Thursday, March 19, 2009

NY State to Regulate Deaccessioning

Yesterday's NY Times reported on a pending New York state bill which would make selling parts of a collection to cover museum operating costs illegal. The bill, drafted by Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky in collaboration with the New York State Board of Regents and the Museum Association of New York, "would prohibit museums from using proceeds from the sale of artworks 'for traditional and customary operating expenses."

Under the bill, proceeds from a sale could be used only for the acquisition of additional artworks for the museum's collection or "the preservation, protection or care" of works in the collection. And, it says, "No item in a museum's collection may be used as collateral or may be capitalized."
The legislation also delineates criteria under which an artwork could be deaccessioned: if it is inconsistent with the museum's mission as set forth in its mission statement, if it has "failed to retain its identity" because of decay or other deterioration, if it is redundant or inauthentic, or if it is being repatriated or returned to its rightful owner or donor.

Donn Zaretsky has his usual extremely interesting counterpoints here, such as this one:
A "sacred cultural and ethical trust" -- unless, of course, a museum wants to acquire some shiny new artworks, in which case: hey, knock yourself out! Sacred shmacred. Sell to your heart's content!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Met Opera Offers Chagalls as Loan Collateral

Not quite a deaccessioning, but...

The Metropolitan Opera indicated today that it has put up two massive Marc Chagall murals as collateral on a loan.

According to Met spokesman Peter Clark, the murals will serve as collateral for "a longstanding loan," though he declined to specify the loan amount or the estimated value of the works. Some reports have appraised the two murals at about $20 million US in total.

More from the CBC here.