Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Look around and you see galleries struggling, museums cutting staff, universities reducing art resources and nonprofits treading water"

Holland Cotter refers to "Brandeis University’s disgraceful effort to dismantle its Rose Art Museum" and "the recent threat by the University of California, Los Angeles, to close its art library" and asks:

"What can universities be thinking? They exist to support and protect exactly what their museums are doing: shaping the history of the future. If they shut down such training facilities, they shut down the future. If they shut down the future, they violate their mission. And when they do that, my wish list turns into a demands lists, with one thing nonnegotiable: stop."

He also says "if you want to find innovative models for small-scale shows with big ideas, teaching institutions are still the place to look, particularly university art museums. This is where spadework research is being done, and where young curators are learning to create, experimentally, visions of history through objects."

And my question, with respect to the Brandeis situation, is the same one I had when Cotter made a similar point back in February: why can't this be true of the new, "re-purposed" Rose? Why can't it be a place for small-scale shows with big ideas, a place where spadework research is done, and where young curators learn to create visions of history through objects?