Thursday, September 23, 2021

"Why Joint Acquisitions May Be the Way Forward for Cash-Strapped Museums"

Clair Selvin has a piece in ARTnews about museums co-owning works, using a Sam Gilliam jointly acquired by Dia and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston recently as an example.

This is nothing new and the question I have is why not think of this as a possibility when it comes to deaccessioning? If "co-ownership is great" when two museums acquire a work together, why isn't it also great when cash-strapped museum sells an ownership interest in a work to cash-rich museum in another city? "At the heart of it is the benefit of being able to see the work, and I think we’re all distressed when we think about all the works that are never put on view for one reason or another." As I've said before, it's the Ellis Rule in action. Who could possibly object?

Saturday, September 18, 2021

"The works, all duplicates from its collection, will be offered in three sales at Christie’s, starting next month"

Katya Kazakina breaks the news that the Met is deaccessioning "219 prints and photographs to help plug a $150 million revenue shortfall resulting from the pandemic."

This should not come as a surprise.

Brian Frye "can't wait to see the deaccessioning police freak out, even though this should be the most unobjectionable kind of deaccessioning. After all, museums sell duplicates to buy new works for their collection with the AAMD's blessing all the time."

So far, the deaccession police have been quiet. Give it time.

As I said in the post I linked above, you've identified 200 some works -- "duplicates, multiples, copies of the same thing [we have] in better quality," according to the Met's director, Max Hollein -- that are to be sold as part of your routine collection management. They're going to be sold anyway. At that point, what difference does it make what you do with the proceeds?

"Net sale agreements are commonplace in the market, and the court easily found that this sophisticated collector had no legal ground to complain when the work was sold in accordance with the agreement he signed."

 Amelia Brankov on the Steinhardt decision mentioned earlier here.