Scottsdale’s Museum of the West to open December 2014 – Arizona

October 21, 2014 on 11:33 am | In Adventure Travel, Museums, Southwest | Comments Off

Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, scheduled to open in December 2014, is a new centre that will be dedicated to the celebration of the American West.

Situated in the heart of Scottsdale’s historic downtown, the museum will immerse visitors in western art and culture with experiential and participatory exhibitions. With a philosophy that aims to illuminate the past to shape the present, the museum will become an entertainment and learning centre for all ages. Renowned for its art and culture, visitors to Scottsdale can also experience more than 70 public artworks and almost 100 galleries across the city, plus explore cutting edge works at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.  /

Museums, Galleries And Artists Create A Modern Grand Tour For England

October 21, 2014 on 8:27 am | In London, Museums, United Kingdom | Comments Off

Argos Travel Insurance 100x50Galleries, museums and a stately home across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire − Nottingham Contemporary, Chatsworth, Derby Museums and The Harley Gallery, Welbeck − have joined together to create a contemporary reinterpretation of The Grand Tour. With a focus on attracting visitors and growing cultural tourism, the project will feature unique artistic and architectural riches of the region, presented over two seasons, July-September 2015 and March-June 2016.

Contemporary artists Pablo Bronstein, Turner Prize-winner Simon Starling, Rose English, Peter Blake and architect Rem Koolhaas, have been invited to create and present work for the Grand Tour.

Taking its name from the formative cultural experience of the 18th century gentleman, this modern day Grand Tour will reveal hidden treasures from private collections, juxtaposing them with contemporary art exhibitions across the four venues so that they are seen in a new light. A number of pieces from the Baroque and Enlightenment periods of the collections at Derby Museums, Chatsworth and Welbeck, which until now have been housed out of sight, will go on display to the public.

Experience Nottinghamshire and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire will be working closely with the four venues to encourage new visitors to the region. The Grand Tour is a groundbreaking example of cultural tourism that will showcase the region’s astonishing wealth of art, architecture and landscape to a new generation of local, national and international visitors.

Funding for The Grand Tour was awarded to Nottingham Contemporary as part of the joint Arts Council England and VisitEngland Cultural Destinations programme, which supports arts and cultural organisations to work with the tourism sector to deliver projects that aim to maximize the impact arts and culture has on local economies, with further support from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, said:

“The Grand Tour played a major role in shaping the world-famous art collections, architecture and landscape of this region. Grand Tourists transformed British taste by bringing home with them a fascination with the culture of the ancient world, and its influence on the artistic innovations of the day. Our own Grand Tour builds on this history through exhilarating encounters between leading contemporary artists and these world-class collections. Contemporary art will shed a new light on the cultural riches of the region through a new Grand Tour that is completely of its time.”

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, said:

“We know that art and culture are amongst the top reasons tourists choose to visit England. We offer world class museums and galleries as well as celebrated theatres and orchestras. Arts Council and VisitEngland’s investment through the Cultural Destinations programme is supporting arts organisations to work in partnership with the local tourism sector, to really make the most of England’s superb cultural offer. This contemporary interpretation of the Grand Tour will offer visitors to the East Midlands a fascinating experience of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, giving them a great opportunity to discover hidden collections and great modern art.”

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, said:

“As one of a number of projects aimed at driving local economic growth through developing the arts and cultural offering in England, The Grand Tour is a welcome and innovative addition to the Cultural Destinations programme. It is fantastic to see these local museums, galleries and artists come together with the two destination management organisations to enhance the cultural and visitor appeal of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.”

The Grand Tour Season One, July – September 2015

Pablo Bronstein at Nottingham Contemporary and Chatsworth

This unique collaboration sees Pablo Bronstein work with and in response to the extraordinary collections at Chatsworth. Bronstein will curate an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, displaying historical items from Chatsworth at the contemporary art gallery alongside a range of his original drawings. Delft porcelain, 17th and 18th century silverware, Old Master drawings and paintings, furniture and sculpture from the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth will be exhibited across the four galleries at Nottingham Contemporary.

Bronstein has been commissioned to make a series of new work in wide-ranging media in response to Chatsworth and its historic collection, which will be displayed in Chatsworth’s New Gallery. The artist will also curate a selection of Old Master drawings from the Devonshire Collection, alongside a new drawing of his own in the Old Master Drawings Cabinet.

Rem Koolhaas at The Harley Gallery, Welbeck

This is a rare chance to see part of Koolhaas’ exhibition Elements of Architecture at the grand country estate that influenced the work. Elements of Architecture explores the vast underground ballroom and tunnels at Welbeck, which were built by the 5th Duke of Portland in the 19th century, presenting theories about this mythologized architecture through film and photography. The work looks at the fundamentals that make up any building, and was part of Koolhaas’ acclaimed exhibition as curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. Koolhaas described the work as his own grand tour of architecture.

