Frank Sinatra Exhibit 2015

Major Frank Sinatra exhibition planned for 2015 centennial year

The New York Library of the Performing Arts chose what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 99th birthday Friday to announce a major exhibition dedicated to the Chairman of the Board.

Curated by L.A.’s Grammy Museum, “Sinatra: An American Icon” is set to open in March, and is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles and other cities.

The exhibition is a collaboration with the Sinatra family and Frank Sinatra Enterprises and will include many items from the family’s personal collection, including concert and interview footage, letters, awards and other personal items along with film and music materials from the library.

It will focus on the 20th century’s premiere “saloon singer,” as Sinatra typically described himself, during the centennial of his birth in Hoboken, N.J., on Dec. 12, 1915. The show has been designated “the official exhibition of the 2015 Frank Sinatra Centennial,” and is scheduled to open March 4 and run through Sept. 4 at the performing arts library.

Pop & Hiss is still waiting to hear whether the show will include a noteworthy letter Sinatra wrote to The Times back in 1990 that has been circulating of late on the Internet. In it, Sinatra responded to a cover story on George Michael in which the former Wham! singer complained about the price of fame.

“I don’t understand a guy who lives ‘in hopes of reducing the strain of his celebrity status’,” Sinatra wrote at that time. “Here’s a kid who ‘wanted to be a pop star since I was about 7 years old.’ And now that he’s a smash performer and songwriter at 27 he wants to quit doing what tons of gifted youngsters all over the world would shoot grandma for — just one crack at what he’s complaining about.”

“Come on George. Loosen up,” he continued. “Swing, man. Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we’ve all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments.”

We’re also hoping there’s a photo of the famous sign–or perhaps even the sign itself–memorably posted over the doorbell of Sinatra’s Hollywood home.

Songwriter Jimmy Webb talked about it during a show in L.A. a few years ago, recalling his invitation to meet Sinatra and hopes of getting him to record some of the songs that had quickly made the long-haired young musician from Oklahoma one of the hottest songwriters in the world in the mid- and late-1960s.

As Webb walked up to the door, he thought twice about pushing the button as he read the sign: “You better have a damn good reason for ringing this bell.” He did, and eventually Sinatra would refer to him as “the wonderful kid Jimmy Webb.”

Link to original LA Times Article

Turn Fire Department Ship Into a Museum

Bid to Turn Fire Department Ship Into a Museum Founders

During its 72 years of service as a New York Fire Department powerhouse boat, the 134-foot-long Fire Fighter was a comforting sight at many harbor blazes and emergencies, including the Sept. 11 attacks, when it helped supply water to firefighters at ground zero.

So when a group of historic-minded boat enthusiasts obtained the decommissioned boat last October from the city for a $250 processing fee, they assumed it would be easy to find a home along the New York City waterfront to set up the Fire Fighter as a museum ship.

That has not been the case.

Their attempts to secure a berth in the city — including the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Bridge Park and waterfront locations on Staten Island and along the West Side of Manhattan — have been rejected.

Even a city-owned dock on City Island in the Bronx proved unavailable, said one of the buyers, Charlie Ritchie, a youth counselor in Yonkers.

“The politicians should be ashamed of themselves,” Mr. Ritchie said. “They had an important historical treasure here and they let it go.”

“There’s no more important boat in New York City, and it should be there right now,” he added.

Having come up empty in the city, a retired firefighter friend mentioned the village of Greenport, near the eastern end of the north fork of Long Island.

Village officials there saw the boat’s potential as a tourist attraction, and offered inexpensive dock space.

But with the arrival of the busy summer boating season, controversy has arisen, complicating the prospect of the Fire Fighter remaining in the village.

“Everyone likes the idea that the boat has this history behind it, but nobody wants to be the landlord,” said Mr. Ritchie, who along with other members of the Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum group, as well as a crew of retired Fire Department personnel once assigned to the vessel, sailed the Fire Fighter in February from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and tied it up at a village dock.

But village officials, needing to make room for higher-paying yachts, want to move the Fire Fighter to another spot, the Railroad Pier, which sees tourist traffic.

But this idea has upset commercial fishermen who rent space along the pier and who fear that the fireboat will force some of them to move.

Other local residents and waterfront merchants have called the Railroad Pier a dangerous and inappropriate place to dock an aging fireboat that could pose a hazard — it could sink, leak fuel or oil, or become ripped free during a severe storm.

“The potential environmental hazard here is quite large — nobody knows the condition of the boat,” said Stephen Clarke, who owns Greenport Yacht and Shipbuilding Company.

John Costello, a local dockbuilder who has worked extensively on the Railroad Pier, said it “was not designed for that size boat; it’s the wrong spot.”

“The pier has been neglected and hasn’t been maintained,” Mr. Costello added.

Michael Osinski, who grows oysters commercially off his property close to the Railroad Pier, said he feared that a leak from the Fire Fighter could contaminate local waters and devastate his business.

He worried that the vessel was “an accident waiting to happen” and a potential liability for the village.

Perhaps the most prudent move, Mr. Osinski said, was made by New York City officials when they got rid of the boat and gave the new owners “just enough gas to get it to Greenport.”

Despite the opposition, the Village Board voted recently to let the Fire Fighter dock at the Railroad Pier, as long as the boat’s owners have the Fire Fighter pulled out of the water and inspected, which would most likely cost more than $100,000, and obtain an insurance policy covering environmental cleanup, in case of a spill.

But the group seeking to turn the Fire Fighter into a museum said it did not have deep pockets.

“I don’t think we’ll get a millionaire donor to save us, but we’ve been staying alive on people donating fives and tens, and I’ll take that,” Mr. Ritchie said, adding that despite the setbacks, large crowds have turned out for free weekend tours of the Fire Fighter.

“With all the people showing up, we can hardly work on the boat,” he said.

Many of the visitors are former firefighters who were once assigned to the boat, or their relatives, Mr. Ritchie said.

The Fire Fighter is in good running shape, with most of its original parts and features, including its two huge diesel engines and its ability to pump roughly 20,000 gallons per minute of water, Mr. Ritchie said.

