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AAMD Tries To Get Tough Re: Delaware Deaccession


Timothy Rub (pictured), current president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, has just penned a tough letter to Delaware officials -- Governor Jack Markell, Attorney General Beau Biden and Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams. It breaks no new ground, but it does make a decent point on the museum's current strategy of non-disclosure: ...we are also deeply concerned that the Delaware Art Museum has refused to disclose publicly the works of art that it is considering selling. Given the importance of this decision and its potential impact, … [Read more...]

Detroit News Also Takes Stand Against Art Sale


Here's that paper's opinion piece: Offers to save DIA would mean big trade-offs for city, pensioners. The Detroit News  is less emotional about the riches in the Detroit Institute of Arts than its rival Free Press, but a column by Daniel Howes too argues against a sale and for the so-called grand bargain (foundations ponying up money to secure the DIA's art from sale and remove it from city ownership). An excerpt: The DIA is the central battleground in Detroit’s high-stakes bankruptcy and the prize is winning the support of pensioners who … [Read more...]

Detroit Free Press Takes Strong Stance


"Buzzards"..."Hands off our stuff, you soulless, greedy, scavenging vultures"...."bald stupidity involved in selling off the DIA"..."The whole idea of municipal bankruptcy is to prevent this kind of shortsighted destruction"..."would destroy the state’s most important cultural asset"..."Chopping up the collection at the DIA would be a brutal and culturally ignorant extension of that very dynamic"... Those are some of the strong words contained in an editorial in today's Detroit Free Press, from a writer named Stephen Henderson, the Freep's … [Read more...]

Breaking News: Disgusting Developments In Detroit

DIA-Wedding Dance

Detroit's creditors are getting out of hand. Today, news came that they have solicited bids for the art owned by the Detroit Institute of Arts -- getting billion-dollar bids for the collection or key parts of it. According to both Detroit newspapers, the Financial Insurance Guaranty Co. (FGIC) has four tentative bids of up to $2 billion. Said the Detroit Free Press: The prospective investors include a coalition of Catalyst Acquisitions and Bell Capital Partners that tentatively offered $1.75 billion for all of the DIA’s property. The … [Read more...]

More Troubles For DIA-Detroit


Another reason why the Detroit bankruptcy-Detroit Institute of Arts deal must become reality as soon as possible. On Friday, an opponent of the deal -- a bond insurer named Syncora -- said it was filing a subpoena "seeking all documents related to the museum’s art collection and records detailing its financial performance in a move that amplifies the tension over the DIA’s future." Bad news -- even it if doesn't stick. It could mean endless work for the DIA. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press headlined Bankruptcy creditor … [Read more...]

Juxtapositions: Portugal, Miro, Detroit, Russian Oligarchs


The Detroit bankruptcy and the fate of the Detroit Institute of Arts is making waves in Europe, just as Kevyn Orr -- the city's emergency manager -- made remarks that show, finally, he understands what might have happened. And still might, if he and Gov. Rick Snyder waver. Creditors have not yet given up hope for a sale of the art. The European connection was detailed in an article posted on The New York Times website on March 26 -- Portugal’s Move to Sell Miró Works Raises Debate of Preservation vs. Privatization -- which referenced … [Read more...]

Delaware Deaccessioning: Pertinent Questions


The Delaware Art Museum's announcement that it will sell as many as four works of art, to raise about $30 million for repaying debt and replenishing its endowment is a bad idea, based on what I have read. It also raises many questions. (The basic facts are here in the most complete article, from the News-Journal.) Why would this decision be made now, before the board recruits a director to replace Danielle Rice, who left last summer? Yes, it may remove the difficult decision from the new director, who can start the job with a clean record. … [Read more...]

109 Minutes With Tom Campbell


That's how long Carl Swanson spent with the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art* -- not sure when -- to deliver a short "encounter" feature in the current issue of New York magazine. Keeping in mind that the article's readership is probably not that attuned to the Met (34% of readers are 18‒34 and 31% are not New Yorkers), the write-up had only a few surprising assertions. The first surprise was this paragraph: To this day, despite that blockbuster Alexander McQueen exhibit, his travels in the TED-talk-and-Davos circuit, the grand … [Read more...]

Randolph College’s Maier Museum Is Punished


Today, more than a month after Randolph College announced the sale of its beautiful painting, Men of the Docks, by George Bellows, to raise money for its endowment, the Association of Art Museum Directors slapped the Maier Museum there (shown at left) with sanctions -- "a more stringent step than censure," a step it had already take, AAMD said, adding: The sanctions will include instructions to our members to suspend any loans of works of art to and any collaboration on exhibitions and programs with the Maier Museum of Art. The group also … [Read more...]

An Art Museum For Las Vegas After All?


Here's a switch: Las Vegas, whose art museum closed in 2009, is talking about building a new art museum -- this one to focus on contemporary art. Whether this one is any more viable than the first is a matter of conjecture. Interestingly, in the information I've been able to find online, there's not a mention of a collection or much about art. It's all about a new building with 35,000 square feet of gallery space on a two-acre site downtown. I caught wind of this on the local CBS news website. The article began: A major campaign to raise … [Read more...]

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