Full Circle

Thinking more about Mark Stryker's excellent tweet yesterday --  where he basically says in one sentence what I've been trying to say here for about 12 years -- and Everson board president Jessica Arb Danial's excellent piece, I'm reminded of the initial question I had about this whole issue, as quoted in Jori Finkel's New York Times piece all those years ago:

"Donn Zaretsky, a New York lawyer who specializes in art cases, has sympathized with the National Academy at [The Art Law Blog], asking why a museum can sell art to buy more art but not to cover overhead costs or a much-needed education center. 'Why should we automatically assume that buying art always justifies a deaccessioning, but that no other use of proceeds — no matter how important to an institution’s mission — ever can?' he wrote."

I still think that's the right question.

We know, as Stryker reminds us, that museums sell work whenever they want, so it cannot be the case that they are held in public trust. The only issue is use of proceeds.

The Jessica Arb Danials of the world think there is another use of proceeds, besides buying art, that can justify a deaccessioning -- namely, social justice, equity, diversity, representation.

Her opponents disagree with that view.

Isn't that what it really comes down to?

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