Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blanden Memorial Art Museum to Deaccession Dropped Off Artworks

As a prime example of how deaccessioning can be done for the financial benefit of a museum, Iowa's Blanden Memorial Art Museum will sell 360 pieces in an Art is For Everyone Sale and Auction Oct. 10, 2009 at the new Bioscience and Health Sciences Building on the Iowa Central Community College campus.

According to The Messenger,

The work being sold has either been de-accessioned - that is, formally removed from the Blanden permanent collection through the board's action - or is orphan art. Orphan art is work that was given to the Blanden, but was never formally included into the museum's collection through accession.

According to museum director Maggie Skove, there are some very good reasons for this deaccessioning: "There's no space. We don't have the money to conserve. They're not worth conserving. The alternative of building a new vault area is simply out of the question."

Anti-deaccessionists and museum romantics (read: Tyler Green and Lee Rosenbaum) should hold their fire, because although the museum's permanent collection is comprised of work by some famous artists, such as Kandinsky, Klee, Calder, Chagall, Miro and Prendergast, the museum is adamant that "They are not for sale." In fact, according to the museum, the pieces either have no market in the art world, no auction record value, or were simply "just dropped at the door."

To make anti-deaccessionists even more comfortable, the museum will have a "document explaining the museum's de-accessioning process...available at its east door now and will be available to the public at the auction."

More from Iowa's Messenger here.

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