Saturday, January 30, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
To raise substantial amounts of income, you must sell good, and thereby potentially important, works of art. The smaller the amount raised by sales of works of art, the more this solution becomes stopgap. If a long-term solution is to be achieved, not only must substantial amounts be raised, but also the money must be put into an endowment with an annual spendable rate that preserves the principal.
The unintended consequences could well include a change in the board’s perception of its fiduciary responsibility to one more focused on asset management than philanthropy. Human nature has shown us that if there is an accepted alternative to giving one’s own money, many, if not all, will seize it. And potential and past donors of works of art will be uncertain as to the future use of their gifts.
While I agree with Wood, I'm not so sure that these valid considerations would not be within the mindset of deaccessioning arbitrators. Remember that Dobrzynski was keen in asking that the arbitrators have not only artistic and legal expertise, but nonprofit governance expertise as well. Surely in better economic times deaccessioning arbitrators would not allow, much less facilitate, the fire-sale of Warhols and Picassos simply because board members failed to "give or get."
Wood's full letter here.
Interesting thoughts nonetheless.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The exhibits and assets inside the building will all be auctioned off to pay back creditors... sold at auctions in big cities, like San Francisco and New York, [hoping] the pieces will earn 50–to–60 cents on the dollar, on the auction block. The remaining Met employees have until the end of this month to clear out the building.
One down, 9 to go.
Monday, January 4, 2010
The Battle Over Dobrzynsk Bridge has begun. You can read about it here, here, and here. Christopher Knight twitters his distate here.
I wonder if the strict and pure anti-deaccessioninsts would feel the same way if it was their job on the line or, heaven forbid, their one-person exhibition that was being cancelled. I'm not going to say much more than that, but rather wait on the sidelines and watch these participants fool themselves into thinking they're playing US Open tennis instead of ping pong.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
[I posted this on Clancco.com, but in order to facilitate access to readers of this blog I've also posted it here.]
Judith H. Dobrzynski, a former reporter and editor at the NY Times, wrote yesterday on a very interesting alternative to the deaccessioning fight. In brief, she argues for an "impartial arbitrator," which would hear a museum's argument and need for deaccessioning art to pay the bills.
Maybe it’s best to amend the unwritten sales ban, but not end it. What if a museum had to argue its case for de-accessioning art before an impartial arbitrator? This neutral party would need to be schooled in art, art law and nonprofit regulations. [bold mine]
If done properly, this is actually the best solution put on the table so far, and to my delight (and self-serving position) something not too far from what I have argued here.
THE squeeze is on. Museums everywhere are having trouble making ends meet, what with the overblown expansions they’ve made, the decline in investment income and the steep drop-off in contributions from foundations and individuals. Many have cut staff, frozen pay, trimmed exhibition schedules and slowed or stopped acquisitions. For some, that may not be enough: the American Folk Art Museum, to cite one example, recently admitted that it isn’t making debt payments.
Dobrzynski seems to be reigniting, in an academic and open town-hall-meeting of sorts, the deaccessioning debate started in early 2009 over the Rose Art Museum, and being the first in 2010 to realize that the museum economic disasters are intensifying and not-at-all decreasing. She sites others on her corner with similar thoughts.
What’s next? In some corners, there’s fear that museum officials will do what is absolutely forbidden by art-world rules: raise operating cash with a sale of artwork. Already some respected figures — David Gordon, former head of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, for example — are saying that the rule against selling art for any purpose other than buying more art is wrong.
What do you think? Deaccessioning Arbitration and Regulation Panel (DARP)? That's my vote! Good start for 2010. Judith's article in its entirety here.