Cantor Arts Center Director Resigns After Investigation into Toxic Culture and More: Morning Links from November 19, 2020

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Susan Dackerman, the director of Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, has resigned “under pressure after a lengthy investigation revealed a toxic work culture with heavy staff turnover and low morale.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

Nazi-looted Pissarro painting was to go on view at an Oklahoma museum through a landmark restitution deal. Now the heiress who inherited the painting has changed her mind, raising concern from U.S. museum groups. [The Art Newspaper]

Melanie Gerlis reports that a new survey of art collectors in New York by Clare McAndrew reveals that though 90 percent of them have used online viewing rooms, only 22 percent have actually bought art from them. [Financial Times]

Several state legislators have signed a letter in support of the unionization of staff at Maine’s Portland Museum of Art[Maine Public]

The Pandemic

A new survey of British museums and galleries by the London-based Art Fund “paints a gloomy picture,” as 60 percent say they are “facing an existential threat” as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact. [The Guardian]

Here’s how Washington State’s second pandemic lockdown is impacting Seattle-area museums and galleries. [The Seattle Times]

Many institutions have begun mounting exhibitions that “aim to foster calm and hope” visitors in face of the pandemic. [The Wall Street Journal]


Constance Grady takes a deep dive into the racial reckonings many elite museums are currently facing, writing “undoing old patterns means untangling nearly everything.” [Vox]

Joseph C. Thompson, the founding director of MASS MoCA, talks about leaving his job after 33 years. “No doubt I have a terminal case of founderitis, and by rights probably should have left years ago,” he said. [The New York Times]

Art & Artists

Classical music critic Mark Swed writes about how Philip Glass’s 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach “changed everything,” with its New York premier representing “a new beginning for opera in America.” [Los Angeles Times]

Jason Farago reviews the Asia Society Triennial, writing that the show “feels less like a calamity than a missed opportunity, and might have benefited from a longer postponement and rethink.” [The New York Times]

Jacob Lawrence’s “Struggle … from the History of the American People” series goes on view at the Birmingham Museum of Art this week and two local collectors reflect on meeting the artist when he visited the city in 1994. [Birmingham Times]

James Tarmy writes about how “banks are some of the most important art patrons in the world” today, deeming them the “new Medici.” [Bloomberg]

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