The Joseph Wright Collection, Derby Museums

As part The Grand Tour, the new Joseph Wright Institute in Derby Museum and Art Gallery will present Wright Revealed – an insight into the restoration and conservation of the works of Joseph Wright of Derby, one of Britain’s most popular artists.

The Grand Tour Season Two, March – July 2016

Simon Starling at Nottingham Contemporary and Derby Museums

Derby Museums will present an exhibition dedicated to Joseph Wright of Derby’s formative years in Italy, alongside work by Simon Starling. To coincide with the Derby exhibition, Nottingham Contemporary will present a major exhibition of work by Simon Starling building on his fascination with the interrelationships between culture, industry and the natural world, like Wright before him.

The opening of the new Harley Gallery at Welbeck

The new gallery will house changing displays of The Portland Collection, one of the country’s great aristocratic art collections, much of which has never been on public display before. Highlights include one of the finest collections of miniatures, English portraiture, silverware and equestrian art, many of which were amassed by the family when travelling on their own Grand Tours.

Peter Blake at the Harley Gallery

Blake will curate a display of miniatures from The Portland Collection, which has one of the largest and most significant privately owned collections of miniatures in the country. The display will be accompanied by an exhibition of collages from Blake’s The World Tour series.

Rose English at the Harley Gallery

Rose English, a seminal figure in British performance art, will present a selected retrospective of her work, focusing on equestrian culture, together with new work. The selection will be inspired by William Cavendish, who was a leading figure in horsemanship in the 17th century and built the first riding school at Welbeck.

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Artscience Museum Presents the Season of Art and Science of Photography

September 3, 2014 on 2:26 pm | In Asia, Museums, Singapore | Comments Off

Three international exhibitions and complementary programming set to inspire visitors – ArtScience Museum will bring visitors on a journey to explore the world of photography through the Art and Science lens. Presenting the season of Art and Science of Photography, the museum will be hosting three unique photography exhibitions that allow visitors to capture the artists’ distinctive takes on cultural and social developments.

“Photography is the perfect combination of art and science where the artist conveys his world views through technology. The proliferation of smartphones and software applications has made taking photos a big part of our lives. Through this season, we hope to inspire our visitors with the stories behind the photographers’ works and to explore the artistic approaches used to present their views. Complementing the season is a series of guided tours, workshops and symposium to raise the appreciation of photography,” said Ms. Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum.

ArtScience Museum is a key venue of the 4th Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) hosting two exhibitions – Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography and An Ocean of Possibilities. The ongoing Annie Leibovitz A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005 rounds up the trio of photography exhibitions.
“We are excited to partner ArtScience Museum in the biggest ever SIPF this year. SIPF stays true to its mission in breaking new ground for photography in Singapore, continuing to promote ingenious collaborative showcases which we can share with all photography enthusiasts in the region,” said Ms. Gwen Lee, Director of SIPF.

Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography

22 August – 2 November 2014

Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography is a specially curated exhibition showcasing the works of both well-established as well as emerging Chinese photographers. For the first time ever, seven Chinese contemporary artists – Wang Qing Song, Yang Yongliang, Wei Bi, Zhang Dali, Liu Xiaofang, Maleonn (Ma Liang) and Wang Ningde – will be exhibiting together under one roof. The exhibition, comprising over 60
photographs, highlights each artist’s individualistic artistic approach and personal experience of China’s modernisation process.

Their body of work features issues such as globalisation, environmental crisis, population displacement and state propaganda. The works of Liu Xiaofang and Maleonn, for example, reflect their fantasies, childhood memories, unfulfilled dreams as well as desires. WeiBi’s photographs highlight the simple charms of communal village life while Yang Yongliang creates futuristic panoramas that bridge tradition and modernity.
Please refer to Appendix I for information on the seven artists.

An Ocean of Possibilities

31 October – 28 December 2014

An Ocean of Possibilities is an international open call partnership between SIPF and the renowned Noorderlicht International Photofestival in Netherlands.
Featuring approximately 250 photos by 30 artists from 20 countries, An Ocean of Possibilities comprises curated individual series that focus on social developments. The exhibition turns the spotlight on the people who challenge themselves in search of unconventionalities to plot their own course and change the status quo. They may be individuals, small communities and businesses who set out to realise a better future, not only for themselves but also for others.
The exhibition will be presented at ArtScience Museum after the Noorderlicht International Photofestival.

