Monday, September 19, 2011

"Please. Someone, everyone, do something to save the American Folk Art Museum from dissolution and dispersal."

Roberta Smith says "the transfer and dispersal of the collection should be fought to the bitter end, with every ounce of passion and ingenuity that the museum and its supporters can muster."

The museum's "erasure from New York’s cultural skyline would be a tremendous loss, for the city in general and for its role as a center of both art viewing and art making."  We "need the creative energy of this stubborn, single-minded little institution, its outstanding exhibition program and its wondrous collection, an unparalleled mixture of classic American folk art and 20th-century outsider geniuses."  "All options" must be "thoroughly considered."

But ... are "all" options really being considered?

It seems to me this is a perfect test of the sanity of the absolutist position against deaccessioning.  It would be a "tremendous loss" for the museum to close.  We should fight to the bitter end to save it, with passion and ingenuity.

Okay.  So if we could save the institution through the sale of some work, why would we not do that?

Remember:  museums sell work all the time.

Just this morning, we saw a report that the MFA Boston is selling eight paintings -- including works by Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Renoir, and Gauguin -- to buy a painting.

How can it be okay to sell work to buy a painting, but not to save the insititution?

Does that really make sense to anybody?

Are we serious about saving the Folk Art Museum or do we just want to stand around wringing our hands about "ethics"?

Please.  Someone, everyone.  Do something.