remember. The campaign is called #startdrawing (the museum obviously realizes that even if the point is to get people off their phones, a good hashtag never hurts), and, according to the museum's website, is about helping visitors "discover and appreciate the beauty of art and history through drawing." The Rijksmuseum will provide free sketch paper and pencils to museumgoers, and even host a drawing class every Saturday. "In today's world of mobile phones and media, a visit to a museum is often a passive and superficial experience," says the museum. "Visitors are easily distracted and do not truly experience beauty, magic and wonder."
Coming Soon—the Smithsonian Learning Lab
WASHINGTON, DC, USA — Many museums are retooling their digital resources to create more meaningful experiences for visitors—both local as well as virtual. Earlier this year we highlighted one example—the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh's Innovation Studio. Today, Darren Milligan (@darrenmilligan), who leads strategy for digital outreach at the Center for Learning and Digital Access at the Smithsonian Institution, previews another digital "lab" and invites you to test it out. The Smithsonian Learning Lab project is the result of a major rethinking of how the digital resources from across the Smithsonian's 19 museums, nine major research centers, the National Zoo, and more, can be used together, for learning. It is a big dream, an aspiration to make these resources more accessible and more useful to teachers, students, parents, and anyone on a lifelong quest to learn more. It hopes to ensure the Smithsonian is part of nationwide learning in ways that are joyful, personal, and shareable. The Smithsonian, like many of our institutions, is in a period of change. The Smithsonian now receives many more digital than in-person visits, a trend likely to continue. We are committed to understanding and serving the needs of our diverse digital visitors and enabling them to access and use our content wherever they are.
Singapore opens £250m National Gallery
SINGAPORE — Singapore has opened its state-of-the-art National Gallery, home to the world's largest public collection of modern art from South East Asia. The 64,000-sq-m (689,000-sq-ft) attraction has taken a decade to come to fruition and cost about £250m. The gallery is housed in the restored former British colonial-era Supreme Court and City Hall buildings. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who opened the gallery, said he hoped it would become "the pride of Singapore". The project is part of the city-state's wish to become a centre of culture and the arts and to overcome its traditional reputation as a money-driven, and somewhat sterile, environment.
Why Canada's Museum of Nature was a good place to host a climate change summit
OTTAWA, ON, CANADA — Others have remarked on the appropriateness of the Canadian Museum of Nature as the venue for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's meeting this evening with the premiers, and they may not realize how true that is. They might be thinking, since combating global warming dominates the meeting's agenda, of exhibits like the museum's life-sized diorama of a stuffed polar bear, poised, massive paw outstretched, above a hole in the faux ice. (Like generations of Ottawa parents visiting with their kids, I've worked up a cheerful, equivocating patter regarding the likely fate of the seal in this frozen moment of nature's drama.) But, along with being a wonderful place to contemplate Canada's environment, especially the Arctic, which is of course so vulnerable to climate change, the museum isn't detached from the Canadian economic landscape. Its rocks and minerals exhibit is sponsored by Vale, the Brazilian mining giant that bought Inco back in 2006, while the dinosaur gallery is brought to us by Talisman Energy.
Half of world's museum specimens are wrongly labelled, Oxford University finds
INTERNATIONAL — Museums might seem like infallible hubs of knowledge and learning, but a new study suggests it might be wise not to trust everything that appears on the shelves. As many as half of all natural history specimens held in the some of the world's greatest institutions are probably wrongly labelled, according to experts at Oxford University and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. The confusion has arisen because even accomplished naturalists struggle to tell the difference between similar plants and insects. And with hundreds or thousands of specimens arriving at once, it can be too time-consuming to meticulously research each and guesses have to be made. More than 50 per cent of the world's natural history specimens have been discovered since 1969, so it is virtually impossible for scientists to keep track.
Underwater world: Incredible £98million museum in Alexandria planned beneath the SEA
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT — Instead of artefacts being brought to tourists, it could soon be the other way round as a $150 million (£98million) museum is being planned that will take guests right to the relics' location - on the Egyptian seabed. The historic objects in question lie under the surface in Alexandria and include ruins from entire ancient cities that have sunk there. More than 2,500 pieces of stonework rest in the murky Mediterranean depths and the Ministry of Antiquities is hoping to open up the subaquatic sight with the unique underwater experience. The museum will feature four tall buildings with fibreglass tunnels to the 22-foot-deep viewing platforms. In addition to this there will be glass submarines that can tour the area and the opportunity to dive around the site for a closer look at the relics.
KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten wins competition to design Shenzhen Art Museum and Library
SHENZHEN, CHINA — German studio KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten's glass-covered design for the Shenzhen Art Museum and Library complex in China beat proposals from a number of star architects. The practice winning-design was selected from a shortlist that included schemes by high-profile architecture firms including Steven Holl Architects, Mecanoo, and OMA. The design features a pair of glass-encased cubic structures that house a museum, library and underground archive, arranged around a public plaza. The museum will offer 15,000 square metres of space arranged across three levels, and includes a roof that extends 66 metres beyond the entrance of the building. The library features a four-storey reading room with 1,000 desks, and a large overhead window that will bring in natural daylight. The buildings will rest on a six-metre-tall stone base, contrasting with the matt glass exterior and also housing the underground archive. The facade will include a solid inner layer to prevent the sun from heating the building up.
OMA wins competition to design huge Manchester arts venue The Factory
MANCHESTER, U.K. — Rem Koolhaas' firm OMA is to build its first major public building in the UK after winning an international competition to design The Factory in Manchester. The £110 million project will create a major new theatre and arts venue in northern England. The building will be called The Factory, after the highly influential Manchester record label that represented both Joy Divison and New Order. According to the team behind the project, it will be able to host multiple performances simultaneously, with combined audiences of up to 7,000 people. "The Factory will make and present a wide range of art forms and culture, incorporating theatre, music, dance, technology, film, TV, media and live relays, scientific advancements and the connections between all of these – under one roof," said a statement. "The Factory will be a new kind of large-scale venue that captures the extraordinary creative vision and depth of Manchester's cultural life."
Royal College of Art to build £100 million design and technology campus in south London
LONDON, U.K. — The RCA is set to expand with another new campus near its existing buildings in Battersea, after the UK government pledged to contribute funding for the project in its autumn spending statement. The London design school's 15,000-square-metre centre in Battersea will host a range of new courses focusing on the crossover between design, science and technology. New programmes at the campus will focus on robotics, wearable technology, smart materials and city design. It will also house a number of startup businesses as part of the school's Innovation RCA incubator programme, which aims to help graduates become entrepreneurs. The school's existing Fashion and Textiles departments will also move from Kensington, completing plans outlined in 2011 to move the RCA's School of Materials to Battersea. The facility will provide space for 1,500 students and startup staff. It will occupy a former industrial site close to the school's recently completed Woo Building, the Dyson Building and Clore Innovation Centre, and the Sackler fine arts building, all designed by London architecture firm Haworth Tompkins.
provisional Pompidou for Spain
MALAGA, SPAIN — Since last spring, Malaga in Spain has hosted the first "Provisional Pompidou Center" in the world in which you will see a hundred works on loan and several temporary exhibitions from the Pompidou Center in Paris, France. The museum is located in an existing space in the building known as The Cube at the town pier. Municipal architects Javier Perez de la Fuente and Juan Antonio Marin Malavé have adapted an exhibition area to this space. It is an almost rectangular building with two levels having a lengthwise space as a large double height hall. The space has a 12 x 12m area in the centre that is illuminated from the upper glass cube, which has already become a symbol of the new pier. The cube is made up of dozens of coloured glass panels by the French artist Daniel Buren.
Columbus Museum of Art Adds Bold New Expansion to Its 1931 Building
OHIO, USA — A $37.6 million expansion and renovation at the Columbus Museum of Art, in Ohio, recently concluded after two years of construction. With a new wing and significantly augmented gallery space, the museum will have more beautifully modern space to showcase its collection of 13,500 artworks. Columbus-based architecture firm DesignGroup was tasked with the project. The team added the Margaret M. Walter Wing, a 50,000-square-foot, two-story extension that will better accommodate contemporary works, which often are large and need breathing room within an installation. The new wing has a base of limestone panels and is topped by a long, rectangular tube—encased in panels of green-patinated copper—that cantilevers boldly at both ends, giving the structure a sense of energy.