Annie Leibovitz A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005

Now – 19 October 2014

Rounding up the exhibition component for the photography season at ArtScience Museum is the ongoing Annie Leibovitz A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005. Featuring close to 200 photographs, the exhibition provides a unified narrative of Annie Leibovitz’s private life against the backdrop of her public image. At the heart of the exhibition is the personal memoir of Annie Leibovitz, documenting a particular timeframe within her life, including the loss of close relations, birth and childhood of her three daughters, family vacations, reunions, and close friends.

Programming during the Season

The Art and Science of Photography season would not be complete without a series of interactive activities to enhance the experience of all photography enthusiasts. Visitors can choose to join the complimentary guided tours for the exhibitions – Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography and Annie Leibovitz A Photographer’s Life 1990- 2005, or watch the Darkroom Developments demonstration, where the process of developing negatives from 35mm film is presented by a professional photographer. They can also learn to develop photographs using traditional darkroom techniques and equipment at the From Negative to Print workshop. In conjunction with the 4th edition of SIPF, talks and symposiums will also be organised as part of the season. More information on the programming will be available at a later date.

Visitors can enjoy an exclusive free preview of Flux Realities: A Showcase of Chinese Contemporary Photography on 21 August during ArtScience Late, the museum’s one-night only free monthly performances. Season pass tickets to the three photography exhibitions at ArtScience Museum are available for sale at ArtScience Museum Box Office from 6 August to 19 October 2014. Please refer to Appendix II below for more ticketing information.

ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is known as the museum that celebrates creativity, the processes at the heart of art and science, and their role in shaping society. The museum seeks to understand what drives creative people, how they acquire and use their skills, and how the world around us is changed because of it. ArtScience Museum presents exhibitions and programmes to deliver these stories using a combination of beautiful design, intriguing content and intellectual discussion, in order to inspire the creativity in all of us.

Featuring 21 gallery spaces totaling 50,000 square feet, the boldly iconic lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum is also the premier venue for major international touring exhibitions from the most renowned collections in the world. Since it opened in 2011, ArtScience Museum has been home to some of the best-attended exhibitions in Singapore, including “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition”, “Harry Potter: The Exhibition”, “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal”, “Dali: Mind of a Genius”, “The Art of the Brick” and “Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb”. Recent exhibitions include “Essential Eames: A Herman Miller Exhibition”, “The Little Black Jacket” and “Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction”. “Annie Leibovitz A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005” is currently showing at ArtScience Museum.

ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands was awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2013. This recognition places the museum amid a select group of attractions that have been recognised by worldwide travelers for providing outstanding tourist experiences.

About Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd
Marina Bay Sands is the leading business, leisure and entertainment destination in Asia. It features large and flexible convention and exhibition facilities, 2,560 hotel rooms and suites, the rooftop Sands SkyPark, the best shopping mall in Asia, world-class celebrity chef restaurants and an outdoor event plaza. Its two theatres showcase a range of leading entertainment performances including world-renowned Broadway shows. Completing the line-up of attractions is ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, which plays host to permanent and marquee exhibitions. For more information, please visit

About Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF)
Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) is a biennial gathering of minds from around the world with the common pursuit to advance the art and appreciation of photography. It aims to be a much needed arena for critical thought and academic discourse on photography in Southeast Asia. SIPF will also function as
a key platform to discover, nurture, and propel Southeast Asian photographers onto the international stage. Through its satellite programmes, the festival hopes to engage the public and cultivate a larger audience. At the core of SIPF is a firm belief that photography can be enjoyed by all.

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Denver Hotel Package that includes VIP Admissions to the Denver Art Museum’s Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century Exhibition

September 3, 2014 on 2:23 pm | In Museums, Plains States, Rockies, Webbandstand | Comments Off

Hyatt Hotels of Denver Downtown, downtown Denver, Colorado hotels Grand Hyatt Denver and [Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, welcome BrilliaCartier nt: in the 20th Century November 16, 2014-March 15, 2015 with value-added packages that make seeing the highly anticipated exhibition easy. Located only blocks from the Denver Art Museum, each of these AAA Four Diamond Hyatt packages include an overnight stay in a newly refreshed accommodation and two VIP quick admissions. As official hotel partners of the exhibition, the tickets are untimed and undated and allow immediate access with no standing in line and no advanced reservations required.

Hyatt Regency Denver’s Brilliant Cartier Package includes two VIP admissions to the exhibition and two cocktails in the hotel’s 27th floor Peaks Lounge overlooking the Mile High City and the Colorado Rockies.

Grand Hyatt Denver’s Grand Cartier Package includes two VIP admissions to the exhibition and complimentary hotel valet parking for one car.

