According to Goldy Blumenstyk of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Brandeis University (Boston, MA, US) will sell the art collected at the Rose Museum. Under the headline “Brandeis U. Plans to Close Its Museum and Sell Its Valuable Art Collection,” Ms. Blumenstyk explained that “Recession worries have claimed their latest academic victim: Brandeis University announced on Monday that it would close its art museum and auction off its collection of contemporary art.” Given the apparent quality of the collection, I’m very sorry that I haven’t visited it; perhaps I can get there before it goes on the block.
The permanent collection of The Rose Art Museum is internationally recognized for its quality and comprehensiveness. The collection numbers over 8,000 objects and is particularly strong in American art of the 1960s and 1970s. In line with seminal acquisitions of works by Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Morris Louis, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol in the ’60s, The Rose, through the establishment of the Rose and Hays Purchase Funds, continues its committment [sic] to acquiring art produced in our time. Recent acquisitions have included works by Matthew Barney, Helen Frankenthaler, Nan Goldin, Alfredo Jaar, Donald Judd, Annette Lemieux, Robert Mangold, Judy Pfaff, Anri Sala, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, and Jackie Windsor.
The financial situation being what it is, I wonder how many other institutions of higher education will have to sell collections in whole or part to help them survive the downturn. And, where will these works go? Will some folks take a de Kooning or two out of circulation and hang them in a den? Will patrons broker the movement of some to other musea?
When an Iowa institution of higher education sold a prominent painting last year, my brother Frank had some enlightening observations about how the art world responds to these actions; those were in private correspondence, but perhaps he’ll have public comments on his blog about this event. Looks as though the phrase “continues its committment [sic] to acquiring art produced in our time” will need to be updated. Link to the Rose Museum. Link to Ms. Blumenstyk’s article from the Chronicle.