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More on Carmine Branagan’s Departure from the National Academy

You have reached the office of Carmine Branagan, director of the National Academy Museum and School.

So said the voicemail message when I called Branagan’s office about an hour ago. But a highly reliable informed source today unequivocally informed me: “She’s gone.”

Carmine Branagan, director of the National Academy, posing in 2011 in front of Asher B. Durand’s “The Morning of Life,” 1840 Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

Carmine Branagan, director of the National Academy, posing in 2011 in front of Asher B. Durand’s “The Morning of Life,” 1840
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

Based on previous tips I received, I broke the story on Oct. 4 about the shakeup rumor, which I believed was credible. I now have stronger information: A former staffer at the National Academy still in direct contact with those still working there today read to me an emailed message that he had received on Oct. 6 from an unimpeachable source with direct knowledge of the Academy situation.

The email described an Academy staff meeting on the morning of Oct. 5, attended by its president, Bruce Fowle, where it was announced that Branagan was no longer working at the Academy and that Maura Reilly, chief curator, would be serving as interim acting director.

Every time I’ve contacted staffers and board members at the Academy in the last two weeks (including yesterday), I’ve been told that a press release on this situation was very imminent. My guess is that there is disagreement as to its wording, which may be symptomatic of other more serious disputes.

My source, who requested anonymity, could not tell me what was behind this shakeup. As I suggested here, financial issues (which apparently were not solved by the Academy’s deplorable deaccessions) may have been at play.

This post may inspire other members of the scribe tribe to start searching for their own reliable sources. If Academy officials are smart, they will quickly go public with a coherent statement about what’s happened, before investigative journalists start writing the story for them.

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