Monday, June 10, 2013

"There is ... a way Detroit could raise money and share its art with other cities without relinquishing its treasures altogether: ..."

"... a time share."

Virginia Postrel responds to some of the criticism her column on the DIA received last week.  This time, she looks to the Fisk-Crystal Bridges partnership as a model:

"Finding a partner or partners to buy shares in individual works or selected portions of the DIA’s collection would give the city a way to liquidate some of its assets without actually losing them."

As I've noted before, jointly-held work is generally seen as a good thing, but was outweighed in the Fisk case by the deaccessioning taboo.  By the "logic" of the Deaccession Police, if Museum A and Museum B chip in and buy some work, that's great, a win-win.  But if Museum A buys it and later sells half to Museum B (resulting in the same state of affairs as in the first example), that's repulsive, Stalinesque, etc.  Go figure.

The Art Market Monitor says that "as an idea, it actually doesn’t go quite far enough":

"[T]he BBC has pointed to a growing trend in the UK’s formerly wealthy industrial North where works of art accumulated during the heyday of English manufacturing—like Detroit’s cultural acquisitions when it ruled the automotive industry—are being organized into travelling exhibitions that produce enough in fees to help maintain the museums."

Tyler Cowen says that, if it sells work, Detroit "would be sending a signal that it will never even try to go back to what it was."  But he adds:  "perhaps that is where we are at with Detroit."  And, in the comments, Postrel shows up and recommends this dissertation:  Treasures in the Basement? An Analysis of Collection Utilization in Art Museums.