Saturday, July 23, 2016

Google’s New App Brings Hundreds of Museums to Your Phone

Liz Stinston, Wired
July 22, 2016

Not everyone can visit Sicily’s Valley of the Temples, home to some of the world’s oldest examples of classic Greek architecture. Nor can they view the soft colors of Claude Monet’s “Tiger Lilies” in person at Tokyo’s National Museum of Western Art. Despite being made for the masses, art and culture are often inaccessible. Google’s Cultural Institute wants to change that. In the past five years, the initiative has teamed up with more than 1,100 institutions to bring artwork, artifacts, and 360-degree museum tours online. This week, in an update to its Arts & Culture app, the company turns your phone into a powerful portal for accessing and experiencing that art.

The app (for Android and iOS) officially launched last year, but the newest iteration comes with two key additions: Google Cardboard tours for 2o locations (including the Valley of the Temples), and a new tool called Art Recognizer that turns your museum visit into a multimedia experience.

More here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

9/11 Museum to Open Its First Art Exhibition in September

Colin Moynihan, The New York Times
July 14, 2016 For two years, the National September 11 Memorial Museum, built at ground zero, has presented visitors with a collection that reflects the moments of horror and heroism 15 years ago when terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center.

Now the museum is moving beyond its array of mainly historical items to include for the first time an exhibition of artworks created as a response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

The show, “Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11,” opens Sept. 12 in the special exhibits gallery, the inaugural use of that space. It will include “Tumbling Woman,” a bronze sculpture by Eric Fischl; some 840 pieces of a nearly 3,000-piece painting installation by Manju Shandler representing each victim of the attacks; and four pieces by Ejay Weiss that mix ash from the site with black acrylic paint and that are meant to evoke the collapse of the towers.

The exhibition is evidence of the museum’s interest in complementing its collection of artifacts and archives and an acknowledgment that expanding its scope could add visitors.

“There was always the idea that the museum would have a series of temporary exhibits,” Alice M. Greenwald, the museum’s director, said by phone on Tuesday. “It’s a way to bring people back to the museum for a second time, and it’s a way to bring in people who might not choose come otherwise.”

It is also, she added, a way for the museum to present a new perspective of Sept. 11. Although the museum included one commissioned work, by the artist Spencer Finch, when it opened in 2014, it has functioned mainly as a repository for material that documents the attacks on the World Trade Center.

About 1,000 items from the museum’s collection of more than 11,000, including surveillance footage of the hijackers passing through airports; digital copies, projected onto walls, of homemade posters seeking missing people; and a fire truck with a burned-out cab are displayed in the almost entirely subterranean museum, built where the foundations of the Twin Towers were carved into the earth. That material, sometimes resembling evidence presented in a criminal trial, can have an overwhelming effect on visitors.

More here.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Copenhagen’s Glyptotek Agrees to Return Looted Items to Italy

ArtNet News
Amah-Rose Abrams, July 7, 2016

Copenhagen’s Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek has agreed to restitute looted objects from its collection to Italy after a lengthy negotiation that will see a series of loans from the Italian Cultural Ministry to the leading Danish institution.

The items to be returned to Italy are a seventh century calesse, an ornate parade wagon, and other funerary objects that were purchased by the museum in 1970 from a Swiss dealer named Robert Hecht. The sale took place just ahead of the introduction of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, in the same year.

Hecht is known to have worked with known smuggler Giacomo Medici at this time, who, according to art-crime blog, was convicted of dealing in stolen artifacts in 2004.

More here.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Call For Artists: Chaco Heritage Project, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

Call For Artists!

The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology launches the Chaco Heritage Project. Ten artists will be selected through a juried process to participate in a five-day residency at UNM.

All Native Artists from New Mexico are encouraged to apply. Applications must include an artist statement with a description of how the Chaco Heritage Project will contribute to future artwork, a current resume, three copies of four samples of artwork (digital images) and two references. Artists accepted to the project will receive a $500 honorarium during residency, mileage stipend, accommodations, and meals.

For questions about the project and to obtain an application contact:
Lea S. McChesney, PhD
Curator of Ethnology
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology


Friday, June 17, 2016

Position Announcement: Program Coordinator, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Vancouver, WA

Job Description
Reporting to the Director of Programs, the Program Coordinator is responsible for transparent communication, coordination and administration associated with the fellowship, grant and Community Inspiration project funding that form NACF’s core programming. Within the above responsibility, the Program Coordinator coordinates and conducts the project management and administration of programmatic funding from application or nomination intake through award and final report, ensuring the consistent quality and timely handling of communication materials and processes including project timelines, budgets and inputs to various information management systems. The Program Coordinator performs additional functions such as administering logistical planning and preparation for events and convenings; respectfully fielding inquiries from artists; monitoring NACF’s social media platforms for positive news about and promotion of NACF programming and the activities of awardees and outcomes of projects; and monitoring and developing small budgets. The Program Coordinator also develops and provides reports to the Director of Programs regarding project challenges and outcomes.

