Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Morning Rose

Geoff Edgers has a fuller story on last night's Brandeis bombshell in this morning's Boston Globe, including the following:

"A Brandeis spokesman said that the Massachusetts attorney general's office ... has been informed of the move and will not block it. Money from the sale of the art will be reinvested in the university."

More at Inside Higher Ed.

The Art Market Monitor wonders where I keep my (or, really, Libby Ellis's) crystal ball.

Lee Rosenbaum begins rallying the troops. In a previous post last night, Lee reproduced the university's press release on the announcement, including that "in a special session on Jan. 22, the Brandeis faculty voted unanimously to support the president and trustees."

Tyler ("The art can be the art anywhere. It can be seen anywhere. So long as there is somewhere for the art to go -- and there is -- art is more important than institutions") Green has five questions.

Richard Lacayo sees this move as vindicating the "slippery slope" argument against deaccessioning: "when it comes to campus collections the slope gets more slippery all the time. Campus museums, chock full of art that's easy to cart away, are the most tempting asset for university trustees and administrators to liquidate."

I'm actually not sure it makes sense to view this through the "deaccessioning" prism at all. Isn't it more that the university has decided to get out of the business of running a museum altogether? If the National Academy, after embracing furious fundraising and failing, were to declare bankruptcy and close its doors, would that be properly viewed as a "deaccessioning" worthy of condemnation? In fact, I wonder if the taboo against selling individual pieces might not have contributed, in some small way, to Brandeis's decision to close the museum? If they could have sold five or ten of the most valuable works without controversy, might the trustees have reached a different conclusion?