Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Former Director of Royal Academy and Milwaukee Art Museum Disagrees with AAMD

In an interview with David Gordon, former director of the Royal Academy of Arts, in London, and the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM), Artinfo asked Gordon on his position vis-a-vis deaccessioning. Here is his reply:

The position of the American Association of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors is that it is always wrong unless the funds are used to buy new art. I disagree. Suppose you have a museum in a city that has fallen on hard times and its base of support has diminished but it still has a great collection. You wish to make sure that the museum stays open six days a week, that its artworks are being conserved and that it’s able to put on adventurous exhibitions, but you don’t have the money to do any of this. As you cut costs, you are in particular danger of weakening the conservation program, so that the fundamental function of the museum, as a guardian of works, is jeopardized. In that circumstance, it seems wrong to say, "Well, you can’t do anything that involves the art."


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