Private Museums

I went to a forum at ARCO in Madrid about the topic of ‘Art Museums in the Public Realm’. It began with Dani Levinas, the chairman of the Phillips Collection, founded in 1921, a private museum surrounded by the state museums of the Smithsonian; then Marcela Guerrero of the Whitney, which I don’t really think of as a private museum, except in so far as it doesn’t receive any public funding, so technically is; Jeremy Strick, the Director of the Nasher Museum; and Margaret Conrads, the Curatorial Director of Crystal Bridges. What became clear is that private museums which may begin out of the private passions in individual collectors, like Patsy and Ray Nasher, quickly develop ambitious public responsibilities, as at Crystal Bridges, which has very ambitious programmes of showing work by women artists (up to 40% of the collection) and native Americans.

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