Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Brief Rose

I didn't get a chance today to mention this excellent piece by Daniel Grant on the Rose closing. As he was with Grant's story on the Prince-Cariou lawsuit last week, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento is impressed. The piece covers a lot of ground, but for now I'll just highlight this passage:

"A larger question may be whether selling the contents of a museum to benefit the parent institution is good economics. 'When both the art and stock markets are down, does it make sense to sell art to buy stocks?' said University of Chicago economist David Galenson. He speculated, however, that university trustees may have seen their principal donors tapped out from the last fund-raising campaign and that Brandeis was not in a strong position to borrow funds from banks. 'If other options are closed off, it's not an unreasonable position to say that this is an educational institution in financial trouble and that art is an asset like any other, so why not sell it.'"

Sergio agrees: "We don't know what financial disasters await Brandeis, and we certainly are not in the position to cry over sold artwork when ... a university's mission should be narrowly tailored to academics, professional training, and education. Many will argue that access to art is part of this education, but no one said that a university had to supply what is already present outside a university context."