Boca Raton Museum of Art
501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432
In Mizner Park
T: 561.392.2500 F: 561.391.6410
Tues, Wed & Fri
Saturday & Sunday
Mondays & holidays
10AM - 5PM
10AM - 8PM
NOON - 5PM
|Tuesday, July 7, 2009|
|End of Kodachrome: Reminder of connection between "The Afghan Girl" and the Museum|
Eastman Kodak Co. has announced it will put Kodachrome into
the discontinued bin, where it joins Polaroid in the retirement community for storied, but outdated,
A recent Palm Beach Post article about the demise of the beloved,
if increasingly obsolete, film stock sparked some discussion at the Boca Raton
Museum of Art. The story was accompanied by an image of Steve McCurry's iconic Afghan
Girl, a compelling portrait
originally photographed on Kodachrome and reproduced on a 1985 cover of
This turned a few heads at the Museum, as we are fortunate
enough to own a large print of Afghan Girl in our Permanent Collection. Our
piece - which was a gift of the artist in 2008 - is a stunning Fuji Crystal
Archive print. The Museum originally displayed a version of Afghan Girl in the
summer 2004 exhibition Steve McCurry: Photographs of Asia, which was made
possible by McCurry and Richard Coplan.
McCurry's image made for one of the most stirring covers in
National Geographic's history, but a glossy magazine reprint can hardly do
justice to the piece. The Museum's 21 ¼
x 14 1/8 inch print reveals the depth captured by McCurry's lens,
including the detail of the girl's frayed garment and the stark intensity of
her pale, piercing eyes.
Incidentally, if you're unfamiliar with the story of how
McCurry originally met the "Girl" - the then, 12-year-old Sharbat Gula - and
his long awaited and fought-for reunion with her nearly two decades later, NPR did a wonderful
piece on the subject in 2002. The provided link includes an audio recording of the report.
Afghan Girl can currently be seen in Camera Work:
Photography from the Permanent Collection, on display in the Museum's second
floor photo gallery.
|Monday, June 29, 2009|
|Where are all of the women artists?|
Intrigued by New
York Magazine art critic Jerry Salz's investigation and public condemnation of the percentage of women artists found in the Museum of Modern
Art's Permanent Collection, I decided to look to my own backyard and
see what I could find.
At the Boca
Raton Museum of Art - according to my own quick and dirty survey - we have 16% women artists represented in our Permanent
Collection galleries' Modern Art areas. That equals around 29 women artists to 175 men. I am somewhat happy that we have "out-suffraged"
the MOMA, (4 percent or 19 out of 383)
but 16 percent is still relatively low.
concede right at the outset that we grow our collection through donations and
we do not actively buy at auction on a regular basis by any means. Further, when speaking only of permanent
collection exhibits, we have dedicated an exhibition to women (The Other Half: Women Artists in the Collection
2005) and recently acquired on loan a very large Nancy Graves wall
sculpture that passionately announces its femininity in our Abstract Art
gallery. If you have not yet seen Canoptic
Legerdemain please visit our East Wing gallery on the second floor. The vast difference between it and the work by
the male abstract artists on display is amazing.
Still, more must be done to promote women in the arts. Mr. Salz puts it quite succinctly when he
says in his letter to Ann Temkin, Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the
To those who have
complained that installing the work of women will mean too much so-called "lesser" work will be on view. You can't develop what Oscar Wilde called "the
critical spirit" if you're mainly seeing the story as it has always been told.
Seeing only what's already been seen doesn't tell you how good or bad this work
may be. As André Malraux wrote, 'We can feel only by comparison. The Greek
genius is better understood by comparing a Greek statue to an Egyptian or
Asiatic one than by acquaintance with a hundred Greek statues'...The point is,
when it comes to being artists, women can be as bad as men. The problem is that
even now, decades after the onset of women's liberation, women aren't being
allowed to demonstrate this. I doubt that there's a conscious effort to keep
women from showing, yet the percentage of women exhibiting in museum PERMANENT
COLLECTIONS is grievously low.
We, of course,
- just as with the majority of Museums - seem to reflect this stagnant attitude
towards re-writing women into the history of art. As part of the Curatorial
department, all that I can say is that in my experience thus far (starting
October 2009) when installing new work into the permanent collection galleries,
there is very often discussion of actively searching out women artists to be
It makes me
proud to know that this is a subject that is considered more often than not. Of course, we cannot simply take down all the eminent
male artists on display and replace them with lesser-known women artists. Instead,
we use the gradual build approach. We actively insert more and more women artists
into our galleries in order to familiarize and teach the public about their
role in history while still supplying the community with the recognizable male
artists that they have come to appreciate over the years.
conversation about the male to female ratio of artists exhibited in museums has
been taking place for a long time. I hope it will continue to be a topic of
conversation and shape our understanding of the "canon" of art history for
years to come. This fluidity and opportunity for growth and changes in
understanding is what truly excites me about the study of art.
|Friday, June 19, 2009|
|Is there a place for art in kids' lives?|
As an art institution, we're probably a bit biased in gravitating towards news coverage and educational studies that validate our stance that the visual arts - an important aspect of society that often goes underfunded and underappreciated - are nationally experiencing troubled times.
