Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to get art out of the basement...

Paul Klein was good enough to point me to Maria Mazria Katz's Art Newspaper coverage of Eli Broad's talk at the annual meeting of the American Association of Museums. Broad's call to get art out of the basement prompted me to comment there:

Broad's right, of course, that museums should exhibit more. The problem is money. Tight public budgets can't get art out of basements -- they already threaten art in education. To reverse the trend toward layoffs downsizing exhibitions and outreach, artworks will have to support the arts. Their financial value in museums is the one realistically available fortune big enough to get art out of basements. Avoiding cultural depletion from deaccession requires new thinking, though. Coaccession™ preserves museums' cultural endowments while creating financial ones. Museums keep the property rights with an artwork's cultural value while selling the right with most of its financial value. This turns capital gains that can't pay for exhibits into stock and bond income that can, so a museum can have its Monet and money, too. Coaccession can start getting art out of the basement now while expanding art in the public domain rather than shrinking it.

Cameron Henderson was perceptive enough to call that a great post. We're both hoping Eli Broad will lead the way toward artworks supporting the arts by Coaccessioning his art collection so its own financial value provides a financial endowment to help maximize its cultural value through expanded exhibitions and outreach.

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