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The Cleveland Museum of Art has boosted its smallish but choice pre-Columbian collection significantly by acquiring a dozen rare and important gold objects of a type that once lured Spanish conquistadors to the New World.

Bought in March in a private sale arranged by Sotheby's in New York for an undisclosed price, the gold pieces will go on view at the museum in a special exhibition starting Saturday May 16. The museum plans to install them in the pre-Columbian galleries by August, after making room by adjusting space in display cases.

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You can take a close-up look at artifacts, some of which are over 2,000 years old, in the Shards of the Past: Pre-Columbian Art from the Frost Art Museum exhibition, on display from May 7 through August 31.

The exhibition features 26 works…figures, vessels, bowls, and plates…from Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Central America, selected from the Frost Art Museum’s permanent collection. Pre-Columbian refers to the time in the Americas before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the Spanish explorers. Cultures and civilizations were already flourishing, thriving and evolving, while remaining virtually isolated from other parts of the world. After the arrival of the explorers, we see the collapse of these civilizations and subsequent destruction of their temples and social structures along with a wealth of objects and ritual artifacts. Some of the relics from these cultures are intact for viewers to admire and study; others were ritually broken, and some were destroyed by the passage of time. Most of the surviving objects were found in graves, the remnants of offerings to the dead.

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The Salon: Art + Design, which premiered in 2012, is taking place at the famed Park Avenue Armory in New York City through November 18. The show opened with a festive cocktail party hosted by Margaret Russell, editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest, on November 14.

The fair welcomes 53 international dealers including Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts (New York), Galerie Downtown Francois Laffanour (Paris) and Adrian Sassoon (London). Offerings include modern art masterpieces by such luminaries as Gerhard Richter, Edward Hopper, Egon Schiele and Henry Moore, as well as 18th century French furniture and an assortment of Chinese decorative art and pre-Columbian antiquities. Organized by legendary fair producer Sanford Smith + Associates in collaboration with Paris’ Syndicat National des Antiquaires, The Salon offers a wide range of historic and contemporary works to cater to a variety of collectors.

The Salon: Art + Design is the only fair in the United States to focus on art and design from the 19th to 21st centuries. For more information visit

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The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas announced on Friday, May 3, 2013 that they will open their new Renzo Piano-designed building on November 27, 2013. The structure, which cost $135 million to build, includes a parking garage, auditorium, galleries, offices, and an education wing. Renovations have been underway since 2010 and are expected to reach completion on schedule. However, The project did run over its original budget by $10 million.

Famed architect Louis Kahn designed the Kimbell’s original building in 1972. Piano, who was once Kahn’s assistant, designed the new structure so that it would be similar in size and made out of comparable materials as the older, accompanying building. Stretching 22 feet high, the new structure will include environmentally friendly features and will consume half of the energy needed to operate Kahn’s building.

The Kimbell’s collection, which ranges from international antiquities to contemporary art, will be split between the two buildings. The Kahn building will house the European works and the Pre-Columbian, African, and Asian art will be exhibited in the Piano pavilion.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned more than 4,000 pieces of looted cultural artifacts to the Mexican government. A repatriation ceremony was held on October 25 at the Consulate of Mexico in El Paso, Texas. The items were recovered in El Paso, Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, San Antonio, Fort Stockton, Texas, and Kalispell, Montana. Many of the artifacts that were found in Texas traced to a 2008 theft from a museum in Mexico. Five pre-Columbian statues, over 4,000 pre-Columbian artifacts, and 26 pieces of pre-Columbian pottery were returned to the people of Mexico.

The repatriation that took place on Thursday is one of the largest that has taken place between the two countries. Many of the items returned date from before European explorers landed in North America. The items will be taken to the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City where they will be studied, cataloged, and distributed to museums across Mexico.

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After twenty-two years, Nicholas Capasso will be leaving his post at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA. Capasso, who is currently the deCordova’s deputy director for Curatorial Affairs, has been named the new director of the Fitchburg Art Museum and will start his latest venture on December 3.

During his time at the deCordova, Capasso has overseen a permanent collection that included 3,500 objects, changing gallery exhibitions, and an outdoor sculpture park. He helped to bring recognition to the institution and to reposition it as an important contemporary museum.

While Capasso specializes in contemporary art, he is eager to work with the Fitchburg Art Museum’s collection that spans more than 5,000 years and includes American and European paintings, prints, drawings, ceramics, decorative arts, and Greek, Roman, Asian, and pre-Columbian antiquities. The Museum’s collection, which is housed between twelve galleries, includes works by William Zorach, John Singleton Copley, Joseph Stella, Edward Hopper, Charles Burchfield, Charles Sheeler, Walker Evans, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Capasso will take over the role of director from the soon-to-be-retired Peter Timms who has held the position since 1973.

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Thursday, 11 October 2012 18:41

An Entire van Gogh Exhibition Built by Loans

When Timothy J. Standring, curator of painting and sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, suggested an exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s work, it was quite a risk, mainly because the museum doesn’t own a single work by van Gogh. In addition, the Denver Art Museum’s strength lies in American Indian, pre-Columbian, and Spanish Colonial Art – not ideal holdings when attempting to swap works with European painting departments.

On October 21, six years after the thought first popped into Standring’s head, Becoming van Gogh will open to the public at the Denver Museum. The show will be comprised of 68 paintings and drawings by van Gogh and about another 20 works by artists he studied under.

A true labor of love, Standring traveled to 39 cities in Europe, at least 30 in North America, and another two in South America to do research, meet with scholars, view works, and negotiate with owners. Co-curated by Louis van Tilborgh, the exhibition evolved as the duo delved deeper into their research. Inspired by James Shapiro’s A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, Standring wanted to capture the period when van Gogh became van Gogh. At first he thought a show of 30 oils and drawings done between 1887 and 1888 would be sufficient, but as his research progressed, Standring decided to explore van Gogh’s work from 1886–1888, the artist’s years in Paris.

Standring proceeded to make a checklist of all the works he wished to acquire. He made connections with curators at other museums, phoned friends and collectors. As he continued, the need for more works became apparent. Standring wanted to include early works from van Gogh’s time in the Netherlands and his later years in Provence. After countless phone calls, letters, negotiations, meetings, and planning, the exhibition came to fruition. Becoming van Gogh will be on view through January 20, 2013.

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