Thursday, June 04, 2015


Bloomberg columnist Virginia Postrel takes notice of Michael O'Hare's recent "iconoclastic" article calling for "more, better engagement with art."  She's in favor, and points out how the Deaccession Police are not:

"Museums do sometimes sell works from their collection. It’s called 'deaccessioning.' But they can’t use the money to reduce admissions fees, improve educational programs, pay guards for extended hours, or install benches or better lighting -- no matter how much these investments might enhance their visitors’ experience. If they want to stay in the art museum club, they can only sell art to buy more art.

"Any other use violates the 'ethics' code of the Association of Art Museum Directors, a group that stringently enforces its art-hoarding cartel. Museums that break the rules lose their accreditation and can’t borrow from, lend to, or otherwise cooperate with other museums."

And she ends with some praise for Eli Broad's soon-to-open new museum:

"Unlike LACMA or the Museum of Contemporary Art across the street, when the Broad museum opens this fall it won’t charge admission. It will also house a 'lending library' of artworks available to other museums, including small ones. To fulfill O’Hare’s vision of 'more, better engagement with art,' maybe you have to start from scratch."

Read the whole thing.  This is not the first time Postrel has waded into the Deaccession Debate.

O'Hare has a short response here.