Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Enter Sandman

Over at his Deaccessioning Blog, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento sizes up the state of the debate, and offers a few thoughts of his own, focusing primarily on the case of emergency deaccessionings by failing institutions (which he likens to a "band-aid on a bullet-hole").

There's a lot to take in, but one quick comment for now. Sergio sends his readers here "for solid pro-deaccessioning reasons," but I wouldn't describe my position as "pro-deaccessioning" any more than you would describe someone who accepts the practice of deaccessioning-to-acquire-more-art as "pro-deaccessioning." The position I've been taking is that the AAMD's black-and-white rule is silly, and that the reasons traditionally given in support of the rule don't stand up to much scrutiny (in part because they fail to explain the disparate treatment of sales to buy more art -- which are considered fine -- and sales to fund other worthwhile things -- which are not). So (pace Christopher Knight) I'm not "campaigning in favor of museums selling art from their collections to pay the light bill." I'm campaigning in favor of not ruling it out.