Architecture should not-be comforting says Daniel Libeskind
New York, USA — "Architecture is a field of repression," according to Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, who says that architects need to be more confrontational with their buildings. The New York-based architect – who is behind the Ground Zero masterplan and the Jewish Museum in Berlin – believes it is vital that commemorative architecture reflects the brutality of atrocities rather than repressing it. But he said that architects are often forced to conform their designs to fit expectations of what a building should offer. "Architecture is a field of repression. You repress almost everything to produce a building. Everything is repressed because it has to fit into the context, it has to appeal to clients, it has to be normal," said Libeskind.
PODCAST: Defining Danish architecture...
New York, USA — Today we go to New York to catch up with Danish Architect, Louis Becker, Design Director and Principal Partner at Copenhagen based Henning Larsen Architects. Louis talks to us about the unique brand that is Danish Architecture, its historical roots and his personal mission to put Danish Architecture on the world map.
The new tech allowing blind people to ‘see' art
HELSINKI, FINLAND — Those of us with sight take it for granted that we can easily experience visual art, from ancient to new media, and every style and medium in between. But what about those with various levels of visual impairment, who may have been born fully blind or missed their chance at visiting The Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City when they had fully functioning eyesight? Marc Dillon, an open source enthusiast and software programmer from Helsinki, Finland, thinks he's found a way around the problem with Unseen Art. Dillon describes the project, which is currently raising funds on Indiegogo, as 3D-printed art for the visually impaired and blind. But Unseen Art is much bigger than a simple startup. Dillon, who is Unseen Art's program manager and evangelist, sees it as a global open source program where various artists and other creatives can volunteer to 3D model classical paintings like a Vincent Van Gogh self portrait, or even Michelangelo's statue of David. These 3D-printed classical works will then both touched and felt by the visually impaired, both in exhibitions and in people's homes.
How to Visit the British Museum Without Going to London
LONDON, U.K. — The British Museum has a vaunted reputation as one of the world's largest, best museums. Unless you have a lavish travel budget, however, the London-based gallery can seem as remote as the ancient history it contains. But now, reports the AFP, the museum's priceless artifacts can be toured with Google Street View. The project is part of a new partnership between Google and the British Museum, which will digitize everything from Celtic life in Britain and rare Chinese scrolls and offer virtual strolls through the museum's impressive interior. More than 4,500 artifacts will be available, according to a museum press release. Though the British Museum has been in existence since 1753, its mission of becoming "the museum of the world" has always been a challenge. The museum's departing director Neil MacGregor tells The Guardian's Mark Brown that the goal was "an Enlightenment fantasy" that became attainable with the internet, which allows the museum to stage unique virtual exhibits and up-close views of the ancient objects within its collection.
[see also British Museum opens to whole world after 262 years as it invites Street View indoors, The Telegraph, 12 November 2015]
How DNA Technology Could Help Prevent Art Fraud
ALBANY, NY, USA — In the past several decades, the use of DNA technology has transformed the world of criminal justice. Now, thanks to the work of scientists, artists, curators, insurance experts, and lawyers at the i2M Standards initiative of the Global Center of Innovation at the University at Albany, similar DNA technology could be used to thwart art forgeries, the New York Times reported. i2M Standards is in the process of developing synthetic DNA labels that will be added to the works of prominent artists, serving as a kind of fingerprint or serial number and offering proof of authenticity. The method could help ameliorate an age-old plague — experts say as much as half of the international art market could be comprised of fakes. The first phase of i2M Standards' DNA tagging initiative is set to roll out early next year. Forty contemporary artists are on board, including Chuck Close, Michelene Thomas, and Eric Fischl, who has had his share of experience with forged works.
The high-tech museums of the future
NEW YORK, USA — This summer, the Manhattan museum started experimenting with a telepresence robot, whose official name is BeamPro SPS, in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians. "We were thinking of ways to make it more current and relevant to visitors," Cohen says. "These communities are very alive and well and have vibrant cultures today, but with a lot of representations of culture in museums, sometimes it gets a little remote and seems to be something in the past." Enter BeamPro SPS. In experiments, the robot is manned by a curator at the Haida Gwaii Museum, thousands of miles away in Canada. The curator, a living, breathing representation of the cultures on display, greets visitors and offers to give them a guided tour of the objects, answer questions, and talk about their own traditions.
Museum Specimens Find New Life Online
BERLIN, GERMANY — In a brightly lit room on the third floor of the Museum of Natural History here, stacks of wooden drawers are covered in glass, some panes so dusty that it is difficult to discern exactly what's inside. When the glass is removed, rows of carefully pinned insects are revealed, gleaming in brilliant colors like precious jewels. The biologist Alexander Kroupa plucks an amethyst-colored beetle from the drawers with metal pincers. "Amazing, right?" he said. "As beautiful as the day they were collected." Mr. Kroupa and 14 colleagues are in the midst of a vast undertaking: digitizing and publishing online the museum's entire collection of insects, including high-definition 3-D images of thousands of particularly important specimens. The researchers here are not alone. Museums around the globe are trying to harness the power of digital technology to make available collections that have long lain dormant on shelves and in dusty cabinets.
Art sector dominated by the middle class, survey finds
LONDON, U.K. — "The arts sector is a closed shop where most people are middle class," according to a survey published this week by Create, an organisation that explores the ways artists can contribute to the lives of people in cities. The Panic! survey found that 76% of respondents working in the arts had at least one parent working in a managerial or professional job while they were growing up and that over half had at least one parent with a degree while growing up. "When this is paired with the fact that nearly 90% of respondents had worked for free at some point in their career, the Panic! research paints a bleak picture that if young people don't have parents that are able to support them in their pursuit of a creative career then it is extremely hard to break into the industry," the report says.
Asylum for artefacts: Paris's plan to protect cultural treasures from terrorists
PARIS, FRANCE — We've had an era of "cultural diplomacy", when museums aspired to spread global goodwill. Now, as Isis continues to attack both humans and human heritage, it's time for a more hard-headed approach – the defence of civilisation and its treasures. And France is leading the way. Jean-Luc Martinez, the president of the Louvre, has drawn up a 50-point plan to protect cultural treasures around the world. He was asked to do so by President François Hollande and one of his key recommendations – that France offer "asylum" for artefacts under threat – is immediately being pushed through as law. France is right to recognise the central place of culture in the struggle against the societal poison of Isis.
We went to Tehran to see the secret Warhols
TEHRAN, IRAN — Inside the rotunda of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, a circular walkway spirals down from the street level, like an underground version of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York. A series of galleries branches out from there, giving up astonishing secrets from one of the finest—if forgotten—collections of 20th century art in the world. A show this fall included abstract expressionist paintings by Kandinsky, Motherwell, Pollock, Rothko, and Stella, to name just a few from the museum's vault. Sculptures by Ernst, Giacometti, Magritte, and Moore are on permanent display in the garden. The corkscrew-shaped foyer wraps around a giant Calder mobile—its playful red shapes glinting in midair beneath the stern glares of Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei in portraits above.
UK and Russia Agree to Major Cultural Exchange
INTERNATIONAL — London's National Portrait Gallery and Moscow's State Tretyakov Gallery have agreed to an artistic exchange, through which the institutions will loan some of their most renown portraits to one another. The agreement, honoring the 160th anniversaries of both galleries, will give Moscovites the chance to see such portraits of such iconic British figures as Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. In exchange, The National Portrait Gallery will display portraits of such historic Russians as Leo Tolstoy, Modest Mussorgsky and Pytor Tchaikovsky. Zelfira Tregulova, director of the State Tretyakov Gallery, remarked that the exchange of such major historical portraits represented the "start of a bright new chapter in the history of cultural cooperation between our two countries."
Why Italy turned to crowdfunding to preserve its culture
ITALY — Recent developments in the management of cultural funding in Italy could be the first positive rumblings in a seismic shift in how Italians view their responsibility towards their patrimony. One is a new law, Art Bonus, aimed to encourage both individual and corporate patrons to invest in the restoration of cultural entities by offering a tax bonus equal to a deduction of 65% of their donation. The law also gives a 30% tax credit to tourist structures when they invest in renovation or updating. "Bringing the culture of patronage here will take time," said Culture and Tourism Minister Dario Franceschini, while recently promoting the incentive. "But the results of Art bonus for Italy are absolutely positive, even extraordinary, especially given they were achieved in an experimental stage without a publicity campaign."
Mayor announces plan for Central District arts district
SEATTLE, WA, USA — The mayor's office announced this week that the draft ordinance to create the new Central District arts is moving forward. "The Central Area is has made enormous contributions to Seattle's cultural identity, from the music of Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones to the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute," Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement announcing the legislation. "The neighborhood's arts heritage is felt far beyond our city boundaries. This designation honors our history and nurtures the Central Area arts community for the next generation." CHS reported on the new initiative earlier this month as groups including Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, the Northwest African American Museum, Africatown, and the Seattle Black Arts Alliance held a community meeting to help give shape to the new district. "We don't want to just become a museum. We don't want to be erased. We do want to preserve that legacy and stimulate more interest in how the CD can become more of a hub for black art and culture," Vivian Phillips, director of marketing and communications for the Seattle Theater Group told CHS. The Central District has been a hub for black art, business, and community. Following months of discussion and organizing among Central District African American arts advocates, the designation legislation is planned to begin its path through City Hall in December.
Cities must reinvent the way that they support culture, says report
LONDON, U.K. — Cities need to reinvent the way they support culture and do more than just promote famous buildings and international festivals, said a report from the World Cities Forum — a group of cultural policymakers from 32 cities. The report, compiled and researched BOP Consulting, said that in order to avoid making culture the preserve of the elite, cultural policy leaders need to "nurture the cultural capability of the whole of a city" and work with a range of people. Richard Naylor, a director at BOP, told the Museums Journal that many large cultural institutions like museums, galleries, concert halls and opera houses "came out of an 18th or 19th century version of culture that was the result of a very particular set of historical and geographical circumstances – a white, European enlightenment project." "They now operate in a much more multicultural, diverse, globalised and inclusive environment and have to be able to adapt accordingly," Naylor added.
Yukon conference focuses on First Nations cultural tourism
WHITEHORSE, YU, CANADA — Hone Mihaka, who runs a tour company in New Zealand, admits that people in his Maori community used to be skeptical of tourism. "Fifty years ago our culture was being exploited by tourism companies," Mihaka said. "Now that we have become more and more savvy with the tourism industry, we are starting to take control." Mihaka is in Whitehorse this week to inspire Yukon first nations to similarly take control of a lucrative industry — aboriginal cultural tourism. He's a guest speaker at the "Sharing Our Stories" conference, organized by the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association. 'Tourism isn't something to be feared,' said Hone Mihaka, who runs a tourism business in New Zealand. He's in Whitehorse to speak at the conference. (Karen Vallevand/CBC) The goal is to build the industry in Yukon while ensuring that indigenous communities benefit and are not "commodified." "Our landscapes mean nothing to [tourists] unless we're there providing the stories of those cultural landscapes," Mihaka said. Ruth Massie, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), agrees. "It is important that people know our story is the story of the Yukon," Massie said. Tourists, she said, "want the real deal when they visit."
project reimagines area under Gardiner with paths, cultural spaces
TORONTO, ON, CANADA — For decades, the Gardiner Expressway has been a barrier between downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario. That promises to change in 2017, as a 10-acre space under the highway becomes a network of pathways and gathering places that binds a fast-growing part of the city together. This is the promise of a bold new public-space project, which will be formally announced on Tuesday morning. Supported by a $25-million private donation, the initiative will remake an area under the Gardiner – stretching over 1.75 kilometres – into a place unlike any other in the city. Called Project: Under Gardiner, it would combine a walking and cycling trail with covered public spaces that can be used for markets, meetings and performances. "It's not just a park, and it's not just a trail," Adam Nicklin, a partner at the landscape architecture firm PUBLIC WORK and one of the lead designers, told me last week. "It is a series of spaces that can be a showcase for all that is exciting about Toronto."
Philadelphia becomes the first World Heritage City in the U.S.
PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA — America's birthplace is the country's first World Heritage City, putting it on par with Jerusalem, Cairo, Paris and other places recognized for their impacts on the course of human events. The Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) voted on Philadelphia's candidacy Friday at its biennial conference in Arequipa, Peru. Philadelphia, the nation's fifth largest city, qualifies because Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Declaration of Independence was signed at Independence Hall in 1776. Four years later, the Articles of Confederation, which united the 13 colonies, were ratified. The U.S. Constitution was debated and signed at Independence Hall in 1787, with George Washington presiding. "The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history and have also had a profound impact on lawmakers around the world," according to UNESCO's website.
Creating Cultural Capital|