Monday, February 01, 2010

"People are afraid to discuss the very possibility"

In the wake of her NYT op-ed, Judith Dobrzynski discovers that deaccessioning is "the Third Rail of the museum world."

She also links to a radio show she did with Michael Rush, the former director of the Rose Art Museum, and you couldn't ask for a better example of the craziness of this whole conversation. The two museum guys (Rush and Charles Desmarais, deputy director of the Brooklyn Museum) spend the first part of the discussion going on and on about sacred cultural heritage and how works are held by museums in the public trust (Desmarais even compares them to your wedding ring, which you of course would never sell to pay the light bill). But then, towards the end of the program, when the conversation turns to deaccessioning to raise money to buy more art, they immediately shift into: "Oh well, that happens all the time, that's no big deal, etc."

Is there a secret pact among museum people to pretend that this BLATANT INCONSISTENCY isn't there?