Saturday, January 31, 2009

The vulnerable university museums

Urban Art and Antiquities blog (Hui)

Bad economic news seems to come almost everyday. The cover of the new The Magazine Antiques excites the reader with “American Antiques Season”, but business is slow if not zero, as reported by Bloomberg in its coverage of the Winter Antique Show of the last weekend.

The Winter Antiques Show is usually regarded as a barometer of the antique market for the year. The other show at Armory of Lexington and 26 St. appeared to be at most lukewarm. Under current financial crisis, to spend some 5 digits in this kind of antiques show need not only just a thick wallet, but also some impulse that cannot be explained rationally.

But impulsive purchases are rare now. Not only New Yorkers in particular look sultry these days, the mood brought by the money shortage has crept into every aspect of the society including universities. Brandies University, facing a huge budget deficit, decided recently to close its Rose Art Museum and sell off the collections. Later, it was amended to provide that only some that can hold the values well in the current art market will be sold.

Unlike the majority opinion that appeared online or in the newspaper, I do not hold strong opinions against deaccessioning, in particular with regard to reconfiguring infrastructure of an ailing school.

See the above page for the full story.

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