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AAMD Tweets (again): President Feldman’s Inaugural Missive UPDATED

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Kaywin Feldman

Having dipped its toes into the roiling social-media waters with its AAMDIndy tweets (which chronicled last month’s annual meeting), the Association of Art Museum Directors recently launched a permanent MuseumDirectors page on Twitter. At this writing, it features only one substantive tweet—a link to Kaywin Feldman‘s first president’s letter. That missive includes an important nugget of information that was news to me.

Feldman writes:

Many museums, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where I work, are posting lists of objects to be deaccessioned on their websites.

I have long been a proponent of museums’ giving the public a heads-up about works selected to be expelled from the public domain, before those disposals have already become a done deal. But I was familiar only with the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s efforts in that regard. I have searched in vain for a link to prospective (or even completed) disposals on Minneapolis’ website. (There’s nothing about this on that museum’s web page for Collection-Related Online Resources.)

I have a query in to AAMD and Minneapolis for that link, as well as for details about other museums that have taken a laudable leap towards greater transparency about proposed art sales. I’ll update here, if and when I get an answer. [For update, go here.]

Feldman’s letter features a non-working (at this writing) link to a must-read ARTnews article by Robin Cembalest, about AAMD’s strategic plan and new initiatives. Another non-working link references Feldman’s own letter
to the NY Times, rebutting the Brooklyn Museum-bashing article by Robin Pogrebin.

Arnold Lehman, the Brooklyn Museum’s longtime director, has gotten so accustomed to being picked on by pesky journalists and (occasionally) his own colleagues that he must have been rubbing his eyes in disbelief upon seeing these words of high praise from AAMD’s new president:

Under Arnold Lehman’s leadership, the Brooklyn Museum has been ahead of
the curve in addressing a critical question: What makes a museum
relevant in the 21st century, and to whom is the museum relevant?…The Brooklyn Museum has clearly been successful [in] drawing diverse
audiences and establishing the museum as a place that matters to its
community.

Still, Arnold’s pleasure must have been short lived. Kaywin’s letter was followed (on the same NY Times letter page) by this derisive missive hurled by Selma Holo, director of the University of Southern California’s Fisher Museum of Art
and its International Museum Institute:

The Brooklyn Museum has been suckered into the belief that a museum’s
success can be determined solely by its attendance. It navigates between
the shoals of entertainment and education with the so-called
edutainment strategy. (The fact is, Disneyland does the entertainment
part better.)

As I recently wrote here (in response to Pogrebin’s piece and before the publication of Feldman’s and Holo’s letters), there’s a whole lot more to the Brooklyn Museum than “Star Wars” and its like.

But what we all really want to know is: When is Kaywin-favored Journalist X going to publish his or her long-awaited exclusive interview with AAMD’s new president? (Or did I somehow manage to miss it?)

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