Andrew Russeth: "Berkshire Museum Victory: Massachusetts Attorney General Agrees to Art Sales, With Rockwell Going to Public Institution, Some Conditions."
UPDATE: Immediate reaction from Deaccession Police Headquarters: "Floodgates opened." "Once again, an attorney general has been a lapdog, not a watchdog." "An ethical travesty."
On the other side, Brian Frye tweets: "MA AG finally knuckles under & tacitly admits it has no legal authority to stop the Berkshire Museum from selling art."
UPDATE 2: Yale's Will Goetzmann, assuming that the buying public institution is Crystal Bridges, says: "A move from MA to AK makes both better off. Why not?"
Yeah, why not? Remember there are two ways to look at these situations. One is to weigh the actual costs and actual benefits and try to determine whether, on balance, all things considered, the sale is a good idea. The other is to take it as a given that the guidelines of certain professional organizations carry serious moral weight, such that their violation is an "ethical travesty." (And "pity" if you don't see it that way.)
Another example of the latter approach is San Francisco Chronicle art critic Charles Desmarais, who says the settlement "looks like complete capitulation to" the museum, and then adds: "I am sorry for your loss, Pittsfield." But why aren't we also happy for your gain, Bentonville, Arkansas, or Los Angeles, or wherever the Rockwell ends up? Why don't they cancel each other out? Why do only the losses count?
UPDATE 3: "Debacle."