On July 4, several retired firefighters helped prepare and then operate the pumps to conduct a spectacular water display for crowds along the town’s piers.

“It’s from the days of blood-and-guts firefighting,” Mr. Ritchie said, listing exploits like having survived pier explosions and being nearly crushed while fighting a fire that engulfed a military ship in 1942.

The Fire Fighter was used as both a display and for protection at the 1939 World’s Fair, in Flushing Bay, and was part of the parade of ships during the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. It responded to the Staten Island Ferry crash in 2003 and to the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing of the US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009.

And now it sits in a limbo of politics and bureaucracy while Suffolk County officials, who have the final say for complicated administrative reasons, decide if the Fire Fighter can be moved to the Railroad Pier.

Mr. Ritchie sees Greenport as a worthy place to dock and restore the Fire Fighter and to use it for educational and recreational sails for the public, as well as programs for military veterans, students and others.

“The boat’s got a life right now,” he said, “and to have it pushed to another place would hurt us.”

New York Times – Bid to Turn Fire Department Ship Into a Museum Founders


City Keep Seaport Museum Afloat

City Appoints Trustees To Keep Seaport Museum Afloat

City officials are trying to calm the waters at the South Street Seaport Museum.

Two trustees recently appointed by the mayor’s office and one trustee appointed on behalf of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs have formed a skeleton board to oversee the waterfront attraction.  The museum’s waterfront director will serve as interim president.  It comes after the museum’s partnership with the Museum of the City of New York was not renewed last month.

The seaport museum has been struggling to recover after Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $22 million in damage to the building’s mechanical, heating and electrical systems. The Museum of the City of New York began overseeing the seaport location in 2011.  The city says it will continue looking for another institutional partner.

– See more on NY1:

Seaport Museum Loses an Institutional Backer

Seaport Museum Loses an Institutional Backer

The South Street Seaport Museum.
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times The South Street Seaport Museum.

Having struggled to make a go of the South Street Seaport Museum in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Museum of the City of New York has decided to pull out of running the troubled institution.

“Sandy really just did us in,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, the City Museum’s president, who has been stewarding both institutions in what was considered a last-ditch effort. “There still exists this huge amount of post-Sandy work that is enormous in terms of dollars, which is going to take years.”

Ms. Jones added that her board wants her to concentrate on the City Museum on Fifth Avenue at 103d Street.

In dire financial straits, the Seaport Museum was rescued by the City Museum in 2011. A $2 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation gave it 18 months to put the Seaport museum back on solid footing, and the period was extended for nine months. The museum also received $750,000 from private donors and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The City Museum had just reopened the Seaport Museum after a one-year hiatus. Sandy sent water surging to six feet at the lobby entrance, wiping out the building’s electrical systems and destroying its cafe, admission desk, computer system and gift shop.

“It’s a huge personal sadness for me,” Ms. Jones said. “It’s just not workable.”

The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, which has been involved in helping the Seaport Museum, held out hope of a further rescue. “We’re working to see if we can find another entity” that can take over the organization, said Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner. If no group comes forward, responsibility for the museum will fall to the New York State attorney general.

MOMA – Labrouste Exhibit

The Displayers will construct tables to match those Henri LaBrouste designed for the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in the 1840’s.


The Museum of Modern Art describes this show as:
Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light,
the first solo exhibition of Labrouste’s work in the United States, establishes his work as a milestone in the modern evolution of architecture. The exhibition includes over 200 works, from original drawings—many of them watercolors of haunting beauty and precision—to vintage and modern photographs, films, architectural models, and fragments. Labrouste made an invaluable impact on 19th-century architecture through his exploration of new paradigms of space, materials, and luminosity in places of great public assembly. His two magisterial glass-and-iron reading rooms in Paris, the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (1838–50) and the Bibliothèque nationale (1859–75), gave form to the idea of the modern library as a temple of knowledge and as a space for contemplation. Labrouste also sought a redefinition of architecture by introducing new materials and new building technologies. His spaces are at once overwhelming in the daring modernity of their exposed metal frameworks, lightweight walls, and brightness, and immersive in their timelessness.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum

Arts | Connecticut

Mournful, Angry Views of Ireland’s Famine

A Review of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, in Hamden

Mark Stanczak/Quinnipiac University

PROCESSION A print of a grieving family is projected on a video wall. By SYLVIANE GOLD / Published: January 4, 2013

Most museums that bear witness to a nightmare, like Yad Vashem in Jerusalem or the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, are hard to visit. Caught between our need to understand the history and our wish to turn away from the horror, we don’t quite know where or how to look.

But Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, which opened in October in Hamden, is a different kind of place. For one thing, the event it commemorates, the Irish potato famine, happened too long ago for news cameras to capture piled-up corpses and harrowing testimony. It lacks shocking artifacts, like Hiroshima’s charred, stopped pocket watches. And its contemporary accounts, seen through the period gloss of antique typefaces and hand-drawn images, provide safe distance rather than harsh immediacy.

The museum, a project of Quinnipiac University, presents a selection of these prints and periodicals, as well as letters and other documents, responding in real time to Ireland’s starving populace and deserted villages. But in its inaugural exhibition, it lets later artists, both from Ireland and from the countries in which famine victims settled, do most of the talking. This has the surprising effect of simultaneously softening and sharpening the gruesome facts.

What the Irish now call An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger) began in 1845, when a deadly fungus attacked the island’s staple food. In tandem with the government in England, which could have mitigated the disaster but found many excuses to limit its role, the potato blight brought Ireland a growing tragedy of slow starvation, rampant disease and escalating despair that did not abate until 1852, by which time a million or more had died and some two million had fled.

It took 150 years after the famine’s worst year, Black ’47, for England to acknowledge some blame for it, and nearly as long for Irish artists to begin grappling with its legacy. So the strongest work in the museum is modern, varying widely in material and ranging in tone from mournful to polemical.

