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Albright-Knox Nixed

Veteran museum man Tom Freudenheim, in a piece to be published in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal (but posted early on ArtsJournal), beats me to my planned rebuttal of Tyler Green‘s favorable take on the Albright-Knox Gallery’s planned art disposals. And Tom does it far better than CultureGrrl ever could, especially because he calls upon the museum’s influence on his own Buffalo, N.Y., boyhood. (I had no idea that Tom had written this piece, until it was posted this evening on ArtsJournal.)
So let me say “me too” to every opinion expressed by Tom tomorrow on the “Leisure & Arts” page of the WSJ. I’ll just take his argument one step further by quoting myself—from my NY Times Op-Ed piece, For Sale: Our Permanent Collection:
Many museums [to justify disposals] simply explain that their missions have changed: Works valued by previous curators and visitors are no longer deemed part of the ”proper scope” of the institution’s collecting….If an institution really has no use for certain works that are worthy of public display, it should give or lend them to other public institutions that would gladly show them. Museums’ permanent collections belong to all of us. The public has, in most instances, paid for these works through the tax deductions given to private donors. And those donors bestow such works on the public expecting them to be valued for their aesthetic, not financial, worth.
In other words, what belongs in the public domain stays in the public domain (or should). Publicly disclosing your intention to make an inappropriate disposal doesn’t make it right.

an ArtsJournal blog