Brandeis Board Votes to Close Rose Art Museum, Sell Art
Geoff Edgers and Peter Schworm of the Boston Globe report some sad news. The board of trustees at Brandeis University has voted unanimously to close the school’s Rose Art Museum and sell off a 7,180-object collection. Some of the reactions in the article:
“Clearly, what’s happening with Brandeis now is that they decided the easiest way is to look around the campus and find things that can be capitalized,” said David Robertson, a Northwestern University professor who is president of the Association of College and Univertsity Museums and Galleries. “It’s always art that goes first.”
“I’m in shock,” said Mark Bessire, the recently named director of the Portland Museum of Art. “And this is definitely not the time to be selling paintings, anyway. The market is dropping. I’m just kind of sitting here sweating because I can’t imagine Brandeis would take that step.”
Tyler Green at MAN reports that photographer, David Maisel, is stunned and asks some very important questions like “Why isn’t Brandeis University selling off books out of its library? and “Will donors of art (or their heirs) sue the university?”
Greg Cook comments in the New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, “Perhaps the decision to close the Rose and sell off the collection is Brandeis’s only option for survival, but it feels like the school is selling off its inheritance to survive a short-term problem. Plus, a down art market could mean that Brandeis may wind up selling its treasures for far less than they’re worth.”
He also includes the entire Brandeis press release and there are a few comments worth reading as well.
CultureGrrl also weighs in with her comments noting that the press release heading is beyond belief.
LA Times Culture Monster has updated it’s story with a response from the Association of Art Museum Directors:
“AAMD is shocked and dismayed to learn of Brandeis University’s plans to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its collection. This is a sad day for the students of Brandeis, the University, and its community. The Rose Art Museum plays a vital role in bringing modern and contemporary art to the public and increasing understanding of the art of our time. AAMD’s mid-winter meeting begins tomorrow and its members will discuss the ramifications of Brandeis’ decision and any actions the Association may take in response to these regrettable plans.”
C-Monster has posted an open letter to the University President from Brandeis alum, Eric Gordon, currently head of paintings conservation at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
UPDATE — More from CultureGrrl including a statement from ACUMG and a letter sent to alumni by University President, Jehuda Reinharz. Also the New York Times is reporting that the Massachusetts attorney general’s office is planning to conduct a detailed review of Brandeis University’s surprise decision (denounced by the museum’s board, its director) to sell off the entire museum holdings.
From Inside Higher Ed: “The decision to close the art museum and sell its holdings was not taken to the faculty or faculty committees for a vote or recommendation;” and “[David] Robertson called the idea that an art museum could be sacrificed ‘myopic’ and said that the decision reflected a general lack of understanding that art is not a luxury, but is a central part of a liberal education”