Margaret Lyster Chamberlain’s moving bronze, “The Leave-Taking,” is distinctly in the first key, with its 17 bedraggled figures crowding a ship’s gangway that leads to a new life in America — if they survive the voyage. Another striking bronze, John Behan’s “Famine Cart,” is even more blunt: a skeletal horse drags both itself and a wagon loaded with emaciated cadavers to the burial ground. In “An Gorta Mor” Robert Ballagh uses stained glass for a before-and-after triptych, in which a bucolic farm scene and an eviction flank a half-thriving, half-rotting potato plant. If Mr. Ballagh refers to the Catholic Church in his choice of medium, Kieran Tuohy exploits the Irish landscape itself for his sculpture of a “Lonely Widow,” carved in bog oak.

The painters also defy categorization. Lilian Lucy Davidson’s haunting “Burying the Child” packs an intense emotional wallop, with the central figure leaning into his shovel almost as if he were still digging potatoes; but it is a straightforward image of loss. Nearby, Hughie O’Donoghue addresses the hard times in an abstract watercolor, “On Our Knees.” And in “Black ’47,” Micheal Farrell takes an allegorical approach, depicting a courtroom in which five Irish skeletons emerge from a coffin to accuse Britain, in the reviled person of Charles E. Trevelyan, who ran the government’s disastrously inadequate relief efforts.

“There is scarcely a woman of the peasant class in the west of Ireland whose culinary art exceeds the boiling of a potato,” Trevelyan sniffed in his 1848 book about Britain’s blame-the-victim policies, betraying the contempt with which he viewed the “ignorant and excitable” people he was ostensibly trying to help.

This contempt is visible also in the many famine images of apelike Irish peasants in British journals of the day. They are plastered floor to ceiling, along with illustrated newspaper pages from elsewhere, on a circular enclosure that surrounds the viewer and conveys not just specific horrors from the famine years but also the intense public interest in the Irish suffering abroad and the endless, useless wrangling of the political classes.

It calls to mind the debates that have been raging here and in Europe since 2008, circling around the same old issues of austerity, socialism and responsibility. Trevelyan thought his harsh remedies would lead to a smarter, happier, more efficient, more responsible future. In the galleries of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum we come face to face with what really happened.

Inaugural Exhibition, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum (Musaem An Ghorta Mhoir), 3011 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. For additional information: or (203) 582-6500.

New York Times Article

Exec hopes math museum adds up – Math Museum – New York

Source Lunch: Exec hopes math museum adds up

Glen Whitney, a 43-year-old math professor turned hedge funder, will soon realize a dream. In December, he will open the Museum of Mathematics, or MoMath, a state-of-the-art interactive museum at 11 E. 26th St. The executive director created the museum in an effort to excite American youth about the sometimes inscrutable field. He left his lucrative job as an algorithms manager at quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies four years ago and set out to build the cultural institution, raising nearly $24 million.

What do you want MoMath to achieve?

The mission is to change perceptions about mathematics. One of our trustees put it very simply: If we can show people just three things—that math is fun, that it’s beautiful and that with it you can get a really good job—then we’ll be a complete success.

Is the United States in trouble because our kids are not up to par in the subject?

Yeah, it’s clear, and you don’t have to take it from us. I was sitting down with someone from Microsoft Corp. just a couple of weeks ago, and they said last year they had 2,500 positions they couldn’t fill because they can’t find people with sufficient math and computer science skills. Raytheon Corp. told us they have 4,500 open positions because of the same thing.

What is the coolest thing at the museum?

That’s a tough question. My favorite is called Feedback Fractals, probably because of how simple it is. There are four video cameras that are all focused on this screen with which you can create an incredible array of striking images that seem to well up out of nowhere.

Is this actually math?

People ask us that a lot about our exhibits because we’re bringing out these aspects of math that people, unfortunately and sadly, don’t get to see in their whole 2,000 hours of forced math exposure over the course of kindergarten to 12th grade. This is math in a whole number of ways. The simplest way is just the understanding that there is a repeating pattern, and that is the root of mathematics.

How did you raise all the money for the museum? Did you hit up your hedge fund friends?

There were a number of things we had to do: Build a board of trustees, raise money, find advisers, find volunteers. Like anything, it’s like ripples in a pond. You start with the people you know. The first rule was go to every [relevant event] and tell everyone you see and meet about this idea.

Did you meet your fundraising goal?

We have one area of critical need: exhibit sponsorship. Our exhibits are very innovative, so we got estimates of how much they would cost. But the fabricators said they’ve never built anything like this before. As a result, the quotes came out much higher than the estimates had been. We will open with about 35 of the planned exhibits. But we still need to raise another $1.5 million to $2 million to complete the vision and get to 45 exhibits eventually.

What is the target age for the museum?

The people we try to keep in mind as we’re creating things is fourth through eighth grade. Kids in elementary school are often excited by math and science, and the kids who are good at it are heroes. Then something happens in middle school, where suddenly it’s not cool to be good at math and science. We want to target that age and have a place that’s really cool, a place where it’s safe to express your love for mathematics.

Were you stigmatized for loving math as a kid?

There were other folks in my high school that got, shall we say, ribbed for being the brainiac, and I was very conscious that I didn’t want that to happen to me. So I tried to lie low a little bit.


Crains New York Article – Jul 15, 2012 5:59 am

6 Tips to Managing Client Expectations

6 Tips to Managing Client Expectations
Inc. Magazine
Michael A. Olguin
May 7, 2012

These tips will help you build longstanding relationships that can withstand the good times as well as the bad.

So much work goes into winning new business, regardless of the vertical space in which you work; there is the initial prospecting, early conversations, strategic program development, budget consideration, and creation of a deliverables timeline. Unfortunately, all of that work can come to a screeching halt before the ink is dry on the contract when the same amount of time, energy and commitment isn’t placed on managing the client’s expectations after the business is won.

To ensure this is never overlooked, we developed the Super Six: keys to developing excellent client expectations and building longstanding relationships that can withstand good times as well as bumps in the road. After all, it’s easy to keep a client when things are going well; maintaining a client when times are tough is the true test of a relationship. We believe the Super Six will aid in this process:

1. Build a relationship that goes beyond client/vendor I have long maintained that business people like working with people they not only respect, but also personally like. Therefore, we believe that developing a personal relationship goes a long way in building a stronger business relationship. Get to know the client’s family situation, how they spend their free time, where their interests lie and, most importantly, what motivates them on a daily basis. When you understand what makes them tick as a person, you can translate that into your business relationship.

