Friday, February 21, 2014

Their sword's grown old and rusty

The big news this week is that the Corcoran Gallery is giving up the ghost.  Carol Vogel has the details.

For now, I'll just say that it's a massive instance of the Ellis Rule -- the deal "ensure[s] that the Corcoran’s art collection would remain in public institutions."  So, while the usual suspects will fall over themselves in the usual competition to see who can be THE MOST OUTRAGED by this OUTRAGEOUS OUTRAGEOUSNESS, my initial reaction is that I'm with David Ross:  "I agree this is sad, and that the Corcoran has long been a tragic institution, but this is not such a bad outcome."

Or, as Tim Schneider tweeted:

"After firestorm over (now remote) possibility of Detroit Institute of Art having to deaccession/sell parts of their permanent collection, a bit surprised I haven't seen more relief over fact that Corcoran Gallery of Art's collection will stay safe (ie public) w/Natl Gallery. Which isn't to say the whole scenario is good news. It's messy and from a historical standpoint, sad. But it could be worse. Just imagine outrage if announcement was that Corcoran would be selling off works to keep limping forward, recoup losses, or pay creditors."

Yes, imagine the outrage.  But is it really better to transfer the entire collection to the National Gallery than to have given them some of the collection in exchange for the cash needed to keep the Corcoran afloat?

Are we sure about that?