Thursday, November 12, 2009

Against the "purity police" (UPDATED)

Terrific post by Regina Hackett on the New Museum controversy:

"Purity police chief Tyler Green would prefer that we not see this show. I don't know Dakis Joannou and am not likely to be invited to his house. I do know about his collection and am grateful it will be on view to the public.

"About those ethical problems: I have them with museums featuring trustee collections only when the collections are mediocre. ... Joannou's collection is remarkable. I want to see it and don't care whose board he's on.

"The hip bone's connected to the thigh bone. O, the horror. Trustees know collectors who know artists who know dealers who know museum curators. ...

"There is no rule against museums devoting shows to the work of a single collector. If there were, that rule would be made to be broken. Yes, the rich and powerful are involved in museums. Those for whom this information is a shock and an outrage are too pure (and rigid) to live in the world."

And more from The Art Market Monitor here.

UPDATE: Paddy Johnson has "the sinking feeling this story is turning into a New York Museum Director witch hunt": "I can’t help but feel that the ultimate goal of constructive criticism is getting lost when there are bloggers seeking out scandal we’re not even sure exists." And in the comments, Peter Zimmerman adds: "I don’t see the weight of the ethical charge that Tyler Green is championing. I understand that there are complications with the insider-ness– and yes, that really should have been and should be addressed. Even so, it’s as if Green is acting like a warrior on a vendetta against the NY institution, and I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I just hope that the sensationalism of some of the writing about this subject tones down. And yeah, I’m excited for the show. I’ve wanted to see this collection for years, so in terms of serving a public, NuMu got that one right!"