2. Regularly communicate and address problems directly A lack of communication is usually at the root of most problems associated with clients. Any good client relationship will be able to weather setbacks if you are proactive in communicating both good and bad news. When communication is direct and transparent, trust forms and helps to create a foundation for long-lasting relationships.

3. Agree on strategy, goals and timelines Until you and your client agree on strategy, goals and timelines, you are always at risk of them not understanding what success is and how it should be measured. We always suggest creating a scope-of-work document that outlines the program details, budgets and metrics. This will alleviate any confusion over expectations and hopefully eliminate a difficult conversation.

4. Be a  Agree on strategy, goals and timelines When you offer your client advice, direction, input and business counsel, you become a truly valuable partner. This style of open dialogue helps to establish the respect necessary to ensure better project management. Clients hire outsourced marketing services because they want an objective opinion. If you fail at giving that POV, you subject yourself to being a “yes man or woman,” which will ultimately be your undoing.

5. Be a good listener Listening is one of the most misunderstood and least used tools in managing client expectations. Many clients are unsure of what they are trying to accomplish or not very good at articulating it. As such, you must have excellent intuition and listening skills in order to identify key messages being communicated. One of the best ways to compensate for a client who communicates poorly is to repeat what you have heard and ask them to confirm the accuracy of key takeaways, which will ultimately impact expectations.

6. Budget is not a bad word Most relationships will go south very quickly if you are not open and honest about budgets. To start, you must be realistic about setting a clear understanding of the budget required to execute the desired program. Throughout the course of the program, you must have regular dialogue about budgets. If you don’t address the client until you have an issue (i.e., operating over budget), you will not only have an unhappy client, you may also find yourself eating the overages.

At the end of the day, your ability to manage client expectations is going to hinge on how well you choose to communicate. If you leave things up to chance, chances are you and your client will both be disappointed. However, if you take the time to listen, be proactive about communicating openly and address any issues head-on, you will keep client expectations in check and be in a good position to grow your relationship over time.

How to Keep Museum-goers Happy

BY  ARTnews

As visitors crowd into blockbusters at rates of more than 800 people per hour,

museums are working behind the scenes to keep guests patient, informed, and calm!

Long lines. Jostling crowds. Mini-stampedes to get a look at the “good stuff.” A trip to a major museum exhibition these days can feel more like a Black Friday sale at Walmart than a rewarding adventure in esthetic uplift. So much so that a Gauguin retrospective at London’s Tate Modern, in 2010–11, elicited a slew of complaints on the museum’s Internet message board. “A good exhibition sadly marred by the gross overcrowding,” read a typical response. “I shuffled along with so many others struggling to see past the backs of so many heads.” The reactions of angry visitors led one art critic to dub the phenomenon “gallery rage,” and if that’s not quite as catchy as “road rage,” it may be endemic to our times.

But there is good news, and it’s twofold: attendance numbers at major exhibitions reveal no sign of flagging (even in a poor economy and even with higher entry fees) and museums are increasingly sensitive to visitors’ needs. Indeed, many devote serious time and personnel to forestalling meltdowns in their halls of culture.

A case in point is the recent Alexander McQueen retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which broke attendance records for a fashion exhibition at the institution. Visitors lined up for as long as five hours, but nearly all showed “remarkable patience and perseverance,” says Harold Holzer, senior vice president for external affairs at the Met. The museum’s visitor-services department, he adds, “staffed up as never before for McQueen,” and during the opening weeks, they kept a close eye on how many people could navigate the galleries and for how long. “We worked at the beginning of the show to create a flow that would accommodate visitors, protect the art, keep the climate control at ideal levels, and maximize the experience,” he says. “We learned that about 426 visitors per half hour would work best.” In the end, McQueen garnered a total of 661,509 visitors.

If that sounds like a lot, consider that the ongoing spectacular “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs,” now traveling the globe, still draws about a million people per city and averages 600 viewers per hour. “We put in a great deal of thought beforehand to managing that gallery capacity and managing expectations,” says Mark Lach, senior vice president of Arts & Exhibitions International, the chief organizer behind the King Tut show. When people are paying top dollar—between $28 and $32 admission to see Tut’s treasures—expectations can run unusually high. “You’ve got a certain segment of guests who want it to be that perfect experience,” he adds, “so if parking isn’t right, if the directions to the exhibition are confusing, you end up with a number who are frustrated before they even walk into the show.”

Timed ticketing, with entry slotted at fixed intervals, can help forestall frayed tempers. Simon Blint, head of visitor services at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, says he was spurred to introduce timed ticketing after receiving a serious tongue lashing from a man who had stood on line for an hour and a half waiting to see “Picasso and American Art,” in 2007. “The guy was incredibly frustrated,” Blint says, “and if I recall correctly, he was there with his children. He told me I was an idiot for not doing timed ticketing. And he was right.”

Making it clear up front how much of a schlep museum- goers are in for is helpful. “Don’t keep people in the dark,” Lach says. “Let them know that there are 12 galleries in the exhibition, that they can linger as long as they like, and that there’s a time they can count on for entry.” Any advance information may keep tantrums in check. Lach remembers his own visit to the McQueen show last summer: “As soon as I got on line, there was a little sign on a post that said, ‘From this point on, it’s about a 90-minute wait.’ And there were guest-services personnel handing out pamphlets on the exhibition and doing their best to answer questions.”

Sometimes the personal touch can help sweeten the wait. “A few times, my marketing colleagues got Argo Tea, a local chain, to donate hot beverages to those waiting in line for shows,” says Chai Lee, associate director of public affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago. “At one of our events, our previous director, Jim Cuno, even helped pass out tea and greeted visitors who queued up to get into the museum.”

