What’s in a wall text? At galleries, it may be masking an artist’s heritage.

Online visitors seeking details about the National Gallery of Art’s highlight sculpture “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” — the subject of both a recent exhibition at the gallery and a Kennedy Center musical — encounter two options if they search by the artist’s name. A drop-down menu suggests either “Edgar Degas” or “Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas.” Clicking on either yields the same page, but it raises a question about the lack of consistency.

Across town at the Phillips Collection, wall texts accompanying the four Degas paintings on display identify the artist as Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. The Phillips also uses the full names of Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin and Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix alongside their paintings, but curiously it truncates several other artists’ names, including Ignace-Henri-Jean-Theodore Fantin-Latour, Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro, Morris Louis Bernstein, Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, and Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky. And a description plastered to the wall outside the museum’s renowned Rothko room nowhere mentions the artist’s given

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/whats-in-a-wall-text-at-galleries-it-may-be-masking-an-artists-heritage/2015/02/19/19857228-ae4b-11e4-abe8-e1ef60ca26de_story.html

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