Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Manufactured Intent

This is interesting.

The Detroit Institute is going to insert into its deed of gift form "a line stating that from any sale of the work, the proceeds can only be used to buy more art."

So what they're doing is creating the "donor intent" that they will then turn around and rely on to limit sales.  It's clever, but that's a funny conception of donor intent.  Isn't it more an expression of donee intent?

And I have another question.  One of the main arguments we hear against deaccessioning is that it discourages future donations.  We've seen it a million times.  Why wouldn't somebody say, Why should I give this to you? What guarantee do I have that you're not going to sell this tomorrow?

But now we see Detroit going ahead and forcing donors not only to confront the fact that their work might be sold -- that there is in fact no guarantee that it won't be sold tomorrow -- but to actually sign off on it.

It's almost as if museums don't really believe that donors are put off by the possibility of future sales.