Tuesday, October 12, 2004

More on Harvey S. Shipley Miller


Way back in July, I posted Mr. Miller's address here, because there had been what I called "a puff piece" in the New York Magazine. What I did not mention at the time, was shortly after posting it, I got a telephone call from Mr. Miller. More on that later.

As the article in New York Mag mentioned, he indeed is donating a whack of drawings to a museum. Initially it was supposed to be MOMA, as the New York Times reported back at the end of September. Todd, over at From the Floor, analyzed the situation in detail, making the point that everybody seems aghast that initially Mr. Miller said that it was an all or nothing deal, but according to Benjamin Genocchio's article, it had transformed into something quite different. "'The collection is not being presented to them as an all-or-nothing gift,' Mr. Miller said." Given that "the drawings will be officially offered in January..." I'm not certain what the tempest in a teapot was all about, except that it might have been a slow news day in the Art World (aren't all of them like that?).

What I found most interesting was that a mere two days before the article in the NYTimes, they published a book review (omigosh!) on a book by Meryle Secrest called "Duveen: A Life in Art." The business of Art has always been cloudy, sometimes it is downright pitch black. Given the details in the review (and in the Getty Museum exhibit on the Business of Art) about Mr. Duveen, what Mr. Miller is doing is not new.

As for the phone call, it was quite cool. Mr. Miller was quite concerned with his phone number being published on the internet (I had initially put that up, too). What I pointed out to him, was that the information is readily available in any phone book, none the less, I agreed to remove his phone number.

But, it became evident, after chatting for a while, that he was at least feigning interest in Zeke's Gallery. And that is exactly what I am here for. As I mention about a gazillion times an hour, despite "record attendance" at museums there are not enough people who give a rat's ass about visual art. From my experience, it is precisely because most of them consider it the equivalent of voodoo mumbo jumbo.

There ain't no reason in the world that regular folk, who can be assumed to be reasonably intelligent should have this reaction. So, I do my darndest to make the whole shebang as open, inviting and comfortable as possible, to as many people as possible. If I'm getting through to Mr. Miller, then I sorta think that I am doing my job. Props to him, for having his eyes open enough so that new stuff could get through to his brain.

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