“I spent a lot of time talking to visitors on line for the Vermeer show in the ’90s, because I would be relaying information to the press,” says Deborah Ziska, chief of press and public information at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “I was always going out and asking, ‘What time did you come here? How long have you been on line?’ Then I would tell that to the papers, so visitors would know how long a wait to expect.”

“People like to see that you have a system going,” adds Lynn Parrish, assistant director of visitor services at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “They want to see that you’re organized, and that they’re all being treated the same way. When we have a line outside on the sidewalk, for example, we post staff at various points.” And that can mean a serious number of personnel devoted to one exhibition. For the Met’s McQueen retrospective, Holzer says, “between visitor services and security, we had at least 40 to 50 people working all the time.”

No matter how meticulous the advance planning, museums can’t always predict which shows will be megahits or whether the galleries will provide enough room for uncrowded viewing. For the exhibition devoted to filmmaker Tim Burton at MoMA two years ago, “we were caught off guard,” confesses Parrish. “As the show grew in popularity, things got kind of crazy.” When controlled entry, letting visitors in a few at a time, turned out to be insufficient, the museum turned to a timed-ticket system. Before “Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917” opened, the museum fully expected the show to draw record numbers, and yet the sixth-floor galleries turned out to be spacious enough to see the work comfortably even at peak hours. “The challenge is a big artist in a small gallery,” Parrish says, “and that’s where you have to think about crowds and how you will deal with them.”

“At the New Museum, the response to the Carsten Höller exhibition was unprecedented and largely unexpected,” says Karen Wong, the museum’s director of external affairs. The survey of works by the German entomologist-turned-artist, this past fall and winter, included some unusual showstoppers: a 102-foot slide that corkscrewed down two stories, a sensory-deprivation tank where visitors could float in salt water, and an installation of flashing lights that supposedly induced hallucinations. “The sheer scale and constancy of the attendance surge—which included not only our core visitors but also a large new audience—was way beyond what we imagined.” As a result, staffers had to handle exigencies more typical of a hotel than a museum. “The demand for the supply of slippers, robes, and towels that visitors needed, which required laundering and constant replenishing, greatly exceeded what we anticipated,” notes Wong. To cover the tab, the museum raised the cost of regular admission from $12 to $16. The price hike wasn’t permanent—it has since dropped to $14—but it showed, Wong says, “how increased resources can translate into improved customer service.”

However, a big turnout can sometimes translate into lower ticket prices. For last year’s exhibition “Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art,” the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, promoted a limited-time two-dollar discount on tickets for lower-traffic slots on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “Those tickets sold well, and as a result high-traffic days weren’t oversubscribed and less-popular time slots were filled more than they might have been,” says Jennifer Garza, director of membership and guest services at the museum.

One great boon for museums sponsoring heavily attended blockbusters has been the number of memberships sold. More than 23,000 people purchased memberships to the Met during the run of the McQueen show, allowing those visitors to skip the line. (Another 17,000 paid $50 to see the exhibition during its last eight Mondays, when the museum is normally closed.) Similarly, MoMA sees its memberships soar when it implements timed ticketing. “We let members go any time they want to when there’s a timed-ticketed show,” says Parrish, “which is good and bad because it creates a variable—you don’t really know what’s going to happen. You might have a hundred members per half hour with their guests, or you might have 15 members.”

But blockbusters can also bring headaches in the form of ticket scalping. During the recent major exhibition of works by Leonardo da Vinci at the National Gallery in London, websites like eBay had tickets priced as high as £400 (about $628) when the regular charge was £16 ($25) per person. The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., faced similar problems for two of its biggest hits, “Johannes Vermeer,” in 1995, and “Van Gogh’s van Goghs,” in 1998. Museum passes, which are free, “were going for more than Redskins tickets at the time,” says Ziska. “A lot of homeless people would get on line for passes and then go off and scalp them.”

Museum personnel encounter other possibly devious tactics used to slip into popular shows. “You’d get calls from people who would give you these stories and you just don’t know what to think,” says Ziska. “‘My mother has cancer, and this is her last wish. Can you please get us in?’ Sometimes you don’t know what to say, but you try to believe them, to be sympathetic.”

Of course there are things visitors themselves can do to make a museum trip more pleasurable, no matter how packed the galleries. After newspaper reports of “gallery rage” at Tate Modern last year, Tim Dowling, a columnist for the Guardian, offered a set of cheeky-but-practical tips for making the most of the blockbuster experience. Go early or late, he advised, and tour the show nonsequentially, since “visitors tend to bunch up at the first few works of art.” Skip the audio tour for the same reason, and wear a high-visibility vest: “It makes you look official; people will be afraid to jostle you.” He even suggested forgoing the crowd-pleasers entirely. “Cultivate a taste for the overlooked, the offputting, the little understood and the poorly reviewed.”

Ann Landi is a contributing editor of ARTnews.

By Ann Landi Posted 03/27/12

Obesity and Other Targets of Children’s Museums

PLAY WITH A PURPOSE   EatSleepPlay at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is intended to promote children’s health.

CHILDREN’S museums do not usually have exhibitions that involve crawling through a giant digestive system.

A child exits a maze designed to explain the function of the intestines in the digestive process.

But such an installation — along with a play center where visitors learn the power of pedaling, bouncing and jumping and a place to meet superpowered vegetable heroes — is part of a larger effort by the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to help prevent childhood obesity.

While children’s museums are primarily known as activity centers to divert the younger set and to help form future museumgoers, they are increasingly focused on social outreach. “Part of our mission is to provide access,” said Andy Ackerman, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. “Social issues, education, health and creativity — it’s all a continuum, and we can connect those domains and reinforce each of them.”

The Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore has adapted museum exhibits and programming for children with special needs. The Young at Art Museum in Davie, Fla., has an afterschool arts program for homeless students. The Providence Children’s Museum in Rhode Island helps children in foster care find permanent families. And the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan provides a place for foster-care children to reunite with their birth parents by making art together.

“As resources become more and more scarce, everybody’s looking to children’s museums to fill varying kinds of needs for children and families,” said Janet Rice Elman, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums in Arlington, Va. “These are places where families can learn through play — from science to early literacy skills to parenting — in settings that are joyful.”

