Wednesday, March 03, 2021

"Many of Rockwell’s paintings for the Boy Scouts have been on display at the Medici Museum of Art in Howland, Ohio, since last year as part of a free exhibition that is still continuing."

So the Boy Scouts of America, "faced with tens of thousands of sex-abuse claims," is planning to sell 60 works by Norman Rockwell to "help raise money for a settlement fund of at least $300 million for sexual abuse victims."

I don't think even the Deaccession Police will have a problem with this -- Deborah Solomon tweets out what I assume will be the consensus view: "Should the Boy Scouts de-accession their art? Hell yes. They're not a museum & are facing 1,700 lawsuits from victims of sexual abuse who need to be compensated" -- but it's worth noting that, to the extent you believe (as some members of the Deaccession Police do) that it's the tax-exempt status of museums that puts their assets in the public trust, the same logic should apply to the Boy Scouts. I've never heard any other explanation for how they come to be in the public trust.

In any event, the new talking point the Deaccession Police seem to be settling on is that deaccessioning -- at least the naughty kind we've been seeing lots of lately -- is "monetizing" the collection and "monetizing" the collection is just simply and obviously wrong (or perhaps repulsive), no explanation or theory required. Whereas the non-naughty kind of deaccessioning, where you sell work from the collection and thereby convert it into, um, money, which money you then use to purchase works of art, is not monetizing the collection and is therefore ok. Got it?