Monday, September 14, 2009

"The film is sharp in every way, from the crisp visuals to the brisk editing and lively musical backgrounding"

"The Art of the Steal" gets a nice review in Variety.

The Art Market Monitor points out that "there remains a fundamental conflict between the emphasis on art as being held in the public trust and honoring donor intent." Indeed. Suppose I donate a painting to a museum and expressly stipulate that it is my intent that the work be exhibited for exactly 10 years and then sold, and that I further intend that the sales proceeds be used to (as the anti-deaccessionists like to say) "pay the electric bills." What then? Is the intent of the donor enough to trump the public trust? (Not a very robust conception of the public trust then, is it?) Not to mention that the Barnes Collection will remain in the public trust (and, if you measure by the number of people who will get to see it, will be even more in the public trust than it was before).

Of course, as I've argued before, a little bit of deaccessioning (just a smidgen, really) could have saved the Barnes.