You know it’s bad when Chris Burden thinks driving in LA is stressful

In a new video about Metropolis II, Chris Burden’s mini-city toy car piece which has been on view at LACMA for a couple of years, the artist bemoans the stressful stop-and-go of LA traffic: “I love hearing that the cars are going 230 miles an hour,” he said. “That’s about the speed they should be running, not 23.4 miles an hour which is what my BMW says I average driving around LA.”


Metropolis II (The Movie) from Supermarché: Henry & Rel on Vimeo.

Study Reveals Gender Gap in Museum Directors

marcia tucker

New Museum founder and long-time director Marcia Tucker (second from left) with dealer Marian Goodman, curator Simon Watson and curator France Morin. Courtesy the New Museum Archives.

A joint study by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR), released yesterday, finds that museum directors that are female make lower salaries than those that are male. The study’s research considered two main questions: “What is the current state of women in art museum directorships?” and “What are some factors that may drive the gender gap?”

Some of the study’s most notable findings show that, on average, women museum directors make $0.79 to every $1.00 of their male counterparts and $0.71 to every male dollar in the top tier museums whose annual budgets exceed $15 million. However, the study also found that in the lower tiered museums, that is, those with budgets less than $15 million, women directors made more than male directors. In this segment, women directors made an average of $1.02 compared to the $1.00 for male directors.

The AAMD/NCAR study also found that the gender gap could be accounted for by the salary disadvantage dealt to directors that achieve their positions through internal promotions from within an institution. The same disadvantage falls to both men and women; however, the percentage of women promoted to director internally is greater than men, accounting for some aspect of the salary differential between their male colleagues.

As reported by the New York Times in regards to the study, many professional arts training programs formed in recent years have helped facilitate the success of more female museum curators and professionals, landing many of them directorial positions in many mid-size museums. These have helped add more diversity to the professional museum pool, even if it was a man coming out of one of those programs (the Center for Curatorial Leadership) who landed the biggest job, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which boasts a $52 million budget.

The Report on Gender Gaps in Museum Directorships, spearheaded by New Museum Director Lisa Philips, AAMD’s Professional Issues Committee Chair, was released yesterday in time for International Women’s Day.

Bergamot Station to Become Relavent Again, Maybe

As reported in the Santa Monica Daily Press, the plans for an overhaul of Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station have finally been unveiled.  The gallery complex has gotten pretty snoozy (save for a handful of the better galleries there) since arguably being the heart of the LA gallery scene in the 90s. But crafty developers, perhaps responding to the nearby Hines mega-project Bergamot Transit Village, want to fluff the old Station with a “swanky” hotel, office space, and perhaps most importantly, a new 4-storey home for the Santa Monica Museum of Art.


Ernest Silva, 1948 – 2014

Image via the San Diego Union Tribune

San Diego artist and longtime UCSD professor Ernest Silva died suddenly last week at the age of 65. In a tribute posted to culturebuzz, Robert Pincus remembers Silva’s illustrative painting style that explored a dark side of suburban life. As a longtime supporter of the San Diego art scene, Silva’s influence was perhaps most felt through his work as a teacher. Tributes from Silva’s former students have been piling up on his Facebook page, where his humor and generosity of spirit are celebrated. A memorial service will be held in the Atkinson Pavilion of the Faculty Club on the UCSD campus on Tuesday, March 4 at 4 p.m.



Mike Parker, Godfather of Helvetica, 1929-2014

mikeparkerMike Russell Parker, legendary typographer, type designer and type historian, has died at the age of 85. Credited with the development of over 1,100 typefaces, Parker is perhaps best known for introducing Helvetica to the world.

