Thursday, February 05, 2009

What's going on with the Rose?

Earlier today, Geoff Edgers posted a letter from Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz, apologizing for "screw[ing] up," and explaining that his initial statements "gave the misleading impression that we were selling the entire collection immediately, which is not true. .... The Museum will remain open, but in accordance with the Board’s vote, it will be more fully integrated into the University’s central educational mission."

But what does that mean? Edgers's Boston Globe colleague Tracy Jan sheds some additional light on the subject:

"In reality, the Rose museum as it exists today will eventually cease to operate and instead will be turned into an educational center for Brandeis students and faculty, Reinharz told the Globe on Wednesday. It will include more student and faculty exhibits, and the public will still be allowed to visit.

"'We're saying we're turning it into a gallery and a teaching site for the faculty of the fine arts,' Reinharz told the Globe. 'We don't want to be in the public museum business.'

"As for the art, Reinharz clarified that the university does not intend to put all 7,180 works up on the auction block. Only a 'minute number' would be sold 'if and when it is necessary,' he said in Wednesday's interview."

That sounds an awful lot like what I predicted in an email to Felix Salmon on Jan. 30:

"They want to sell a few paintings without getting hassled by the museum groups. I think, at the end of the day, we're going to end up with a research and study center plus art gallery that looks remarkably like the Rose Art Museum, except it's not subject to the museum ethics rules."