Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Tell me again about the public trust (sing louder edition)

ARTnews reports that Christie’s will be auctioning off more than 200 works from the Met's collection of English furniture and decorative arts next month.

That's more than 200 works that, having fallen under the aegis of a museum, were held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations -- except now, it having been determined that they "would sing louder and better in someone’s home," are being "liberated."  They are no longer part of the public trust.  Voila.

You may also be concerned that future potential donors of English furniture and decorative arts might say, Why should I give this to you? What guarantee do I have that you're not going to sell this tomorrow?  But don't worry:  they will understand that, unlike the more than 200 works the museum is selling now, the works they are thinking of donating clearly will sing louder and better in the museum.  It's easy to tell which works sing louder in which settings.  And better.  It's easy to tell if the work you are thinking of donating will sing better at the museum.  No uncertainty about that at all.  So there's nothing to worry about.  It's all good.