Monday, April 27, 2009

Out from under the aegis (UPDATED)

Lee Rosenbaum makes an interesting find in the Montclair Art Museum bookstore.

She also learns that the Hirshhorn is selling three Eakins paintings at Christie's.

Remember: "once an object falls under the aegis of a museum, it is held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations."

UPDATE: More on Montclair from James Panero, whose WSJ essay got this whole thing going. He says Montclair director Lora Urbanelli "has been less than transparent ... in her claim that the sales are primarily a result of curatorial housekeeping with only ancillary financial benefits." He doubts the selection "has been the result of pure curatorial decision-making, done outside of financial concerns": "This deaccession was first announced by Montclair, let's remember, in what the museum called a 'financial security plan.' Urbanelli justifies the sales by claiming that she is operating within the guidelines of the [AAMD]. True enough. As I argued in my initial Journal editorial, AAMD's signoff, by allowing a permanent collection to be liquidated for financial considerations, reveals a fundamental flaw in museum governance."