These Denver hotel packages are offered November 16, 2014-March 15, 2015 starting at $153 per room. Reservations may be made by calling toll-free (800) 233-1234 or by visiting the hotel’s Offers page at . (The packages are subject to availability; the Denver Art Museum is closed on Mondays.)

About Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century
From czars to American heiresses, from aristocrats to business leaders to stars of the stage and cinema, literally the “who’s who” of the 20th century, Cartier’s rise took place in the context of an increasingly cosmopolitan cultural scene. The Denver Art Museum is pleased to present a worldwide exclusive exhibition that is a chronicle of seven decades of design, from the 1900s through the Roaring ‘20s to 1975. It is comprised of 250 pieces of jewelry, timepieces and objects. A special section focuses on masculine items offering a rare look at pieces Cartier created just for men. The renowned exhibition brings together an assortment of Cartier’s greatest works in the midst of the era’s most historical events.

About Hyatt Regency Denver
Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center is one of the region’s largest hotels. Sleek and contemporary in design, it is adjacent to the Colorado Convention Center. The recently completed $23 million guest room refresh was designed with a décor that captures the essence of being where the mountains meet the plains. With special emphasis on state-of-art technology, each accommodation features the convenience of LCD Smart 46 inch televisions and high-speed Internet along with comfortable work stations. A 6,700 square foot fitness center is further enhanced by Spa Universaire, an indoor lap-pool and outdoor sun deck and whirlpool. In addition to Altitude Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Denver provides two lounges: Strata Bar located in the lobby and the 27th floor Peaks Lounge overlooking the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Perks Coffee & More provides the convenience of being open 24-hours. The hotel features over 60,600 square feet of versatile meeting and event space.

About Grand Hyatt Denver

Grand Hyatt Denver has also recently completed a $28 million renovation. Its unique lobby features lineal stacked fireplaces set in chiseled stone on a 29 foot high wall, a focal point for arriving guests. Grand Hyatt Denver provides 516 spacious, newly redesigned accommodations. Each boasts high-speed Internet access, well-lit work stations and the Hyatt Grand Bed. Grand Hyatt Denver offers one of downtown Denver’s only rooftop jogging tracks and tennis courts, a complement to its indoor pool that adjoins a 24-hour health club, all of which are free to Hyatt guests. [Pub 17 on Welton Street, a Sunset Magazine Editors’ Pick, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and features “Happy Hour” daily along with a selection of over 50 Colorado microbrews. In-room dining is available around the clock. Grand Hyatt Denver’s over 52,600 square feet of flexible meeting and event space features five large ballrooms including the renowned Pinnacle Club. From its lofty perch on the 38th floor of the adjoining office tower, the entire Rocky Mountain front range is clearly visible through floor to ceiling windows.

Both hotels are ideally located one short block from the 16th Street Mall, a well-known pedestrian promenade in the heart of the Mile High City. Hyatt Hotels of Denver Downtown are each recipients of numerous recognitions including Trip Advisor’s Certificates of Excellence and Meetings and Conventions Magazine Gold Key Award.

For news and information, visit the Hyatt Hotels of Denver Downtown press blog at:

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Free Museum Days in Nevada

August 11, 2014 on 10:16 am | In Museums, Southwest | Comments Off

VIRGINIA CITY, Nev.  Virginia City, Nev., located 25 minutes from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, takes its most popular hashtag and brings it to life with Flashback Fridays Free Museum Day. Seventeen museums are located within this small historic Comstock town and on the first Friday of the month of Aug. 1, Sept. 5 and Oct. 3, all are open free.
“The responses to our weekly Facebook and Twitter Flashback Friday posts are tremendous and as a community steeped in history, we thought, ‘how can we leverage this to educate our visitors,’ and this event was born,” Deny Dotson, tourism director for the Virginia City Tourism Commission, said. “We also know that during our large events when the town is packed, our museums are often overlooked. We wanted to create an event just for these important attractions and provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about the Comstock. And it’s working.” Two Flashback Fridays have taken place and nearly 1,000 have participated.

During each Flashback Friday, visitors pick up a free map at the Visitors Center. Each museum stamps the map and when all 17 museums are stamped, the map can be returned to the Visitors Center where participants receive an 8″ x 10″ framed Flashback Friday photo of Virginia City dating back to the 1870s. Kids 12 and younger receive a Comstock Kids Kit.

“Visiting all 17 museums can be a challenge, we know,” Dotson said. “So from August to October, visit any of our museums at any time and have the map stamped. Complete it by Oct. 3, and you’ll receive the framed historic photo.” Free admission valid only during the Flashback Friday Free Museum days.