Many of these programs involve collaborations with other organizations that have specific expertise. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side, for example, developed its so-called EatSleepPlay effort with the National Institutes of Health and collaborates with the City University of New York on training at-home child-care providers in teaching literacy, math and science.

The Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo has joined with Henry Street Settlement’s Urban Family Center to bring free weaving, printmaking and sculpture to children living in transitional housing, culminating with a children’s art exhibition and a reception for families and friends. And the Boston Children’s Museum is joining with Head Start, Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston to prepare students for kindergarten.

“We want to be relevant to our communities,” said Jeri Robinson, the vice president for early childhood and family learning at the Boston museum.

Museums are also developing continuing relationships with outside experts. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for example, has worked closely with health advisers like Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. Her research helped the museum develop the sleep section of the EatSleepPlay exhibition,  covering topics like preparing for sleep, what happens during sleep and how much sleep children need.

Rather than serving as just one more recreational option, children’s museums are recasting themselves as essential anchors in their communities — “the hub or the center,” Mr. Ackerman said.

“Educating through the arts,” he added. “That’s how you change behavior.”

The New-York Historical Society is seeking to educate with its new DiMenna Children’s History Museum, which opened last fall. Young visitors learn about prejudice by studying the life story of James McCune Smith, the first African-American to earn a medical degree. They learn about money and credit by visiting the Alexander Hamilton pavilion. “All of the exhibits we’ve developed are focused on teaching a skill or a behavior,” said Louise Mirrer, the president and chief executive.

The museums are also reaching beyond their walls to take their programming more aggressively into underprivileged neighborhoods. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is replicating its exhibitions in East Harlem’s public housing. It sends two artists to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center every week to work with children. And it is running health and literacy programs in the Bronx and New Orleans.

And children’s museums are making a concerted effort to draw specific groups of people who might otherwise not come through their doors. On Mondays, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is open to children with autism and their families, as well as to school groups. “They need a quiet venue,” Mr. Ackerman said.

The ARTogether program at the Children’s Museum of the Arts brings foster children together with their biological parents to create art, led by a clinically trained, licensed art therapist. The museum recently expanded the effort to include families with children at risk of being placed in foster care. It has hired staff members who speak Mandarin and Cantonese.

“You can come to our space and participate alongside other folks who maybe aren’t having the same challenges,” said David Kaplan, the museum’s executive director. “You want to be supportive of families in the program but you want to be empowering them — you don’t want them to rely on you forever. Eventually you want them coming to the museum on their own terms and on their own time.”

In opening a larger space last fall, the Children’s Museum of the Arts hopes to generate more revenue to benefit children at risk, to provide a “nice, safe environment for people to come to,” Mr. Kaplan said.

Not only are children’s museums seeking to educate, they want their visitors to feel comfortable entering cultural institutions for many years to come and to see exhibitions that affirm their own experience. “The audiences who are living here want to be able to come here and see their lives reflected,” said Ms. Robinson of the Boston museum.

In some cases, the exhibits also take the visitors to places they have never been. The museum now features a Japanese silk weaver’s house that was a gift from Kyoto. “Many of our kids will never go to Japan,” Ms. Robinson said. “But they can have an authentic Japanese experience by coming to our house.”

By Robin Pogrebin / Published: March 14, 2012 / on page F2 of the New York Times

New York Transit Museum – NYT’s Review

The New York Times – Review / Published – December 15, 2011

The Displayers manufactured and installed this permanent 2,000 square foot exhibit including (11) interactives.

New York Transit Museum A display in “ElectriCity: Powering New York’s Rails.”


Most of us, while visiting the New York Transit Museum, will not care too much that in the 1930s large coiled tubes containing liquid carbon tetrachloride were used as fuses to protect the city’s subway system from short circuits. Many of us approach this subject so lightly that we might think a label on an electrical contraption — “Edison Bipolar Dynamo” — is missing a colon after the name of the inventor, who may not have been bipolar but was certainly a dynamo.

We also don’t think much about what makes the trains run, which is the subject of a major new exhibition here, “ElectriCity: Powering New York’s Rails.” Usually the only possible thrill in combining the words “electricity” and “subway” comes from recollections of the ominous sensations of childhood coalescing around that half-hidden “third rail.” The topic now inspires excitement only in times of failure, when stories are told about passengers lining up in the darkened tunnels, trying to avoid scampering rats while mounting ladders to safety.
One of the ways in which this charming and often engrossing museum in Brooklyn Heights works, though, is to recognize that most of us are thoroughly convinced of its subject’s ordinariness. We approach the museum as we do the subway early in the morning, in calm resignation, prepared for whatever fate has to offer. We descend the steps almost as if we were ordinary straphangers, as if we didn’t realize this Court Street subway stop (complete with original enameled signs, tiled walls and miscellaneous turnstiles) was decommissioned long ago to be used as a museum.
But it doesn’t take long before a nostalgic, geekish curiosity replaces ordinary commuter consciousness. We look around in wonder. How did this come to be? When did it change? How does it work?
This is a museum of specimens, a natural history museum of the city’s public transportation. There are facades of buses and trolleys along with their genealogies; models of diesel engines; examples of 70 years of turnstiles; and even an examination of how money and tokens — now almost obsolete — were once the subway’s currency. Original signs are posted like remnants of a dream: “Spitting on the platforms or other parts of this station is unlawful,” or “Warning. Do not lean over the edge of platform.” There are archives of photographs, drawings and blueprints. Head down to the tracks, and you see the ghosts of trains past: long extinct cars along with their descendants. They stand with open doors, as if awaiting passengers to rush for cane seats and enameled poles, the sight of which inspires fulsome memories of sweltering summer heat.The new electricity exhibition doesn’t quite succeed in making a place for itself in this company, but no one who comes here will see it in isolation, so it is best to take its strengths and weaknesses in stride. It was designed by curators from the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City and has some clever participatory displays (particularly those encouraging visitors’ play with electrical circuits) along with some terrific old machinery. But it takes its time on things that can be quickly portrayed and rushes through matters that are potentially bewildering, as if an uncertain engineer were at its helm.It also seems somewhat anemic since it immediately follows an exhibition, “Steel, Stone and Backbone,” that examines the subway’s construction during the early decades of the 20th century, when 30,000 men were extending the city’s reach below ground as others were propelling it skyward. Along with equipment of that era — surveying chains, enormous digging tools, a 15-ton jack — are explanations of how tunnels were dug underwater; how the “sandhogs,” the men who did the most dangerous work, worked in compressed air at the tunnels’ most vulnerable endpoints; how ethnic politics and labor unions evolved with the subways; and how, from time to time, lives were lost and sometimes saved.In 1916, we learn, Marshall Mabey and two other men were working on the tunnel under the East River when air started rushing out through a hole, and water began to pour in. The men were shot upward through the soft earth as if on a geyser. Only Mabey survived. “The last thing I recalled,” he said, “was seeing the Brooklyn Bridge above me while I was whirling around in the air.”How can descriptions of electrical generators compete with that? It can’t. At the opening of the electricity show we are dutifully shown four methods of generating power that together account for 98 percent of United States electricity: fossil fuel, nuclear power, hydropower and wind power. Each is represented in a panel display in which lights blink and mini-turbines spin, showing how the pressure of steam, water or wind creates electrical power. But the demonstrations are humdrum, the graphics rudimentary and the generators essentially the same.More interesting is a map of United States energy production. The top three states in production of hydropower? Washington, Oregon and California. The top state in production of wind power? Texas. Also suggestive is a rough chart of energy costs: Wind power requires more land and is most expensive; nuclear energy requires the least land; fossil fuels are the cheapest but have by far the highest carbon emissions.

