Monday, August 09, 2021

"If the world as we know it hasn’t ended, the conclusion may be that the world hasn’t ended. That is, museums will have discovered that the flexibility afforded by the ability to stretch the definition of direct care beyond prior thinking, allowing the proceeds from art sales to backfill deficits and fund important initiatives, has not been the calamity some had predicted." (UPDATED)

Mark Gold has a characteristically well-reasoned piece in The Art Newspaper as the AAMD's two-year experiment in allowing proceeds from art sales to finance “direct care” of their collections nears its close.

The anti-deaccession view is presented as a matter of ethics, and, as Gold says, "unquestionably, preserving the objects entrusted to museums’ care is ethical. But isn’t it also ethical to pay employees an equitable living wage, to support programming that contributes to social justice and to keep doors open for the benefit of the communities that museums serve in all sorts of ways beyond owning objects?

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Brian Frye: "The key takeaway: 'ethics' isn't just about rules, it's about values. Which ones matter & why?"