Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is it all just a matter of semantics?

The Nation's Jon Weiner has a post criticizing Columbia University for having sold a Rembrandt in 1974 for $1 million that's now "back on the market this year, with a price tag of $47 million."  He says the rise in price makes them "look foolish."

Judith Dobrzynski responds here, noting, among other things, that Weiner "forgets ... that Columbia doesn’t have an art museum — unlike Brandeis and his other generalized colleges."

I think that's the standard way of thinking about these things -- that it's one thing for a university to sell a work out of what it calls a "museum," and another thing for it to sell from the university's (non-museum) collection.

Is it any wonder, then, that Brandeis thought about re-branding its museum as something else?