While the museums are free on the first Friday of the month, August – October, donations are encouraged as each relies on contributions and membership to remain open.
Participating museums include: Comstock Gold Mill; Comstock History Center; Fourth Ward School; The Gold Hill Hotel; Julia Bulette Red Light Museum; LEC #1 Comstock Firemen’s Museum; The Mackay Mansion; Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise; The Marshall Mint Museum; Piper’s Opera House; Saint Mary’s in the Mountains Catholic Church & Museum; Silver State National Peace Officers Museum; Silver Terrace Cemetery; St. Mary’s Art Center; Storey County Courthouse; The Washoe Club Haunted Museum; and The Way It Was Museum.
For more information visit Virginia City Flashback Friday Free Museum Days. For general information on Virginia City, Nev., visit  or call the Virginia City Tourism Commission (VCTC) at 775-847-7500.

A short 30-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport takes visitors to one of the largest historic districts in the United States – Virginia City, Nev. Come experience this mining “boomtown” as it was in the 1800′s. Step back in time while visiting the numerous historic buildings, saloons, churches and museums or take a mine tour or even ride a real steam train. The Comstock Adventure Passes offer the best value with discounted attraction packages. For lodging, event calendar or Comstock Adventure Passes, visit online or call 775-847-7500. The Visitor Information Center is located at 86 South C Street, Virginia City.

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Mind Tripping – “RE:MIND” Opens at USC Fisher Museum

August 9, 2014 on 11:23 am | In California, Los Angeles, Museums | Comments Off

Miri Chais makes her U.S. solo exhibition debut with “Re:Mind.” The exhibition opens at the USC Fisher Museum September 17, 2014, and runs through November 15, 2014. Her thought-provoking commentary focuses on the intersection of societal perceptions, the pervasive influence of technology, and augmented reality. Chais explains, “What interests me is the influence of virtual reality and augmented reality on our culture and everyday lives. There isn’t a filter anymore.”

The post-internet art intricately melds the perception of the past and the future together. Influenced by recent brain research breakthroughs regarding memory downloading and man/machine hybridization, Chais has created multimedia sculptures, video, sound installations, and digital work that take an intimate look at icons in pop-culture, memory downloading, augmented reality, and technology.


Chais is a multi-media artist. She moved from Israel to the U.S two years ago. Chais constructs her works based on images from symbols and visual expressions used in the fields of science, biology, and digital software and hardware, alongside an overt dialogue with pop culture. “The lines between what is real and imagined are elusive and blurred, as the virtual world grasps more of everybody’s perception of their surrounding and of oneself,” she states. For more information about Miri Chais please visit

Visit the USC Fisher Museum website at  for more information about the Miri Chais exhibit. For media inquiries please contact April Rushing at Rushing Media, 310-987-7318 or by e-mail at

What People Are Saying About the Lucas Museum Coming to Chicago

August 3, 2014 on 11:04 am | In Chicago, Great Lakes, Museums | Comments Off

Leaders from the City’s cultural institutions, labor, the arts and government today released statements praising George Lucas’ announcement that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will call Chicago home.

Representative Danny Davis
Congressman, IL-7

“Chicago has a deep tradition of arts, culture and philanthropy, and I am excited that George Lucas will be part of that great tradition with this significant investment in the city. By teaming with our public schools and arts organizations, Mr. Lucas is giving back in a way that proves he is a Chicagoan at heart. I am thrilled to join all Chicagoans in welcoming George and adding this incredible cultural institution to our museum campus.”

Jorge Ramirez
President, Chicago Federation of Labor

“This is a major win for Chicago and our workers. Beyond the incredible gift this offers residents and children throughout the City, the Lucas museum will create jobs, during construction, permanent jobs at the museum itself, and many more throughout the city through this major new tourism draw.”

Alderman Will Burns
4th Ward

“The Lucas Museum will be a great addition to Chicago’s popular museum campus. It will complement the City’s offering of educational resources and provide meaningful opportunities for community partnerships, serving as a valued asset, not only to its neighbors but to the City at large.”
Gary Johnson

President, Chicago History Museum, and President, Museums in the Park Association

“The leaders of Chicago’s museum community are thrilled to welcome the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts. Chicago today has tremendous cultural and architectural assets, vibrant neighborhoods and parks, and a lakefront setting that is second to none. What Chicago needs are new reasons for the world to come and discover us. Adding more unique world-class attractions like the Lucas Museum can do just that by putting our city in a new category for tourism. The Lucas Museum will activate more interest in the city’s other assets and add jobs to our economy. We look forward to welcoming a new member to our museum community.”

