Dan Monroe, chairman of the AAMD’s Art Issues Committee and director of the Peabody Essex Museum—one of those who met this week with Carmine Branagan, director of the National Academy
The National Academy, in discussions this week with representatives from the Association of Art Museum Directors, agreed not to sell the two works—by John White Alexander and Robert Blum—that it had targeted for disposal along with the two far more important works—a Church and a Gifford—that it did sell last fall to defray debts and operating expenses.
In a joint statement issued late yesterday afternoon by the previously estranged National Academy, New York, and the Association of Art Museum Directors, both sides indicated progress but not closure in resolving the issues that led AAMD’s leadership in December to urge the association’s members not to collaborate with the Academy on exhibitions or other projects. The rapprochement resulted from the meeting this week about which the Academy’s director, Carmine Branagan, had given me advance word last week.
Both sides described as “productive” the discussion on “how the Academy could achieve financial stability and institute policies to preclude deaccessions for operating funds, and how AAMD could assist in this process.”
Among the plans:
The Academy will begin a process to restructure its governance practices to: include more rigorous fiscal oversight; institute a comprehensive fundraising program incorporating board involvement and a professional development team; formulate a strategic, long-range plan which will include a financial plan and a strengthened collections management policy.
Michael Conforti, president of AAMD, who did not attend the meeting, commented afterwards:
By taking swift action to change its course, the National Academy is demonstrating a commitment to protecting the works of art it holds in public trust and simultaneously moving towards a financially secure future. We look forward to working with the National Academy and providing our support as they implement the initiatives they have described.
The joint statement ends on this hopeful note:
On the basis of these pledges and actions—and to assist the National Academy in realizing these goals—members of AAMD will meet with the Academy’s leadership over the coming months to provide guidance and support as it institutes these essential changes. Once accomplished, these initiatives will help the National Academy regain its footing as a member in good standing of the American art museum community.
Personal Note: I would have given you this news (which hit my inbox yesterday afternoon) sooner, but my mother was in the hospital yesterday (and will be coming out later today, if all goes according to plan). I’ve been with her.