MIA Stories

  • MIA STORIES is the museum beyond the walls, outside the frame, at the lively intersection of life and art. From behind-the-scenes buzz to inspiring connections with current events, it’s the museum in conversation.

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Maxed out: Subduing an arch rival for the Habsburgs show

Anyone entering Phil Barber’s studio in the belly of the MIA recently might think they had stumbled upon a Habsburgian Montessori class. On the floor were 190 pieces of paper that Barber had cut from the pages of a battered, leather-bound portfolio. Somehow the shapes would fit together to become the Triumphal Arch of Maximilian . . . Keep reading »

MIA 24th Street Entrance with "Paul Wunderlich" exhibition signage.

Once at MIA: Spring of ’69

Paul Wunderlich had some groupies. Though it’s more likely that these art-loving young ladies scaling the MIA in 1969 were on the prowl for fellow Wunderlich fans, not the artist himself. It’s not hard to understand why: The German surrealist painter, printmaker, and sculptor, whose name literally means “strange” in his native tongue, was known for . . . Keep reading »

Bruce Dayton, Richard Davis, and Russell Plimpton 1955

Once at MIA: The Collectors

They stand close, but not too close, pillars of the museum with plenty of ideological daylight between them. This was January 12, 1955, amid a host of new acquisitions. Russell Plimpton (seated) had led the MIA as its director for 34 years. His soon-to-be successor, Richard Davis (on the right), was then the senior curator, already . . . Keep reading »


The Hairy Family and the Habsburgs

Of all the memorable images on view at the MIA in “The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty,” the one that may haunt you—may send you scurrying to Google to assuage your curiosity—is a small portrait of a girl named Antonietta Gonzales. She is about 8 or 9 years old, wearing a fine long . . . Keep reading »

Winged Genius. Assyrian, c. 883-859 BCE. The Ethel Morrison Vanderlip Fund, 41.9.

ISIS has declared war on cultural heritage. Is there anything we can do?

In the past few weeks, the media has been flooded with reports of the Islamic State, or ISIS/ISIL, destroying Iraq’s ancient heritage. They’ve smashed Mesopotamian treasures at the Mosul Museum, burned thousands of rare books and manuscripts in the Mosul Library, and bulldozed entire preserved Assyrian cities, including UNESCO World Heritage sites at Nimrud and . . . Keep reading »