Gillian Darlow and Kurt Summers

Co-chairs, Lucas Site Selection Task Force

“Chicago is a city of storytellers, a city that treasures arts and culture, and a city defined by bold visions. Since the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the city has been home to many of the most important cultural institutions in the country. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will add a world-class attraction to Chicago’s lakefront, elevate Chicago’s profile as a global city, and provide new educational opportunities for our youth. The ambitious project will turn acres of asphalt into a stunning structure surrounded by newly created green space-improving the lakefront while reaffirming the principles that have made it a treasure for generations. We are thrilled that the museum has chosen Chicago as its home and we look forward to seeing it develop as a model for how museums can engage and inspire in the 21st century.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
City of Chicago

“George Lucas has revolutionized the art of storytelling over the last four decades and we are honored to be the recipient of this incredible legacy investment that will allow everyone to learn about and experience narrative arts. Like Marshall Field, John G. Shedd and Max Adler before him, George’s philanthropy will inspire and educate for generations. No other museum like this exists in the world, making it a tremendous educational, cultural and job creation asset for all Chicagoans, as well as an unparalleled draw for international tourists.
Lee Bey

Special Projects Manager, University of Chicago

“To me, it’s an urban planning hat trick. Chicago gains a major world-class museum of this size without having to displace people, or demolish buildings or lose open space-in fact, we’ll gain open space. This is a win for the city and its citizens.”

Don Welsh
CEO, Choose Chicago

“In my thirty plus years working in the visitor industry, nearly four of which have been in Chicago, I can honestly say that a cultural institution of this magnitude is a once in a lifetime investment. I believe the Lucas Museum will be among the most significant game changers a city could ever hope for in seeking to create jobs and grow visitation.”

Louvre Museum New Room Opening

July 22, 2014 on 8:08 am | In France, Museums, Paris, Webbandstand | Comments Off

New Eighteenth-Century Decorative Arts Galleries

Collections without equal in the world and an “epoch of perfection” in French art.

On the first floor of the north wing and in a portion of the west wing of the Cour Carrée, an exceptional renovation project is entering its final phase: the complete redesign and reinstallation of the galleries dedicated to decorative art objects from the reign of Louis XIV and the eighteenth century. This project is the last part of the Department of Decorative Arts’ renovation work under the Grand Louvre plan.The Louvre’s extraordinarily large and comprehensive collection of eighteenth-century decorative arts is without equal in any other museum, illustrating the exceptional talents of France’s eighteenth- century artisans and artists in this field, whose work is admired around the world. In order to give this outstanding collection a presentation better allowing the public to appreciate its treasures, the galleries are undergoing a spectacular transformation. The new exhibition spaces are due to open to the public on June 6, 2014.

A unique collection

The eighteenth-century collections of the Department of Decorative Arts offer a broad perspective on interior decoration, featuring works, mainly of French origin, produced by leading manufactures or independent artisans along with others handled by fine art merchants, spanning the period from the reign of Louis XIV until the French Revolution. They include wooden paneling and painted wall decorations, tapestries and rugs, joinery and cabinetry, gilt-bronze mounts and objects, marble and hardstone sculptures and carvings, silver and gold pieces, jewelry, scientific instruments, European ceramics, and imported objects in lacquer and porcelain. The fact that the large majority of these pieces were originally commissioned for royal or princely residences makes them particularly remarkable, in comparison with those on view in other museums dedicated to decorative arts, in Europe and the United States.

It was only a good number of years after the Louvre’s founding that luxury arts and crafts under the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI became a focus of its collections, through two key events. The first of these was in 1870, when historic furnishings and objects were rescued in the nick of time from the Tuileries Palace and the Château de Saint- Cloud, saving them from being engulfed by flames. The second occurred in 1901, when the Mobilier National, the French government agency whose duties include the conservation of heritage furnishings, made a permanent loan to the museum of a large number of masterpieces made by Parisian cabinet-makers and tapestry workshops that had originally graced the rooms of royal and imperial residences.

In the twentieth century, numerous riches were added to the collection through the generosity of leading connoisseurs and collectors, such as Isaac de Camondo and Basile de Schlichting, both of whom made major bequests to the museum, received in 1911 and 1914, respectively. During this same period, the museum also acquired a number of remarkable pieces from stately homes either torn down or altered in the nineteenth century.

A new exhibition design

The galleries on the first floor of the Cour Carrée’s north wing, whose existing installation had dated for the most part from the early 1960s, were closed in 2005 in order to be brought in compliance with current fire and safety regulations. Among other works, this involved the creation of staircases on either side of the Pavillon Marengo. In addition, the exhibition design in place until 2004 was still, save for a few more recent alterations, the one created by Pierre Verlet between 1962 and 1966.