The most effective demonstration of a generator, though, is a real one. Turn an enormous wheel that moves coils through a magnetic field, and arcing sparks of electricity are created. But it is unnecessarily difficult actually to see what is taking place. You can try studying a nearby diagram, but compressed details — “Wire coils connect to the commutator, which turns the rotor. Brushes gather electricity from the commutator.” — eclipses the clarity and immediacy of the working model.

And how is this related to the transit system? This should be the clearest and most dramatic part of the exposition, yet we can’t really put the pieces together. Why is Thomas Edison’s concept of direct current used for the subway’s third rail? George Westinghouse’s and Nikola Tesla’s rival idea of alternating current allowed electric power to be transmitted over long distances and into homes. But what is the advantage of direct current in the subway? And how does the train itself close the electrical circuit? This should be much clearer.

“Control boards” of earlier eras, once used to manage the subway system, are also intriguing but mysterious. You can actually learn more about the subway’s controls from the two film versions of “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three,” both of which used the museum’s subway station as a set.

Pay attention instead to the atmosphere of this underground technological world, which has its own version of muscular wonkiness, as if demanding full attention from the menial and the mental. It is also astonishing how much equipment from the turn of the 20th century was used almost to the century’s end. A wooden ammeter for measuring current was in use from 1900 until the 1980s; the system’s rotary converters that changed alternating current into direct current were used until 1999; a 1932 control board was in service until 1994. How is this possible, given the ordinary pace of technological change?


One answer is implied in another exhibition here, “The Plans Behind the Power,” which displays blueprints for the subway’s electrical stations and equipment. The plans don’t just demonstrate great care but are also self-consciously monumental, as if this project were as grand as, say, the construction of dams and canals. A 1903 drawing of a cross section of the 59th Street Powerhouse in Manhattan is an archetype of industrial art. A map of the slew of third rails in the 1910 Coney Island station looks like the beginning of an intricate roller coaster.

Monumentality and care accompanied an almost elementary simplicity: the entire system, after all, is based on the creation of sturdy electrical circuits. Once established, no major improvements were really necessary; pieces could simply be replaced by more sophisticated counterparts. Advances really came in engine construction and brake design and ultimately with the introduction of computers, which now make it possible to analyze enormous amounts of data used to control the largest urban transportation system in the world.

That doesn’t always translate into passenger delight, but in much of the museum, at least, it is possible to come close.

The New York Transit Museum, Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn Heights; (718) 694-1600,


NYC Museums are Drawing Record Crowds

Crain’s Magazine

Picture this: NYC museums are drawing record crowds for cheaper entertainment given the still shaky economy, and a number of strong exhibitions is drawing massive crowds to many institutions.

At the Guggenheim Museum, average monthly attendance so far this year is up 28% over last year. During the mid-April spring break week, the museum had the highest attendance ever recorded for that time period since it began tracking figures in 1992.

Throngs of people are lining up each day outside the Cooper-Hewitt,National Design Museum to see “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels.” The show is attracting more than 9,000 visitors a week, a record for the museum. Overall, the Cooper-Hewitt estimates its total attendance for the year will end up at 235,000, a 26% jump from last year.

“People are becoming members [of the museum] at the door just so they can go right into the show,” said Caroline Baumann, associate director of the Cooper-Hewitt, which will close in July for two years for a major expansion. “We have to put special systems in place to manage the crowds.”

Museum experts say attendance often grows during recessions. A study released last month by the American Association of Museums found that 50% of the nation’s museums had more visitors last year, with 32% reporting a significant increase. Though the recession is technically over, arts observers say many New Yorkers are still unsure economically and are taking their vacations at home. At the same time, international tourists are flocking to the city to take advantage of the weak dollar.

Less costly shows

The Metropolitan Museum of Art already enjoyed record attendance of 5.2 million during the past fiscal year, ended June 30. Officials at the museum say this year’s attendance is on track to at least equal that number. The Met’s current exhibition of Paul Cézanne’s card player paintings brings in 4,500 visitors on weekend days, and the Costume Institute show on the late designer Alexander McQueen, which opens this week, is expected to attract crowds.

Interestingly, the success at the gate comes as many museums have been forced by a drop in funding to build less costly shows around their own collections instead of bringing in popular but expensive loan shows.

At the Guggenheim right now, for example, there are no collections from Armani or motorcycle shows. The crowds are coming for a simpler exhibit from the museum’s own holdings titled “The Great Upheaval: Modern Art from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910- 1918,” which features a number of paintings recycled from the museum’s previous show.

