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University of Iowa's Pollock, sale or no sale?

Posted by Geoff Edgers  August 12, 2008 10:54 AM

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Tyler has pushed hard on this one, and he has a clear statement from the interim director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art. I zapped requests around yesterday to see how some of our local institutitions felt about the proposal floated to sell a Pollock to pay for flood damage.

Tom Lentz, director of Harvard Art Museum, was away. But he released a comment through a museum spokesperson. "He didn't know much about the facts of this particular story, but he was able to call it up on his computer. He fully agreed with the statement in the piece attributed to U of I President Sally Mason. We fully support and adhere to the AAM and AAMD guidelines for deaccessioning."

Dan Monroe, at the Peabody Essex Museum, offered:
"Several private colleges and universities have recently chosen to sell works of art to fund operations. Sales of works of art from university art museum collections to support university operations or endowment violates AAMD policy. To date, these unfortunate transactions have taken place at small, financially strapped colleges or universities. Selling art from a university art museum collection to support university operations reflects financial mismanagement, loss of institutional integrity, and loss of important works of art to students, faculty, and the general public. It is hard to imagine the University of Iowa resorting to such ill-conceived measures given their high standing the the fields of the arts and humanities."

The Museum of Fine Arts wouldn't comment specifically on the Iowa situation. The museum's policy is not to make statements about other institutions. But, "it is the MFA's policy, and an AAM requirement, that funds realized through deaccessioning are restricted to the purchase of works of art."

PollockMural1943.jpg

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About Exhibitionist Geoff Edgers covers arts news for The Boston Globe..
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