Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"The Southampton City Council has decided to sell parts of its permanent collection"

Derek Fincham discusses a case of deaccessioning in the UK. He says "if we were to apply the current rules of the AAMD to this sale, the sale would be perfectly acceptable would it not? These works do not fall within the scope of Southampton's collection." I don't think that's right. Apparently the sales proceeds will be used to help "construct a £15m maritime museum commemorating the sinking of the Titanic." Remember, under the AAMD approach, there is only one thing you can do with the proceeds from sales of art (buy more art); you can't go and build a Titanic-commemorating museum. What's more, from an AAMD point of view, it doesn't matter whether the works "fall within the scope of the collection" or not. You can sell work that falls right square in the middle of your collection and that's okay, just so long as you use the proceeds to buy art. But if you want to use the proceeds for any other purpose, that's forbidden, even if the work no longer falls within the scope of the collection.