Renovation work begin in the fall of 2011, after preliminary studies conducted by Daniel Alcouffe, the head of the department at the time. The architectural concept for the new galleries is the work of Michel Goutal, following an exhibition design by Jacques Garcia, in collaboration with curators in the Department of Decorative Arts under the direction of Marc Bascou, and with technical assistance provided by the Louvre’s Department of Project Planning and Management.

Visitors will thus discover a new 2,183 sq.m exhibition space, consisting of 35 galleries, with more than 2,000 pieces on display. The galleries are grouped into three main chronological and stylistic sequences:

- 1660–1725: personal reign of Louis XIV and the Regency
- 1725–1755: height of the Rococo style
- 1755–1790: return to classicism and the reign of Louis XVI

Exemplary Grand Siècle pieces will be presented in the historic Council of State chambers, while the north wing of the Cour Carrée will be given over to a suite of period rooms, allowing visitors to view objects in context, paired with galleries featuring themed display cases, presenting the department’s collections of ceramics, jewelry, and works in silver and gold, while also allowing visitors to fully appreciate some of the era’s greatest masterpieces.
The new structure of the galleries, following a chronological organization for the most part, aims to underscore both the history of techniques and the history of styles. The presentation also highlights the period’s most celebrated palatial residences as well as the leading figures of the time, including artisans, artists and their patrons. Through royal or princely abodes either not having survived or now serving different purposes (Saint-Cloud, Bellevue, Tuileries, Palais-Bourbon, etc.), Parisian “hôtels particuliers” (private mansions built by the aristocracy, such as Le Bas de Montargis, Dangé and de Chevreuse), not to mention the elite’s country homes (Voré, d’Abondant), visitors are invited to explore a wide panoply of places and atmospheres that contributed to the blossoming of French decorative arts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, thus creating a fitting historical backdrop for the presentation.

Visitors will thus encounter members of the royal family (Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, the prince de Condé, the comte d’Artois, Mesdames de France (the king’s daughters), Marie-Antoinette), but also the king’s mistresses (Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry), nobles of the royal court such as the duc de Chevreuse and the marquis de Sourches, and wealthy financiers such as Claude Le Bas de Montargis, the keeper of the royal treasure, and the tax collector François-Balthazar Dangé.

The collection naturally includes pieces by the period’s greatest creative geniuses in the decorative arts, some of whom enjoyed prestige across Europe during their lifetime to an extent difficult to appreciate today: the cabinet- makers André-Charles Boulle, Charles Cressent, Bernard II van Risemburgh, Jean-François Oeben, Martin Carlin and Jean-Henri Riesener; the silver- and goldsmiths Thomas and François-Thomas Germain, Jacques Roëttiers and others of his family, and Robert-Joseph Auguste; and the painters and decorators Charles Lebrun, Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Charles-Antoine Coypel. The most celebrated of these were granted the royal privilege of free lodgings in the Galerie du Louvre alongside their workshops and became the first in a long line of renowned masters in the decorative arts, such as André-Charles Boulle or Tomas Germain. Truly laboratories of invention, their workshops served not only French kings and courtiers, but also their counterparts outside France, thus contributing to the dissemination of French culture and setting fashions for the other courts of Europe.

The visitor experience is also enriched through multi media equipment and information panels contextualizing the pieces on display, with historical and sociological references elucidating aspects such as the development of taste and the world of production, the universe of intermediaries and merchants, as well as the changing shape of commissions and uses.

Period rooms: Exploration of a French art of living

Within each sequence of galleries, particular attention is paid to the design of period rooms, making every effort to reinstall the decoration and furnishings in their original configuration. Other rooms bring together “recollections of interiors,” stylistically coherent groupings of furniture and objects within a recreated decorative setting.
This museological concept of period rooms, adopted from the nineteenth century by certain historical or decorative arts museums, meets the expectations of a broad audience, making this luxurious art of living immediately perceptible and easier to apprehend, in all its unequaled elegance and refinement, and restores the most magnificent inventions of decorators and master artisans to their natural environment.

The period rooms thus created provide the opportunity to reconstruct documented decorative groupings, accompanied by period furniture, such as the drawing rooms and library of the Hôtel de Villemaré, the Grand Salon of the Château d’Abondant and the ceremonial bedchamber at the Hôtel de Chevreuse.

