Friday, May 06, 2016

Tell me again about the public trust (somehow, the museum has made peace with parting with more than 600 pieces of Chinese ceramics edition) (UPDATED)

The Met is selling them at Christie's.  They have 3,600 other Chinese ceramics, so it's not like selling off 15% of them is that big of a deal.  And it's not like "the essential point of museum collections" is that "once an object falls under the aegis of a museum, it is held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations."  Oh, it is?

UPDATE:  Daniel Grant emails a very good point:

"What struck me as odd is that the Met is defending its decision to sell (perhaps awaiting criticism of its move)...

"'About 60 percent of the things we’re deaccessioning came in 1879, so there wasn’t that much scholarship, there wasn’t that much discrimination,' Mr. Hearn. 'They’ve really been extensively reviewed; most have never been exhibited or published.'"

"...while disparaging these items in advance of a sale, which probably won't bolster the prices. I think the Met should pick one direction and stick with it."