As director of the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, Parker was a fan of the “rational” Swiss style of letter design, in which, he said, “you draw the counters and let the black fall where it will.” reports Fast Company. Parker and his team took the font Neue Haas Grotesk and reworked it for Linotype’s machines, The font eventually became known as Helvetica, one of the most popular fonts in the world (used by McDonald’s, Verizon, NYC subway signs, and NASA, to name a tiny fraction). In 2007, the year of the font’s 50th anniversary, it was celebrated and strangely debated in the critically acclaimed documentary Helvetica and was the subject of the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition 50 Years of Helvetica.

Parker was born in London and originally planned to become a geologist like his father, but then decided to become a painter, but discovered he was colorblind. He graduated from Yale with an undergraduate degree in architecture and master’s in design. After working at Linotype, he co-founded Bitstream, the first company dedicated to producing digital fonts, according to He also founded Pages Software and served as historian for the Font Bureau. Parker died on Sunday, four days after suffering a stroke, after a long fight with Alzheimer’s. According to his caregiver and ex-wife, his ashes will be scattered at his family home in Massachusetts, without a tombstone.


Photo via

The Artist Shot Dead by the Movie Stars, Even

NYC artist Jon Burgerman has created a series of photographs in which he is “shot” by movie posters. A comment on gun violence in America and the violent imagery promoted by the movie industry, Burgerman’s series “Head Shots” nonetheless has a comical tinge to it — there’s no CGI realism here, but rather the ketchupy fake blood of old B movies, with Burgerman always in a yellow puffer jacket, presumably for contrast. Don’t miss the ones of him being shot by arrows from posters for Catching Fire and The Hobbit. [via the Guardian]



Washington’s Corcoran Gallery Announces Takeover Deal

corcoran-galleryThe Corcoran Gallery of Art, the oldest privately supported art museum in the US, has reached a preliminary agreement with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University (GWU) to take stewardship of its art collection, college and landmark Washington, DC building. Under the proposed three-way agreement, the Corcoran’s College of Art and Design, as well as its Beaux-Arts home near the White House, would fall to GWU.

The Corcoran’s collection of some 17,000 world-class artworks would go to the National Gallery, who will oversee exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in the building under the name Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art. They will also maintain a Corcoran Legacy Gallery, featuring works closely associated with the Corcoran’s history. The plan is that the National Gallery will absorb as much of the collection as possible, especially in areas in which it is lacking (such as the Corcoran’s excellent contemporary collection) and redistribute the rest to other museum collections, with a preference for DC area museums. But, as the Washington Post reports, “much of the collection could end up in Tennessee or Alaska.”

Most involved in the proposal seem to be trying to put a positive spin on it (The National Gallery is free and more accessible! GWU will pay for the building’s much-needed renovation! Most of the art will stay in DC!), yet most comments include a tinge of sadness at the loss of the Corcoran’s 140-year-old independent spirit. “There is no way to continue the Corcoran as we knew it or as we know it,” Peggy Loar, interim director and president of the Corcoran told the Washington Post. “That’s going to be the kernel of pain for some people.”

Get Mark Allen on your Sofa

If you like charming oddball drawings, and you like crafty things but have no craft skills/inclinations yourself, you’re in luck: Jenny Hart of Sublime Stiching has turned the drawings of Machine Project‘s impresario Mark Allen into cute pillows (and patterns, for the craft-ambitious)! They’ll be showing their wares at Alias Books in Atwater Village this Friday, 2/21/14 from 7-9 pm!





Easy for them to say: Clooney, Murray, Damon want Greece’s Patrimony Back!

As reported in the LA Times, movie stars George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon recently made statements around the launch of their movie “Monuments Men” that the British Museum should return the Elgin Marbles back to Greece.

But what, you say, would that mean for all the Egyptian stuff at the Louvre that was carted off by Napoleon at around the same time? Damon reasonably dismisses British protests that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he’s an American, but cultural patrimony is not a black-and-white issue. The argument can be made that cultural property laws restrict international trade in antiquities, and that if they had always existed, the world’s great border-crossing encyclopedic museums wouldn’t be nearly so great, or so border-crossing. So what’s more important, George et al.: stewardship, or ownership?