Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tell me again about the public trust (a continuing series)

Judith Dobrzynski quotes from a Christie's press release noting that its Nov. 22 sale will include works from "more than a dozen of America‟s most-respected museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art; the Harvard Art Museums; the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; the North Carolina Museum of Art; Louisville‟s Speed Art Museum; and Hartford‟s Wadsworth Atheneum."

The Huntington is selling 26 items.  The Speed is selling nearly 50, the Corcoran 20.

All of that work, held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations ... gone.

Where are the people complaining that these more than a dozen museums are guilty of treating art as commodity -- "saying it’s the same thing as a truck or computer or a chair"?

Where is Dan Monroe to worry that "letting one museum sell off two paintings paves the way for dozens of museums to sell off thousands of artworks, perhaps routinely."  After these sales, isn't it going to be "impossible to control the outcome"?

Where are all the museum directors to lecture us that "museums get tax-deductible donations of art and cash to safeguard art collections for the public" and selling work "betrays that trust"?

I'm starting to get the feeling it's all a bunch of b.s.