Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A word on Tacoma

The Tacoma Art Museum deaccessioning spat seems to have been resolved.  But before moving on, it's worth a minute to note the usual hypocrisy that surrounds these things.  Judith Dobrzynski was a lone voice critical of the move, calling it a "big mistake," but her fellow bloggers in the ArtsJournal stable have (unless I missed it) been silent.  No one from the AAMD or AAM has shown up to lecture us about how works are held by museums in a sacred public trust, to be accessible to future generations.  There have been no calls for crippling sanctions.

But imagine if the same museum were selling the same works not to raise money for future acquisitions (as is the case here) but to keep from going out of business (or even from having to lay off more than 20 employees).  Now that would be inexcusable.  Now the fainting couches would come out.  How dare they think they can just get rid of work held in the public trust to be accessible to future generations.  We'd never hear the end of it.

I keep hoping that, at some point, they'll be too embarrassed to keep carrying on this way.  But I'm not holding my breath.