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NY Times’ Robin Pogrebin Breaks an Embargo in Error-Marred Deaccession Article UPDATED

Earlier today I made nice to NY Times art writer Robin Pogrebin.

That was so seven hours ago.

In a piece now posted on the Times’ website, Pogrebin broke a firm embargo established by NY State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, whose recently rewritten bill to regulate deaccessioning is pending in the state legislature.

Brodsky dispatched some 80 pages of his correspondence with museums about his bill to a select group of reporters (including me) who had previously expressed interest. This was accompanied by a strict, clearly enunciated proviso that we were not to publish about this until tomorrow, Tuesday, giving everyone an equal shot at the story. Pogrebin alluded to those documents in her story and also quoted Brodsky’s comments. (I spoke to him at length as well, but kept faith with the embargo.)

I alerted Brodsky to this breach tonight, and he assured me that he had not given the Times permission to jump the gun.

I’ll post my own report, far more substantive than the Times’, in the near future (probably tomorrow, after I lick my wounds). But for now, let’s clear up the errors in Rushin’ Robin’s “scoop”:

The legislation was prompted by a number of recent high-profile moves,
including the National Academy Museum’s sale in December of two Hudson
River School paintings.

That sale actually occurred in November, not December. What happened in December is that I broke the story on CultureGrrl of secret sale.

Last year, the University of Iowa Museum of Art considered selling Jackson Pollock‘s 1943 “Mural” to defray the cost of damage from a flood but decided against it.

The museum did NOT consider selling the Pollock last year. The State Board of Regents briefly did. The museum, with the full support of the university’s president, vigorously and successfully opposed the notion of monetizing its masterpiece.

I’m starting to hate embargos. I’m always the one who keeps her word and watches someone else get it fast and get it wrong.

UPDATE: This just in from Maggie Anderson, marketing and media manager for the University of Iowa Museum:

Thanks so much for your correct post [regarding Iowa’s Pollock]. When I saw the story [Pogrebin’s deaccession piece] online a couple of hours ago, I e-mailed Robin to get her to correct it. She refused.

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