Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Brian Frye on the Detroit Bankruptcy

Self-recommending.  It's not primarily about the museum association deaccessioning rules, but I am naturally drawn to paragraphs like this:

"And yet, it is unclear why it is 'ethical' to sell artworks in order to buy artworks, but 'unethical' to sell artworks for other purposes. For example, under the AAM and AAMD guidelines, it is 'unethical' for an art museum to sell a work of art in order to avoid bankruptcy. As a consequence, art museums facing financial crises have been forced to close, when the sale of a single artwork could have covered their expenses. Most recently, the Corcoran Museum of American Art found itself in precisely this situation, and we lost an American institution. Would it really have been 'unethical' for the Corcoran to have sold an artwork in order to maintain its existence? Would it really be 'unethical' for a museum to sell an artwork from its collection in order to provide free admission? Would it really be 'unethical' for a university art museum to sell an artwork in order to provide scholarships?"

Yes, would it?