Sunday, December 13, 2020

Two of the three New York Times art critics mention the BMA deaccessioning controversy in their year in review lists

Holland Cotter says "last May the Baltimore Museum of Art planned to auction works from its collection to pay for — among other things — equitable staff salaries, only to be hit by a firestorm of protests," and that they had "legitimate arguments to make, but didn’t make them convincingly, and had to pull back."

And Jason Farago says "on deaccessioning, I’m not a strict constructionist. Selling art that hasn’t been shown for decades can sometimes be justified. But strategically raiding your galleries for cash is a scandal; equity and preservation are not at odds; and woke austerity is still austerity."

Cotter's list includes a number of other art law related things: "continuing a trend from 2019, museum workers, voicing grievances based on racial discrimination and economic exploitation, have increasingly sought to unionize"; "after three years of foot-dragging, the French Senate signed off on a bill in November promising to return a group of looted objects to Africa"; and "this past July, after years of advocacy, a bill proposing the establishment of a National Museum of the American Latino in Washington was finally passed by the House of Representatives."