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Post-Conference Wrap-Up: What AAMD Accomplished at Its Annual Meeting

In a press release issued after today’s conclusion of its annual meeting, the Association of Art Museum Directors praised its own conclave as “noteworthy for the unprecedented membership-wide discussion of issues and opportunities facing the museum field.”

As I reported earlier today, the association certainly seems to have grappled with the controversial issues of the day. Whether this will result in substantive action on those issues remains to be seen. The chief actions reported in the post-conference recap were “adoption of a new strategic plan and an updated policy regarding deaccessioning.”

The deaccession policy (as described in the release) states that colleges and universities (Randolph College, Fisk University and Brandeis University come to mind) must “adhere to professional standards and ethics [regarding art sales] when operating a museum.” The policy also stipulates that “fractional deaccessioning [as occurred with a Charles Deas painting at the Denver Art Museum] is prohibited, except to other public organizations that are committed to keeping the work in the public domain.” (Denver relinquished a share in its Deas to the private Anschutz Collection.)

In a provision that seems directed at the ostracized National Academy, AAMD states that it “will provide guidance by which institutions may redress the cause for sanctions or censure, obtain AAMD’s professional assistance to restore financial viability if necessary, and rejoin the community of North American art museums.” Carmine Branagan, do you copy?

My hope is that these proceedings will be published in greater detail, including complete copies of the updated deaccession policy and the new strategic plan, and the complete texts of the four presentations by museum directors on “new visions for financial stability, publications, collecting, and new practices for art museums.”

We still don’t know where AAMD stands on other hot-button issues that were discussed: Brandeis “loans”; monetization of collections, honoring donor intent, exhibiting private collections.

The press release blows the cover of the pioneering tweeter for these proceedings: It was, as suspected, the meeting’s host, Max Anderson, director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

But Max, you never did tweet the anointment of Kaywin Feldman as AAMD’s new president! Did it happen?

Or did Zero-to-Forty Conforti refuse to hand over the keys?


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