2020’s Best Visual Art

Andrea Scott: “For months, looking at art became staring at screens, and a new three-letter acronym entered the lexicon: O.V.R., for “online viewing room.” If that sounds like an enticement to see artists envision new forms with digital means, downgrade your expectations to “slideshow.” Still, the art world has been luckier than other cultural sectors of New York City.” – The New Yorker

Using High Tech To Preserve Imagery Of India’s Ancient Cave Paintings

In the 1990s, art historian Benoy Behl developed his own low-light photography techniques to capture the famous Buddhist murals in the Ajanta caves. Since then, he’s been using digital technology to correct for the deterioration that time and the breath of visitors have caused in the paintings, so that we can see their imagery in something like its original state. – South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

After A Very Rough 2020, Can The Philadelphia Museum Of Art Make The Changes It Needs?

On top of the COVID shutdown and the consequent loss of income and layoff and furloughs, the museum faced the public revelation of abusive behavior by two former managers — and senior administration’s far too slow dismissal of the offenders. As the long-underway interior expansion of the PMA’s main building opens to the public, will the policies and employment culture there be improved as well? The president and board chair say they’re working on it. – The Philadelphia Inquirer

Are Museums An Education Or An Experience?

“It has made me unexpectedly nostalgic for an idea of museums as spaces where the individual can go and explore on their own without being told what to think; spaces to contemplate works of art which express and demonstrate a different set of ideas and beliefs from the present. I don’t want constantly to be badgered and made to feel guilty that my ancestors have travelled the world collecting objects in order better to understand and interpret the world. I don’t necessarily regard the ideas and beliefs of museums in the past as morally reprehensible, but, instead, believe that many of them were stimulated by curiosity and a passionate desire for the understanding of other cultures — a spirit not necessarily of plunder, but of awe.” – The Critic

What’s The Word Of The Year For 2020? In The U.S. Art World, It’s ‘Deaccession’

As the pandemic forced American museums to close their doors and give up all earned income, the Association of Art Museum Directors agreed to temporarily relax its strict rule that museums may sell their art only to fund the purchase of other art. A number of deaccessions (as the practice is euphemized) promptly ensued, followed swiftly by arguments over them and the cancellation of a few (notably in Baltimore). Matt Stromberg looks back at the year’s battles. – Los Angeles Times