Blog Archives

New Antietam Museum Room to open on Friday.


Antietam National Battlefield announces the opening of a new museum exhibit room in the park visitor center. A ribbon cutting will take place on Friday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m.

The new exhibits highlight the impact of the battle on the nation that occurred 150 years ago… and the families that lived on the battlefield. The exhibit includes wartifacts and photographs of veterans returning for reunions and the creation of the park by the U.S. War Department.

According to Park Superintendent Susan Trail:

Sharpsburg was a farming community for one hundred years before the battle was fought. Now we are able to tell a broader story through the artifacts and images of those who lived here. We are extremely pleased to have our new exhibit opening just in time for the 150th Commemoration.”

Some of the artifacts that highlight the new exhibit include a gold watch owned by the Mumma family whose farm was destroyed in the battle; furniture from the Roulette farm; a hand carved headstone that marked a soldiers grave just after the battle; and numerous reunion medals and ribbons.

For more information call 301-432-5124.


Is this a sign that Muslims are becoming more Western?

Arab Museum Approves Nudity

DOHA, QATAR – The Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art has created controversy by announcing that it will exhibit works containing nudity and politically radical ideas. They will not be subject to censorship, according to Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator of the Mathaf.

The museum was founded by powerful Qatari art patron and vice president of the Qatar Museum Authority, Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al-Thani and it is due to open in Qatar’s capital, Doha, on December 30th.

Museum Statement:

Based in Qatar, looking forward into the 21st century, we want to offer a platform for all kinds of local and international visitors, scholars, artists, collectors and enthusiasts to meet, converse and engage more closely with the art of the Arab world and beyond.


The museum aspires to highlight and share contemporary art by Arabs and artists living in the Middle East that might challenge some preconceptions. It will also serve as a research center, an exciting prospect for the regional arts community.  Mathaf, which simply means “museum” in Arabic, will be housed in a  in a 5,500-square meter former school that has been converted by the French architect Jean-Francois Bodin.

The inaugural exhibition, titled, “Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art,” will include works from Mathaf’s permanent collection of over 6,200 pieces dating from the late 1800s to the middle of the 20th century, all of which were donated from Sheik Hassan’s private collection.

Skeptics have wondered aloud whether politics will play a role in the acquisition and exhibition of certain works, excluding pieces that might be considered politically or sexually provocative. “Sajjil,” which roughly translated as the act of recording features paintings and sculptures by more than 100 key modernists, is aimed at bringing contemporary Arabic art to a wider audience.

“Our first exhibition, ‘Sajjil’ is about the interaction and about the contribution of Arab artists to a larger art historical context,” Al-Khudhairi said. “By making it public, we are able to open it up to everyone in Qatar, in the region, internationally.

“Crucially, adds Al-Khudhairi, it will also draw attention to a contemporary art scene that developed in parallel with European movements but has been largely overlooked. “The exhibition will give exposure to these artists to fit into history a period of time that’s missing from art historical books and accounts,” she said.

“The collection has nudes; the collection has political works. These things are part of the collection — we can’t deny it “We are not trying to present some sort of new canon, this is why we stress multiple modernities  and contemporary art. She added that Mathaf was willing to risk criticism for showing controversial works.

“I think there will be all kinds of feedback and the museum is about creating a space for dialogue; a platform for discussion,” Al-Khudhairi said.

Saleh Barakat, a Beirut-based leading expert in contemporary Arab art, described the museum’s opening as “an exceedingly important moment in the history of modern and contemporary art.”

Fantastic program for art lovers and students everywhere started by Google…

I was enjoying myself this morning touring museums on the Google Art Project, a major collection tour of 17 world famous museums including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection, and the Freer Gallery of Art and International Museums such as  The Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain, The  Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic, The National Gallery, London – England (one of my favorites), The  Palace of Versailles – France,  and The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia, among others.

"Carafe and Book" by Juan Gris - Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

The website enables users to discover and view more than 1,000 artworks online in extraordinary detail, with documentation on the works, biographies of artists, interactive 360 degree tours of the galleries and more.

For someone trapped in West Virginia like me, this is a remarkable opportunity to experience the joys of art tourism without leaving my living room.

The site was launched today after 18 months of development in cooperation with the 17 museums. Artwork can be seen in extremely high resolution and viewed in microscopic detail.

Take a look…,… and have a good time.

No Budget – No Museums!

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This weekend, the usually free National Gallery of Art might not be — in fact, it could not be open at all. With the distinct possibility of a government shutdown looming as a result of disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over setting a national budget, public museums may be the first to close their doors at the end of this week.

So if the government actually shuts down for want of a budget, will public museums close? The short answer is yes, they will. From zoos to parks to art museums, most employees won’t be able to work and visitors won’t have any access to the institutions. But don’t worry about the art, the animals or the plants — key employees, the people who really keep these places running behind the scenes will remain on the job.
500,000 visitors could be turned away from the National Zoo and the major Smithsonian museums on the Mall.
How’s that for budget shortfalls?
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My son Will works part-time at the Smithsonian (on their web stuff) while he goes to grad school in DC… I imagine he is not looking forward to this one.

Getting to the blog late… and a remembrance of John Warhola

After doing the WSHC radio show, Winners and Losers, for John Case this morning, I came home and immediately fell asleep. That blew the morning. But here I am again, ready to start the day.

While John has been on vacation  I have been getting up at 5:30 in the morning… very early for a retired guy like me who likes to sit up at night and watch old movies on TV… and have still not gotten used to the schedule. John will be back from Montreal on Friday (I Hope!) and I can get back to my regular waking and sleeping routine.


I see that Andy Warhol‘s elder brother, John Warhola, died on Friday at age 85. The Pop Artist’s brother was responsible, after a promise made to their dying father, to make sure Andy got through college (and he did… going to Carnegie Institute, now Carnegie Mellon… and later going to New York and becoming one of the half dozen or so Top Pop Artists.) Warhola made a point of calling his brother and checking on his progress every Sunday for 38 years until Andy died in 1987.

John Warhola was one of the three original trustees of the Andy Warhol Foundation and was responsible for the establishment of two museums, The Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Slovakia (their family’s homeland) and The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA.

From the NY Times Obituary:

John Warhola was a strong, persistent voice arguing that Pittsburgh, too, should have a museum dedicated to his brother’s work.

“I think with all the museums they already got in New York, they wouldn’t appreciate another one,” he told The Washington Post in 1994, the year the Pittsburgh museum opened as a joint venture of the Warhol Foundation, the Dia Foundation and the Carnegie-Mellon Institute.

In addition to his duties as a trustee, Mr. Warhola took on the role of personal curator of his brother’s pre-Manhattan years. Visiting art-world dignitaries and reporters could count on him for a tour of South Oakland, the neighborhood where the brothers grew up, and a visit to St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Bethel Park, where Andy Warhol is buried and where pilgrims often leave a soup can or Brillo pad on his gravestone.