an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

Super Cooper Has Spoken: No! No! Fisk’s O’Keeffe Can’t Go

Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr. has just filed a brief in Davidson County Chancery Court asserting his strong opposition to the settlement agreement between Fisk University in Nashville and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. The court will hold a hearing on the agreement this Thursday.
Excerpts from the AG’s brief:
This lawsuit has come full circle. It began with Fisk University seeking court approval to sell two paintings from the Stieglitz collection in order to raise money for the school. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum intervened, arguing that Fisk could not sell the paintings in violation of express conditions placed upon the Collection by Georgia O’Keeffe. This Court agreed and enjoined Fisk from selling any of the Collection. Now, the same two parties—Fisk and the O’Keeffe Museum—are back seeking this Court’s approval to sell the same two paintings, only now in contravention of this Court’s previous order….
This Office is sympathetic to the financial difficulties outlined in Fisk’s complaint. But the court has clearly said that Fisk cannot resolve its problems in this way. As this Court noted in its June 12 ruling, Fisk’s difficulties provide no legal basis to discard the restrictions placed by Georgia O’Keeffe against the piecemeal sale of the Stieglitz Collection.

Cooper also argued against “removing the signature piece of the Collection [O’Keeffe’s “Radiator Building”] and transporting it over 1,200 miles away from Nashville.” This, he noted, “does not serve the interests of the people of the State of Tennessee in the Collection.
Let’s see. How many miles from Nashville is Bentonville, Arkansas, the site of the Crystal Bridges Museum whose founder, Alice Walton, covets a half-share in Fisk’s entire Stieglitz Collection? Only 550 miles. Does that make it better?
Cooper’s clout notwithstanding, it does appear that CultureGrrl has had some influence on the Fisk fracas: Walton sent Cooper an amended letter, spelling “Stieglitz” correctly. I guess she must have received my memo!

an ArtsJournal blog