“Museums are looking at their own collections and repackaging things in ways that are really fresh or more appealing to people,” observed Joe Harrell, director of marketing and product management at the Alliance for the Arts. “If you have a Picasso exhibit or expressionists in New York,people are going to eat it up, because this is what they think of when they think of these institutions.”

Despite museums’ newfound popularity, the earned income from the increased attendance hasn’t been enough to make up for the financial losses from cuts in government and private funding during the recession. Art experts say that for every dollar museums take in from visitors, they have to raise $3 from donors to keep operations going.

The American Museum of Natural History has two shows right now—“The World’s Largest Dinosaurs” and “Brain: The Inside Story”—that are full to capacity.But executives there said the admissions income will barely make a dent in a decreased endowment and the loss of some city and corporate funding.

Budgets remain depressed

El Museo del Barrio had one of its most popular exhibitions ever this past fall: “Nueva York 1613- 1945.” The show, presented with the New-York Historical Society, brought in 54,000 people and received rave reviews.

And since El Museo del Barrio reopened in the fall of 2009 after a major renovation, attendance has more than doubled, reaching 250,000 visitors last year.

But earned revenue makes up only 7% of the museum’s budget. With major cuts in corporate and especially government support, El Museo del Barrio must reduce its operating budget to $4.5 million from $6 million for the next fiscal year. Still, museum officials anticipate some tangible benefits from all this newfound popularity.

“Fundraising has gone down; it’s been tough with the recession,” said Suzy Delvalle,director of external affairs and development at El Museo. “But our renovation has been transformational. The bigger attendance numbers are great and will help us with fundraising going forward.”!


BY MIRIAM KREININ SOUCCAR / May 2, 2011 – Crain’s Magazine



MOMA – Pipilotti Rist

The Displayers are very proud to have taken part in this project and grateful to Pipilotti Rist and The Museum of Moderm Art (MOMA) for publicly thanking The Displayers upon the exhibitions plaque.  Pipilotti Rist’s video installation projected upon all walls of the MOMA’s second floor large gallery. Conceived for the public to view the installation from the prospective of artist, the floor was covered with carpeting and a 40′ diameter round couch that from above (and the third floor) looked like the iris of an eye. Upon the walls were (3) organic shaped round enclosures 15′ round designed to house and conceal theater scaled projectors and blend into the video. These enclosures were created from foam, custom carved and engineered to address ventilation, access and mounting of the projectors. The Displayers created these enclosures and couch for this exhibition. IMG_1501 a 960


List of New York Museums

Alice Austen House Museum

American Craft Museum

American Folk Art Museum

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of the Moving Image

American Numismatic Society

Americas Society

Artists Space

Asia Society and Museum


Bronx Museum of the Arts

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum

The Brooklyn Museum of Art


Carnegie Hall / Rose Museum

Central Park Zoo / Wildlife Gallery

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan

The Cloisters

Cooper – Hewitt


Dahesh Museum

Dia Center for the Arts

The Drawing Center


Ellis Island Museum

Empire State Building Lobby Gallery


Museum at FIT

Forbes Magazine Galleries

The Frick Collection


Gray Art Gallery

Goethe House


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum SoHo

Rose Center

The Hispanic Society of America

International Center of Photography

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum

Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum
Jewish Museum
LaGuardia and Wagner Archives

Lower East Side Tenement Museum


Madame Tussaud’s New York

Merchant’s House Museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Morgan Library

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

Municipal Art Society

El Museo Del Barrio

Museum at Eldridge Street

Museum for African Art

Museum of American Financial History

Museum of Chinese in the Americas

Museum of Jewish Heritage

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the Moving Image

Museum of Television and Radio
National Academy Museum

National Design Museum

National Museum of the American Indian

New Jersey Children’s Museum

New Museum of Contemporary Art

New York Botanical Garden

New York City Fire Museum

New York City Police Museum

New York Hall of Science

New York Historical Society

New York Public Library

New York Transit Museum

Nicholas Roerich Museum
PS1 Contemporary Art Center

Pierpont Morgan Library
Queens Historical Society

Queens Museum of Art
Rose Center for Earth and Space
Schomburg Center

Seaman’s Church Institute

Snug Harbor Cultural Center

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

South Street Seaport Museum

Staten Island Institute

Studio Museum in Harlem
Taipei Gallery

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
Ukrainian Museum
Wave Hill

Whitney Museum of American Art

Whitney Museum/Philip Morris

Crain’s New York – The Displayers

An article about our beginning.


Display maker puts together a solo effort

THE FAMILY BUSINESS CAN BE a frustrating place for a budding entrepreneur. Eager to make his own way, Greg Rathe abdicated his position as third-generation heir apparent at Rathe Productions, a big designer of trade shows and museum exhibits. Instead, four years ago he founded his own outfit, The Displayers.

“Growing your own company is something you don’t get a chance to do in a 55-year old family business,” says Mr. Rathe. Naming his company after his grandfather’s biggest competitor in the 1950s.

Mr. Rathe targeted an eclectic array of businesses, designing and installing trade show booths, exhibitions and showrooms.  Mr. Rathe says he made a specialty of fast turnarounds, calling on relationships he’d built up with suppliers during his years at the family business and assembling a melting pot of specializations on his staff.

The company balances display design with corporate identity work. Projects include in-store marketing materials for Apple Computer stores and acrylic logos for DKNY stores in Europe.  Museums may offer the most fertile ground for growth, as the size of The Displayers’ projects for that segment is increasing. The Displayers served as construction manager for the renovation of the Jewish Museum’s permanent exhibition and recently won a commission to create a 3,000-square foot exhibit at the New York City Police Museum.

The Displayers has grown to 1.4 million in revenues and eight employees.  That’s a far cry from Rathe Productions’ army of almost 100 architects, graphic designers, carpenters, metalworkers, engineers, computer specialists and artists, but Mr. Rathe says he has no regrets. “It’s like a fishing village – the sons go off and get their own boats,” he says. “There’s plenty of fish for everybody.”