Move over, Hugh Davies. I think I have a new favorite museum director. Judith Dobrzynski calls attention to an interview Maxwell Anderson did with the Guggenheim's new director, Richard Armstrong:
"[A]round the 40th minute, Max asks about deaccessioning. Armstrong replies:
'The collection needs to be shaped. It's slightly misshapen....One wonders, does one need to own 114 Kandinskys, for example.'
"Max, surprised, offers 'we're interested in Kandinskys,' and Armstrong plows ahead: 'I just think there's a way of deploying assets slightly differently.'
"Max tries again, bringing up a conference call on deaccessioning policy among members of the Association of Art Museum Directors. But Armstrong counters:
'People have to be practical. They have to be pragmatic. They have to stop being righteous. They have to stop being proud of the fact that the museum died, but the collection is intact. That's where we're headed, I'm afraid, in a number of provincial places.
'A lot of museums are not going to make it. There needs to be an infusion of pragmatism.'
"Trying to get Amstrong to draw a line somewhere, Max asks whether he's a no-holds-barred guy on deaccessioning. Armstrong says:
'I think I am, yeah.'
"To which, Max says, 'you'll be the cowboy on this.'"