Multiple surveys this month indicate a steady decline in the role of the arts in children's lives. And it isn't just about the economy. The New York Times released a story on June 15, 2009 reporting that the U.S. Department of Education has determined "music and art education in American eighth-grade classes" has stagnated in the last decade. One official went so far as to call the student's achievements in those areas "mediocre."
Remember all those school field trips to museums and institutions that you took as a kid? Less kids are experiencing that type of an out-of-the-box educational adventure, according to a story in the Washington Post which reports a drop in youth attendance at art institutions:
"The percentage of eighth-graders who reported that they visited an art museum or gallery with their classes dropped from 22 percent in 1997 to 16 percent in 2008."
You could perhaps, draw a parallel to a study also released this week by the National Endowment for the Arts. It found that adult interest in the visual arts seems to be falling off. According to the Washington Post, "fewer adults (are) choosing an art museum or visual arts festival as a leisure-time destination."
Key findings in the study:
- From 1992-2001, 26 percent of adults visited visual arts attractions
- In 2008, 23 percent of adults visited visual arts attractions
Though it is a rather small decline, institutions are expressing concern that it could be indicative of a coming trend "as the most loyal part of the museum audience ages." While it is easy to blame the dip in attendance on economic pressures and a cut-back on entertainment spending, it is a bit more worrisome when stacked with the statistics on kids and the arts.
It is not uncommon for art education to take a hit when underfunded schools tighten their belts, but it seems that we (as a society) owe children a venue in which to experience the visual arts at a young age, not only to enrich their minds, but also to give them a tangible opportunity to determine if the visual arts are something that they want to pursue into adulthood.
Museum education outreach programs give kids a chance to experiment with art in a fun, thoughtful manner. For its part to counter-balance the public cut-backs in art education, the BRMA reaches out to more than 10,000 students each year with:
- Lesson plans for teachers
- Field trip grants
- Student discounts
- Interactive programs like ARTful Adventure, Meet a Master, Create a Masterpiece and Family Day
- Teacher In Service programs
- Artist In Residency outreach programs
What are some other creative ways that public institutions can - and have been - reaching out to youth? We'd love to hear your ideas!
|Wednesday, June 17, 2009|
|Regional similarities and idiosyncrasies: Notes on the All Florida|
Museum staff have been working for the past couple of weeks to organize and install our summer exhibition, the 58th Annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition. This week you can see it installed in all of its glory in the lower level galleries.
The winners of the four prizes have been announced and they are:
Nadine Saitlin - Best in Show for Small Red Landscape
Nadine Saitlin, Small Red Landscape
Elena de la Ville -Judge's Merit Award for We are Burning
Karen Kuykendall - Judge's Merit Award for On the Road Again...Lookin' for Black Bears...Songs Along the Highway #3
Valeria Yamamoto - Judge's Merit Award for Tripod.
These pieces reflect the juror Roy Slade's effort to include works that encapsulate past and current trends in art created with many different media.
These works are joined in the gallery by 56 more pieces created exclusively by Florida artists. Although there are less works this year than last year, I feel that each work is now afforded its own space so that one can view each in its own right rather than deal with many pieces jostling for a viewer's attention. The layout has more of an austere, traditional art gallery feel to it rather than the salon-style layout.
(L-R) Views of the 54th All Florida; 55th All Florida and 58th All Florida
If you would like to see more of your fellow artists' work (including a 20-foot inflatable cloud, a Mexican slaughterhouse and a "Botticelli Barbie") come check out the Museum during our summer hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 12 p.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
|Friday, June 5, 2009|
|Arts funding: "It's about the economy stupid" and so much more|
Why should the strength and growth of the nation's 100,000 cultural arts institutions be a national priority?
The answer is multi-layered. Not only do these institutions help to "define who we are as a people" and offer insight into our societal past, present and future, they are a positive driving force of our economy.
According to a 2007 Arts & Economic Prosperity report, the arts have an annual total economic impact of $166 billion, not to mention the 5.7 million jobs and nearly $30 billion in tax revenue the industry generates as cited in the June 8, 2009 issue of Time Magazine. In Boca Raton alone, the annual economic impact of the collective non-profit cultural institutions is $94.7 million, according to the 2007 Economic Impact Study conducted by the Boca Raton Cultural Consortium.
Furthermore, countless studies have demonstrated the positive educational benefits for students. A large majority of the country's top technology-based CEOs report that having various arts disciplines as an integral part of their scholastic backgrounds allowed them to expand cognitive thinking and rise to top positions within their organizations.
One subject that has scarcely been acknowledged in recent times is the value of cultural arts exchange. And as recent world events have demonstrated, it is imperative that the United States regain moral ground and restore our international standing as a world leader. This can, in part, be accomplished through further participation in global cultural exchange. This exchange has the ability to remind us that we are all a part of one human family. It also has the potential to go a long way toward establishing greater understanding and commonality among divergent cultures.
Our nation's well-being depends upon the positive impact produced by the arts sector, both domestically and internationally.
By: Bruce Herman, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Boca Raton Museum of Art
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