This is a press preview-intense time of year. But before I run off to the Whitney, I must direct you to a forceful piece by Eric Gibson in today’s Wall Street Journal, Ghosts in the Museum, which takes the Cleveland Museum to task for seeking court permission to partially fund its expansion by tapping the income from endowments restricted by their donors for acquisitions, and also proposes a compromise solution.
The Gibson revelation that I found particularly shocking is that Cleveland’s chairman, Michael Horvitz specifically mentioned one of the four targeted benefactors, Leonard Hanna (from whose endowment the bulk of the sought funds would come), as someone who would NOT have rolled over in his grave over this gambit.
Gibson, questioning Cleveland’s “communing with the dead,” writes:
Had Hanna disapproved of such an action, says Mr. Horvitz, “we believe
that the terms of his trust would have reflected that, but they did
not. So we believe that he envisioned that possibility and that it was
OK with him.”
I ended my Cleveland Desecrates Donor Intent post of Sept. 1 by promising to follow up with a closer examination of the museum’s “Complaint for Declaratory Judgment.” I’ve got to get that off my back burner. Manna from Hanna will figure prominently in that stew.
But the Association of Art Museum Directors, which had told me it was reviewing the Cleveland situation, is not getting this off its own back burner. It’s executive director, Janet Landay, had previously told me (as I reported in the Sept. 1 post) that AAMD had begun a review of Cleveland’s actions, which “should
be completed in the next few weeks….AAMD will decide after that review whether or not we will make a statement.”
This statement, just in from Landay:
We won’t have anything more to add until the court decision.