An interesting story inside Carol Vogel's "Inside Art" column inside today's New York Times. It seems that MoMA recently bought a 50 percent interest in Matthew Barney's "Drawing Restraint Archive." The other half belongs to the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, whose collection is located in Basel. They also share ownership of a Bruce Nauman piece, and MoMA chief curator Ann Temkin says what's not to like? "Besides sharing the financial burden, having a second venue is fair to the art and to the artist, who gets more visibility."
But here's my question. What if, instead of Museum A and Museum B teaming up to buy a valuable work, Museum B buys a 50 percent interest in a work Museum A already owns? The end result is the same -- the two museums each own a 50 percent interest in the work, they share the financial burden, and having a second venue is fair to the art and to the artist, who gets more visibility. So why is one a non-controversial occasion for celebration, and the other an occasion for the usual rending of garments?