As we turn the looking glass upon ourselves, 2011 promises to be an important year for UAM. First, a major curatorial project will take over Gallery C for much of the year. Every object in the Museum’s collection will be taken off the shelf and studied by Dr. Gray and graduate assistants with the goal of analyzing the collections for thematic relevance, quality, condition, accuracy in documentation, and prioritizing need for conservation, potential exhibition, de-accession, or reorganization.

Second, gallery B will present New Acquisitions: 2000-2010, a selection of the many wonderful gifts of art donated by local, national, and international collectors who value the mission of UAM as a cultural repository and educational institution. By acquiring art works of outstanding quality, UAM aims to add to its collection by means of gift, purchase, or bequeath. We seek to expand the range and texture of the art Collection by understanding the historical significance and changing historical narratives of the pieces. Paying particular attention to achieving a comprehensive representation of developments in Louisiana art and artists, UAM looks forward to introducing New Acquisitions: 2000-2010.

In our new “flex” space on the second floor, we feature another spotlight exhibition, titled, Say It Isn’t Faux, a spotlight on research and provenance, specific to our behind-the-scenes work on our collection. Visitors seldom see or consider the numerous projects which constitute the real work we do as harbingers of culture. Part of a museum’s mission is to research objects for their provenance or ownership history, to be sure an object can legitimately be kept in perpetuity, and our commitment to preserve, conserve, and share information about objects with cultural significance that is free of any illegal connections. Recognizing illegally acquired objects, either forgeries or illegal donations, requires detailed and vigilant work. When it comes to assuring our public, UAM proudly maintains the highest standards of civic trust and ethical principles while evaluating art work. Thus, exhibits on the second floor showcase our efforts on research and provenance as well as “catching a con man” before other museums become a victim of his deceit.  The picture above is a forgery that was recently gifted to UAM.  It was reportedly the work of Charles Courtney Curran, which UAM correctly identified as fraudulent and used to expose a highly successful forger.  The story has appeared internationally in publications such as The Art Newspaper, The London Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Financial Times of London.

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