Jackson Pollock, “Mural,” 1943, University of Iowa Art Museum
It’s down-the-slippery-slope time again. Only this time that slope has been slicked by the Iowa floods. Brian Morelli of the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports:
The Iowa state Board of Regents will conduct a study to determine the
value of one of University of Iowa’s most prized and expensive
Regent Michael Gartner requested the study of Jackson Pollock‘s
“Mural,” which is part of the University of Iowa Museum of Art
collection [given to it by legendary collector/dealer Peggy Guggenheim]. Gartner said the painting was estimated to be worth more
than $150 million several years ago.
UI President Sally Mason said UI does not plan to sell the painting….Gartner
said he is “not proposing the painting be sold,” but that it would be
good for the regents and the university to be aware of what options are
out there as UI faces major expenses in flood recovery.
Appraising the painting can only mean that the university is thinking of monetizing it, whatever is now being said for public consumption. The Association of Art Museum Directors, the College Art Association and the Association of College & University Museums & Galleries should jump all over this one, as they did (to no avail, alas) in connection with Randolph College’s Maier Museum art sales. I’m counting on AAMD’s president, Michael Conforti, to make this his first sermon from his new bully pulpit.
The Wall Street Journal ran a piece June 30 on Iowa’s Pollock. Pamela White, interim director of the university’s disaster-evacuated art museum, then told Michael Judge of the WSJ:
We might be looking at building a new museum to house the collection.
But I can assure you, “Mural” will be a part of that collection…
…or maybe not.
UPDATE: More CultureGrrl coverage of the Iowa brouhaha is here and here.