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BlogBack: Roy Slade, Former Corcoran Gallery Director, Suggests an Action Plan

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Roy Slade, former director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Roy Slade, director of the Corcoran Gallery from 1972-77 and director emeritus of the Cranbrook Art Museum, responds to Corcoran Uproar: Anti-Move Protest, CEO Job Description, Next Community Meeting:

The responsibility for the Corcoran’s current difficulties lies with the trustees who have tried to run it without a professional director. [The background, devoid of art-museum or art-school experience, of current director and president Fred Bollerer is here.]

What folly, like trying to run an orchestra without a conductor or to navigate a ship without a captain! As a result, the Corcoran is floundering. Of course, the problems are many, but critical is the appointment of a respected and experienced director. The Corcoran headhunter’s job description [my link, not his] for its new CEO seems to indicate that the trustees have little interest in a professional, experienced art museum director.

I believe that three actions by the Corcoran’s board of trustees are necessary:

—The appointment of a respected professional director
—Renewed commitment to the American collection, contemporary American art and Washington artists
—Fundraising to fulfill the wishes of founder W.W. Corcoran “to promote and encourage the American Genius.”

I share [former Corcoran director] David Levy‘s concern [my link, not his] about the possibility that the Corcoran may leave the Ernest Flagg-designed building and his opinions that exhibitions have failed and that the Corcoran needs to be Washington’s museum.

Founder William Wilson Corcoran‘s dedication was to American art. The vision of the founder that created the American collection, along with commitment to Washington artists and contemporary art, will once more revitalize the Corcoran. Support and monies could be forthcoming if the Corcoran proudly embraces its mission and unique role in our nation’s capital.

To move away would be an ignominious loss and tragic travesty for our capital and country.

an ArtsJournal blog