Month: August 2012

Seeking Scientists to Improve Museums?

posted by – 08/22/12 @ 3:41pm

The idea of sitting several scientists down at a table to brainstorm ways to increase interest in museums may seem a bit unusual, but Christie’s is experimenting with this method with the Arts Consortium, “a new think tank for museum professionals” that they will be funding. Headed by Laurie Winters, the former Milwaukee Art Museum Director, the concept of the think tank is to bring in art world outsiders to provide a fresh take on improving art organizations. The first four topics that the consortium will be tackling include “alternative ways of financing museums, attendees’ short attention spans, new ways to use technology, and art critics”. Both behavioral economists and neuroscientists will be consulted on issues like the decreasing attention span of museum audiences and how to better approach putting together exhibitions with things like this in mind. Hopefully this approach will enable museums and even galleries to be able to better understand their audiences and enable them to tailor their exhibitions in a way that will make them more successful. Do you think that neuroscientists will be able to come up with the much needed solutions to many of the problems that museums are currently facing?


Source: Artinfo


Public donations keep a Manet painting in Britain’s collection

posted by – 08/11/12 @ 4:38pm

One of the great things about our first Saturday of the month art crawls is seeing the huge range of people that come in. It’s always fun seeing the diverse crowd that comes out because whether it’s serious collectors looking to make a purchase or young Nashvillians looking for something new to do, everyone is here because they’re enthusiastic about art (or maybe just accompanying someone who is, but we love that too). That’s why I really enjoyed this article about Edouard Manet’s “Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus” (considered to be a British national treasure) which was recently prevented from being handed over to a private buyer due largely to public donations “ranging from £1.50 to £10,000”. The painting has been in Britain since 1884, and because of a public appeal by the Ashmolean Museum, enough awareness was raised to keep the painting from becoming part of a private foreign collection. The final donation was even made by an 11-year old girl, showing the depths of the public attachment to the painting.

The final benefactor (Courtesy Art and Coin TV)

Fisk University gives up 50% of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection

posted by – 08/09/12 @ 2:40pm

Though it’s always interesting to follow the various legal battles that take place over art whether due to disputes over rightful ownership or authenticity, it’s even more compelling when the controversy takes place in your own city. Whether you’ve been following the story throughout its lengthy trajectory or not, a decision was recently reached with regards to the Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Modern American and European Art at Nashville’s own Fisk University. The collection, which consists of 101 objects, was originally presented to the university in 1949 by Georgia O’Keeffe, with 97 of the pieces coming from Stieglitz’s personal art collection and four owned by O’Keeffe herself. O’Keeffe presented Fisk with the collection to recognize the school’s devotion to educating black students during a time of segregation, and did so with the stipulation that the collection never be sold or broken up.

Throughout the past several years however, Fisk has encountered intense financial difficulty, forcing the school to consider selling the collection in order to ensure that they could continue to operate. In what sounds like a very fair decision , the Tennessee Supreme Court just upheld the ruling that Fisk will be allowed to sell a fifty percent share of the collection while still retaining ownership of it. This fifty percent share goes to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, who in turn is paying Fisk $30 million.

So what does a fifty percent share in an art collection mean anyhow? For every two out of four years, the collection will be on display at Fisk, while spending the other two years in Crystal Bridges. Though it may seem like a great agreement, state lawyers fought for the entire collection to remain in Nashville, arguing that because O’Keeffe’s stipulations were not followed, future benefactors would be discouraged. Though it’s unfortunate that O’Keeffe’s wishes weren’t able to be entirely honored, the sharing agreement allows for Fisk to stay open while giving greater exposure to the collection, “a stunning survey of modern art from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century” including artists like Cezanne, Renoir, and Picasso, and Walton has even pledged an additional $1 million to improve the collection’s display facilities.


The Carl Van Vechten Gallery at Fisk where the collection is housed

Big Changes Coming to Fifth Avenue North

posted by – 08/02/12 @ 3:12pm

Beginning this summer, the area of 5th Avenue North between Church and Union Streets, home to over 20 galleries including the Tinney Contemporary, is undergoing a major makeover. Metro Public Works will be completely updating the block’s streetscape, transforming the area into what will be known as the 5th Avenue North Arts District. Over the course of the next six months the city will perform improvements such as installing LED light curtains to drape across the street, widen the sidewalks, plant new landscaping and create pedestrian areas along the road.

Apart from just physical improvements, the city is also seeking to reinvent the newly dubbed Arts District by putting out a national call to artists for a piece of public art to commemorate the block’s connection with the Civil Rights Movement. What regular gallery-goers may not know is that in February of 1960 students from Nashville’s four black colleges and seminaries launched a non-violent sit-in campaign at the Arcade right across the street from Tinney Contemporary. These sit-ins became known as the Nashville Movement, and in order to draw more attention to this aspect of Nashville’s history while also continuing to further enhance the Arts District the city is now beginning the process of commissioning artists to create a piece of art to be installed in October 2013. Interestingly, Nashville doesn’t currently have any public monuments honoring the civil rights era, and this piece of future art will be a welcome addition to 5th Avenue North. The specifics for submissions for the $75,000 art project can be found here.

Tinney Contemporary has already started making our own changes to the block – this past weekend we put up a brand new hanging sign outside of the gallery, and we’re very excited about the effect that these coming transformations will have on the presence of the Arts District in downtown Nashville.


A mock-up of the future 5th Avenue North Arts District



James Croak’s “Dirt Man” at Cheekwood

posted by – 08/01/12 @ 2:33pm

Tinney Contemporary artist James Croak has a twenty-five year history of producing staggering sculptural work that uses imaginative and resourceful materials such as latex, tar, rubber, and dirt. Croak’s dirt sculptures are made with dirt gathered from a multitude of places combined with a resin-like holding material that binds the dirt together to create a solid form similar to concrete. Among these pieces is the phenomenal “Dirt Man.” The sculpture, loaded with allegory while maintaining a quality of absolute serenity that feels positively ghostly, has a captivating presence that is unforgettable. Currently installed at Cheekwood, the environment “Dirt Man” has been placed in thoroughly increases the intrigue of the piece. Make sure to stop by while it’s out there!