Monday, January 4, 2010

Dobrzynski: "de-accessioning shouldn't be impossible-- just nearly so"

In case you missed Judith Dobrzynski's NY Times op-ed on Jan. 1st, here's her recap, with a few additional pointers, on her Real Clear Arts blog. I'm still on board with the "arbitrator" theory, but not sure about the two-strike proposal (what she calls "two chances"). She explains that perhaps strict anti-deaccessionists are "maturing," since she received nothing but positive feedback.

I want to add a very important note here, and albeit seemingly a bit self-serving, but I can assure the reader that it's not. My experience as an artist, lawyer, and nonprofit lawyer has given me ample encounters with lawyers who are also artists. The age-old negative stereotype of the white-shoe culture-starved lawyer is slowly disappearing. Not only do I meet quite a few lawyers who are musicians, filmmakers, and visual artists, but more so, I myself mentor quite a few artists wishing to enter law school with the sole purpose of becoming art lawyers. I would like to think that we can find at least one of these in New York City.

Here's a bit from her blog entry:

My solution is this: museums that propose to sell art from their storerooms for purposes other than buying art should submit their cases to an independent arbitrator. And if they make a convincing case, they must also give other public collections two chances to buy the art -- once, in a right of first refusal; a second time, after a public auction, when they all have an opportunity to match the winning public bid.

But maybe we are maturing: I expected to be flooded with complaints about violating sacred principles. Instead, all of the feedback I've received has been positive. One friend made a great addition to my solution, which proposed using neutral parties familiar with art, art law and nonprofit regulation. To her, that spelled lawyers, and she suggested that retired, disinterested museum professionals could also arbitrate.


No comments: