Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I'm a little behind on this story, but it seems that, "struggling with continuing deficits," the Corcoran is thinking of selling its building, "which has housed the gallery since 1897," and relocating.

The Deaccession Police are pleased to hear that "the museum is not, has not, and will not consider deaccessioning works to plug its budget hole."

That's the really important thing, and is a great relief.  We know the Corcoran would never, ever dream of selling 10 paintings from its permanent collection at a public auction including "John Ellery," an 1810 work by Gilbert Stuart, the master portrait artist, and "The Return From the Tournament" an 1841 landscape by Thomas Cole, a founder of the movement called the Hudson River School.

No, those works are held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations, and so can never be sold.  It's repulsive to even consider the possibility.  Those works can never be disposed of.  That would be to give in to the monetization monster.

Speaking of which, just to be clear:  you "monetize" work whether you use the proceeds to buy more art or to keep from having to sell your home since 1897. The only difference is what you do with the proceeds of the monetization.  But it's simply not the case that in one situation you are "monetizing" work and the other you're not.