Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In your face, Scotland!

The LA Times has a little piece about the Getty's "new pride and joy," J.M.W. Turner's 1839 "Modern Rome -- Campo Vaccino." They're planning a big shindig in March "to celebrate the arrival and installation."

But here's a question: what about the people of Scotland?

Remember, "the painting long had resided on loan in the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh." The Getty bid $44.9 million for the work at auction last year, but an export license was held up in an (ultimately fruitless) attempt to find a matching bid that would keep it in the U.K. The Scotland Herald's headline before the sale was: Scotland's loss as Turner set to be auctioned.

And indeed it is.

So why don't the deaccession police care about that loss?

I understand that, technically, the situations are not the same since the Turner was privately owned, but why am I, sitting here in New York, supposed to be all broken up if Bentonville, Arkansas takes a work away from Nashville, Tennessee, or Iowa City, Iowa, but ready to celebrate if Los Angeles takes a work away from Edinburgh? Is it a matter of pure nationalism?

What is this, the Olympics?