Friday, February 16, 2007
Museum visits without leaving home #3
Today, let’s take a virtual trip to Amsterdam, where the venerable Rijksmuseum will open its doors to us. As we wander around, we can see video panoramas of a number of the galleries. Then, we can access the Museum’s collection and explore it by sorting the works of art in a number of different ways. We can choose paintings by theme, such as “Moral of the Story”, “Love and Sex”, or “Struggle and Strife”. We can look at all the works by one artist, or select from an encyclopedic listing of all the subjects, artists, and art objects in the collection.
The Museum’s website also offers a unique feature, called the Rijkswidget (click on “Collections” first, then choose Rijkswidget). It’s a desktop download that offers a new work of art to view every day, and includes details about the artist and his work. What a great way to start the day!
Friday, February 02, 2007
A New Look at New York’s “Master Builder”, Robert Moses
Robert Moses had a remarkable career as New York City’s parks commissioner from 1934 to 1960, and as leader of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority from 1934 to 1968. During his long reign, he oversaw a radical transformation of New York through the construction of bridges, expressways, and public parks, and the clearance of vast areas of slums. Although Moses has been seen as a caricature of a ruthless bureaucrat, a new exhibition presents an opportunity to see his achievements and his battles in a more balanced way.
The exhibition, “Robert Moses and the Modern City”, is being shown at three locations: the Museum of the City of New York, the Queens Museum of Art, and the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Through images, models, and scholarship, the exhibitions delineate Moses’ successes—highway projects that integrated cars and nature, a number of well-designed public pools, and the renovation of Central Park; as well as his dark side—displacing many families and destroying functioning neighborhoods. In the end, the viewer realizes that the issues facing cities today are not that much different than those Moses faced: choosing between a respect for the past and an embrace of the future.
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