Good reporting on the Brandeis mess

Journalist Scott Jaschik, over at [Inside Hire Ed](, provides another view on Brandeis University's surprise decision to sell off its entire 6,000-piece collection housed at the Rose Art Museum. He interviews David Robertson, president of the Association of College and University Museums and Galleries. Robertson says that the sell-off is in violation of the organization's code of ethics and that it will make acquiring works of art by colleges and universities much harder in the future.
"This puts all of our roles at our institutions in jeopardy. ... And it puts in jeopardy our relationships with our donors with whom we have built our collections," he said. The ethics codes cited by Robertson are vital, museum officials say, because donors will not make gifts to university collections if they believe that their donations could end up in an auction house sometime in the future."
I'd imagine Brandeis is going to face quite a few pissed off donors. I can imagine this sending a chill down their backs in communities across the country, even, and perhaps especially, in the small cities and college towns in Flyoverville. Jaschik did some more good digging when he found a profile of the Rose's director in the university's alumni magazine. In it, Michael Rush brags about the value of his collection.
The article cites Rush as saying that by "eyeball," he could tell that the collection was worth at least $300 million, but that he planned to have a formal appraisal done to draw attention to the significance of the art museum. In a quote he may regret, he says: "I'm confident that, after its real estate, art is the university's largest financial asset, and I want everyone to know it."
[Full story]( . . .
January 27, 2009 10:55 AM |



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