In collaboration with other departments at the museum, the galleries will also feature ancient or modern paintings and sculptures, pastels and engravings, either on a permanent basis or in the form of a rotating presentation. For instance, the famed portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud will be displayed in one of the Council of State chambers, where one of the world’s most beautiful groupings of Boulle furniture pieces will also be on view.
In addition, the new exhibition design allows for the installation of major painted decorations, such as the panels by d’Oudry from the Château de Voré or the ceiling frescos from the Palazzo Pisani in Venice, attributed to Giovanni Scajario (1726–179 ). The Pavillon Marengo will house an extraordinary cupola painted by Antoine-François Callet (1 741–1823) for the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé.

A project funded entirely through the museum’s own resources

This renovation project, with a budget of €26 million, is entirely funded through the museum’s own resources as part of the Louvre Atlanta project and is made possible by the generous support of its main sponsors: Montres Breguet; the members of the Cercle Cressent chaired by Mrs. François Pinault; the American Friends of the Louvre and their Cressent Circle; the Société des Amis du Louvre; MGM China, Pansy Ho, Yan Pei-Ming and a number of Hong Kong patrons; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and their major patrons Cynthia Fry Gunn and John A. Gunn; and with additional support provided by Kinoshita Group.
Jacques Garcia has graciously shared his skills and expertise by contributing the exhibition design for the new galleries.

Beit Guvrin-Maresha Caves Named Israel’s Eighth UNESCO World Heritage Site‏

July 10, 2014 on 7:03 am | In Adventure Travel, Israel, Middle East, Museums | Comments Off

National Geographic by Live PreparedThe Beit Guvrin-Maresha caves were recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the eighth site in Israel to be included in the prestigious list.

Located in the Judean Valley, Beit Guvrin-Maresha features a system of more than 500 caves located across a three-square-mile area outside of Jerusalem. UNESCO describes the site as “a microcosm of the Land of Caves,” and as a “city under a city,” characterized by a selection of manmade caves excavated from a thick layer of soft chalk.

Artifacts excavated at Beit Guvrin-Maresha date back to the Iron Age until the Crusader period, and include oil presses, stables, underground cisterns and channels, baths, tomb complexes and places of worship. Visitors to the site can tour its columbarium caves, 30 interconnected underground caves, huge cisterns from the Hellenistic period, Sidonian burial caves featuring reconstructed wall paintings and a Roman amphitheater.

“We are thrilled about the naming of one of the world’s most important excavation sites to Israel’s already amazing concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner of Tourism, “We hope this prestigious recognition will inspire a new wave of archeology-focused travelers to visit in Israel this year.”

Additional UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel include: the “White City” of Tel Aviv, featuring more than 4,000 Bauhaus and International architecture-style buildings; the mountaintop fortress of Masada; the Biblical Tels of Megiddo, Beersheba and Hazor; the Incense Route; the Baha’i Holy Shrines in Haifa; the Old City of Acre; and the Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve.

For more information about travel to Israel, visit

National Trust For Scotland Opens Doors For Inspiring Events

July 7, 2014 on 8:19 am | In London, Museums, Scotland, United Kingdom, Webbandstand | Comments Off

The National Trust for Scotland is throwing open the doors of its most exclusive heritage venues to meetings and events buyers, with the launch of its Unique Venues for Corporate Entertaining collection.

In total 19 historic castles and stately homes, which for centuries have been the preserve of kings and queens, are now primed to host corporate dinners and incentives, team building events and boardroom away days.

From imposing venues such as Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast, to the Trust’s collection of stately homes and castles in Fife and Aberdeenshire, and right up to a modern multi-media experience at The Battle of Bannockburn centre, there is a heritage getaway in every corner of Scotland.

As well as entering into a strategic partnership with corporate teambuilding specialists, Team Challenge, the Trust can also offer bespoke packages, such as Bushcraft at Crathes Castle, roaring 1920′s style fun at Hill of Tarvit near St Andrews, and murder mystery dinners at Pollok House in Glasgow.

Rebecca Sloan, National Hospitality Manager, at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “Increasingly we are experiencing growing demand, not just for traditional meetings and dinners, but also for unique, five star experiences.

“These historic properties are not just well suited for entertaining, they were designed for it and that is what sets them apart. Guests will step behind the rope barriers and take a virtual step back in time to see firsthand national treasures, learn the fascinating stories of those who have lived in the buildings and how they came to own the amazing collections displayed within them, and talk to dedicated curators and conservators, giving a truly authentic experience.

“Our properties are so much more than museums and visitor centres, they are evolving, dynamic and valuable assets. In choosing a National Trust for Scotland venue, businesses will be playing a crucial part in supporting a leading conservation charity and helping to preserve our heritage for generations to come.”

For a complete list of the National Trust for Scotland’s Unique Venues for Corporate Entertaining collection, go to

Webbandstand for Concerts and Performing Arts

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