Monday, January 22, 2018

Missing the Forest

San Francisco Chronicle art critic Charles Desmarais has a rebuttal to Michael O'Hare's recent piece on deaccessioning, which I discussed here.  It begins:

"Here’s an idea: Let’s make admission free to certain national parks. We’ll just sell off other parks, perhaps the ones with the lowest attendance, and use the proceeds to fund the popular spots for a while."

But isn't deaccessioning more like selling some of the trees within the park to pay for things like free admission, better upkeep and conservation, more staff, more and better public programs, etc.?

When a museum sells some artwork, it doesn't cease to exist as a museum.  It just has a few less trees than it did before.

And isn't it worth noting that parks already sell trees all the time and nobody seems to care (don't be so touchy about it), so long as they use the proceeds to buy other, different trees?

Desmarais includes a concession that "a certain amount of prudent trimming can make sense." But he doesn't explain why the proceeds from such trimming can only be used to buy more trees and not for other valuable purposes (such as free admission).