Time Allocated to Duties:
40% = Coordinate and communicate Community Inspiration project timelines, check requests, interim through final reports, plus continued communication with artists and culture-bearers post award period;
40% = Coordinate administration and logistics for fellowship and grant making processes from preparing calls for entry through award and reporting and tracking;
10% = Monitor social media for appropriate activities to post, share, and respond to;
5% = Coordinate fellowship advisory panels and manage panel convening logistics, coordinate grantee and artist networking and outreach; and
5% = Periodic other duties as assigned.

Required Skills and Attributes:
-Desire to produce quality work combined with an acute attention to detail.
-Capable of efficiently managing time and deadlines.
-Demonstrable project management skills including organizing project plans, milestones and timelines at the organization and artist level; high quality monitoring and project status reporting, detailed attention to data entry into various reporting formats and systems.
-Solid interpersonal communication skills and cultural sensitivity with the ability to build and maintain a deep trust and rapport with NACF’s network of artists and culture-bearers, Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tribal and non-tribal governmental entities, communities, NACF funders, and other organizations locally, regionally and nationally.
-Good oral and verbal communication skills and facility with communication tools such as MS Office.
-Technical adaptability to or experience with cloud software including Smartsheet, Box, GoToMeeting, and Westaf GO.
-General small budgeting knowledge and ability

Work Hours:
The Program Coordinator is a salaried non-exempt position with a 47-hour workweek with halftime paid over 40 hours up to 47 hours and time-and-a-half thereafter. NACF is a flexible, virtual office environment where employees may work from where they choose with regular meeting space provided in Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR. Employees are provided with computers, a printer, a phone and other necessary equipment and supplies. Primary business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm, Pacific Time and all employees must be available to meet in person during these hours, schedule permitting.

Equipment Use:
Personal computers, standard office equipment and tools

Mental and Physical Requirements:
Duties require the use of considerable initiative and judgment. Requires working under minimal supervision and direction. Requires working under multiple deadlines and pressure. Requires good communication skills; verbal, oral and written with supervisor, co-workers and clients. At times, may require dealing with difficult people or situations effectively. Requires supervision of work and training of staff; establishing and maintaining cooperative and productive work relationships. Must be a team player.

Minimum Qualifications:

-Baccalaureate degree from an accredited university.
-Three to five years of progressive experience in a small but highly regarded private or public sector organization.
-Paid or volunteer experience working in the arts.

Desired Qualifications:
-Direct experience with grant making.
-In-depth knowledge of American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native arts, cultures, histories, and protocols, and social justices issues pertaining thereto.
-A personal network of Native artist or arts organizations within the fifty United States.

Additional Expectations:
-Travel nationally is required and may include weekends.

All activities must comply with NACF policies and procedures. 

Company Rights:
The above information has been designated to indicate the general nature and level of work performed for this position. It is not to be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications of the employee assigned to this job. This job description does not constitute an employment contract. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

An Equal Opportunity Employer

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Smithsonian and V&A to collaborate on exhibition space

BBC News
13 June 2016

The Smithsonian has announced plans to work together with the Victoria and Albert Museum on a major international collaboration in London.

A jointly organised permanent gallery space will become part of V&A East, in a cultural complex created in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

It will be the first time in 170 years the Smithsonian has opened a long-term exhibition venue outside of the US.

The Smithsonian's collection includes 137 million artefacts.

"We will be able to inspire and educate more people than ever before," said Smithsonian secretary David Skorton.

"With the V&A in London, we can build bridges to other countries and continents and share our work with the world."

More here.

Call for Papers: Museums and Their Publics at Sites of Conflicted History, International Conference, 13-15 March 2017

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, Poland 

Museums of history face a particular challenge in societies that have experienced conflict and violence in recent memory, radical geopolitical and ideological change, and socio-economic and technological challenges. Multiple and rival historical perspectives characterize the dynamics of public memory in these societies. Differing narratives of the past are told either in parallel, or appear in open conflict with each other, while memories still hidden and silent await their midwives for their public articulation at the right juncture.

Divided memories are characteristic of post-communist Europe and in other regions that have experienced totalitarian regimes, wars, mass violence (ethnic cleansing, population transfers), radical border changes, and other disruptions. The present day brings additional tensions: liberal democratic societies in the West are called on to respond to global crises, the massive population shifts that ensue, and creation of new national and ethnic minorities within multinational and ethnonational states. In some societies, attempts at expanding democracy and human rights, through such mechanisms as truth and reconciliation commissions, bring new waves of difficult knowledge into public circulation, challenging long-held national narratives enshrined both on the walls of major museums and in the minds of many visitors.

The purpose of this conference is to explore these issues in relation to the changing character and role of museums today. POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw is a prime site for such a conference, given the complex history it presents. While seeking to offer an authoritative historical account, without it being authoritarian, museums such as POLIN offer an open narrative in multiple voices and invite the public to play an active part in interpreting historical processes and events. The exhibition itself, using a variety of media, offers an experience that is at once thought provoking, sensory, emotional, and memorable. Projects and events such as performances, workshops, debates, and lectures invite the public to add their experiences and voices. Curating historical narratives is thus a collaborative, inclusive, and dynamic process.

Museums have a responsibility to those whose story they tell, as well as to their publics and stakeholders. As institutions of public history, they aim to build lasting relationships with their audiences, both local and international. This is especially important in post-communist and post- conflict societies, where museums can play important roles in building a robust civil society and in bringing history – and historical debate – into the public domain.

The conference will explore the role of museums in negotiating new public histories in societies in transition, as old narratives and historical policies are questioned and stories once silenced are given voice. Of special interest is how the historical narratives constructed in museums help to shape new social relations in a dynamically changing present.

Scholars in various disciplines (anthropology, sociology, history, memory studies, museology, art history, and political science, among others) and museum professionals, including curators and museum educators, are invited to discuss the role of museums in negotiating contested histories in relation to their publics.

Send abstracts, maximum 300 words, and short bio to: 

Deadline: 15th of September 2016. 

Academic Committee:
Professor Bruce Altshuler (New York University)
Professor Dorota Folga-Januszewska (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw) Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (POLIN Museum, Chair)
Dr. Gabriel Koureas (Birkbeck University of London) Dr. hab. Iwona Kurz (University of Warsaw) Professor Erica Lehrer (Concordia University)
Dr. Małgorzata Pakier (POLIN Museum, Conference Convener)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Position Announcement: Director of Exhibitions, San Diego Musuem of Man

Department: Exhibits
Date: June 2016
Position Status: Full-Time
FLSA Status: Exempt

General Statement:
The San Diego Museum of Man is seeking a full-time Director of Exhibits to lead our talented and dynamic Exhibits team. The Director of Exhibits oversees and stewards all facets of the Museum’s collaborative exhibit development process and advocates for the visitor experience through management of design, content, and production. In partnership with the Deputy Director, the Director of Exhibits develops and implements projects that reflect and enhance the Museum’s Mission, Vision and Model for Transformation as part of our ongoing interpretive and master planning process.

Summary of Responsibilities:
-Reporting to the Deputy Director, the Director of Exhibits sets the highest standards of leadership, creativity, collaboration, and productivity performing the following:
-Advocates for the Museum’s values and priorities through implementation of exhibit and other assigned projects during interpretive planning; confers with executive team, Board, staff, and invited thought partners to develop exhibits and experiences that enhance Museum’s vision for transformation
-Supervises the work of the Exhibit Developer, Exhibit Designer, Graphic Designer, and Exhibit Fabrication Manager to ensure that the quality of the exhibits and signature experiences meet the highest standards for accessibility, aesthetics, and content
-Oversees the general department budget and specific budget(s) for exhibits and signature experiences: manages the contracts and contracting process that impact exhibits production, including but not limited to construction and multi-media licensing; forecasts and reports the expenditures for development, prototyping, fabrication/ production and maintenance needs of the exhibits department
-With the executive leadership, supports fundraising and donor/sponsor cultivation efforts of the Museum: attends and presents at special after-hours events that focus on exhibit projects; organizes exclusive behind-the-scenes exhibits tours for VIPs; promotes the Museum’s interpretive planning projects in the greater San Diego community
-With the executive leadership and Exhibit Developer, determines future exhibits and exhibit schedule through a collaborative selection and evaluation process
-With the Director of Operations, engages partners and contractors to meet the needs of the architectural and interpretive plans and business development opportunities
-With the Director of Education and Public Engagement, determines and delivers programmatic content as it pertains to exhibits and experiences: delegates appropriate Exhibits staff to assist Education with collateral, tour and training content development, and special programs

Qualifications and Experiences:

-Minimum 7 years creative leadership experience in exhibit, theater, media, or events design or related field; substantial experience with creative project development processes and staff management
-Strong operational and project management skills and background, with experience optimizing productivity and efficiency in collaborative processes involving multiple stakeholders; budget, analytics, and contract management experience
-Expertise with 2D and 3D visual design and design tools (e.g., SketchUp, InDesign, VectorWorks/ AutoCAD)
-Familiarity with exhibit, manual and digital interactives, and/ or props fabrication and general construction timelines, materials, and processes
-Excellent verbal and written communication skills and proven ability to communicate complex ideas with a diverse range of audiences using presentation software and other audio-visual aids
-Proficiency with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
-Experience with branding and establishment of visual identity preferred
-Experience with evaluation methodologies and tools a plus

Desired Characteristics:

-Proven leadership and management skills and dedication to motivating him/ herself and team to achieve the highest standards in all facets of exhibit projects; ability to build consensus and foster a creative environment while adhering to principles of accountability, integrity, and discipline
-Passion for effecting change in a multi-cultural and multi-faceted environment, both in the work place and in the community, and for modeling positivity, sensitivity, and flexibility
Intellectually curiosity and sense of humor a must

The San Diego Museum of Man is an equal opportunity employer and a drug free workplace. Please send cover letter, resume, and a portfolio, either as a PDF or a link, to Ben Garcia,, with “Director of Exhibits” and your first and last name in the subject line. No phone calls, please.