I have pinpointed the death of the anti-deaccessionist ideology, and it's one we're all familiar with. What is it, you ask?
Yes, you heard right. There will come a day (hopefully quite soon), when the debate over deaccessioning will go the way of the eight-track and Milli Vanilli. Remember, the key to the deaccessioning debate is the "public" access (read: trust) to venerable artworks. What will little Johnny and little Suzie do if Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors is sold off by the National Gallery to pay the electric bill? Well, this won't matter if little Johnny and Suzie have access to it via digital format (and later on, holographic format). The key is access, experiencing, viewing, seeing, being exposed to, right?
Well, just this week, Google launched its interactive Art Project. Here's an overview of the Art Project via the Wall Street Journal,
A collaboration with 17 museums including three in New York—the Frick Collection, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—the portal offers virtual access to the institutions, allowing visitors to navigate galleries and pore over hundreds of their works of art in fine detail. ...Art Project also includes 17 works—one from each museum—that can be explored on a near-microscopic level, via "gigapixel" photo-capturing mechanisms whose images contain up to 14 billion pixels.I know the counter-argument to my thesis quite well (unfortunately), and that's the one drenched with the good ol' magical aura (see Walter Benjamin). Here's a snippet from Benjamin's Illuminations,
By close-ups of the things around us, by focusing on hidden details of familiar objects, by exploring commonplace milieus under the ingenious guidance of the camera, the film, on the one hand, extends our comprehension of the necessities which rule our lives; on the other hand it manages to assure us of an immense field of action. ...Then came the film and burst this prison-world asunder by the dynamite of the tenth of a second, so that now, in the midst of its far-flung ruins and debris, we calmly and adventurously go traveling. With the close-up, space expands; with slow motion, movement is extended. The enlargement of a snapshot does not simply render more precise what in any case was visible though unclear: it reveals entirely new structural formations of the subject. (Walter Benjamin, Illuminations)There are of course some challenges, copyright being one of them, but nothing that cannot be overcome with simple licensing. More thoughts on this soon.