enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

You Didn't Get This (Fine Art) From Me: Boston MFA to Lend More Art to Bellagio

Does it matter if the museum lending the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art great art doesn't want to share its name on the exhibition title? Not really, but it is fun to make a big fuss about it. The Boston Globe's article about the next chapter in the Museum of Fine Arts/Bellagio art story touches upon that big fuss and the continuing criticism about the crass commercialism of the arrangement. The next show, The Impressionist Landscape from Corot to van Gogh, consists of 35 paintings and this Exhibition Checklist (PDF) has all the works' titles, artists and lender info. . .

"Gift of Miss Amelia Peabody
Bequest of William A. Coolidge
Bequest of Mrs. Henry Lee Higginson, Sr., in memory of her husband"

One would have to wonder what the blue-blooded Ms. Peabody, Mr. Coolidge, and Mrs. Henry Lee Higginson, Sr. would have thought of their art hanging in a house of gaming in the middle of the American desert. But chances are all those people are dead, so who cares.

Anyways, this Fred A. Bernstein article, A Loan That Keeps on Paying, seems to find that the criticism leveled at the non-profit/for-profit venture may reflect concerns that small/less prestigious museums could be squeezed out of future exhibitions if they don't have equally great art to lend in return. Many museums simply break-even when lending art and exhibitions to other institutions, and this for-profit model looks like a bad trend in the making.

But really, Vegas is Vegas after all. And the criticism is just another way of saying, "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think."* Any city that benefited from vice, crime and mob largess doesn't deserve to be anything more than what it once was. Right, Chicago, New York, Boston?

posted by Mr. Kimberly at


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