Art Museums — Censored or Censors?
Recently the New Ethical Guidelines
of the American Association of Museums called for "transparency" and "accountability" from
The articles referenced below touch upon the
role of little-disclosed financial considerations in how art
museums select art to feature
and how those little-disclosed financial considerations can influence
the subsequent official curatorial research record.
Donors Stood to Gain From Brooklyn Museum Show, Sunday
New York Times, 10/31/1999.
|Art, Money and Control: Elements
of an Exhibition,
New York Times, 12/06/1999.
the End, the 'Sensation' Is Less the Art Than the Money,
New York Times, 11/03/1999.
Gift to the Guggenheim Revives Issue of Art and Commerce,
New York Times, 12/15/1999.
Gone but Still Provocative, New York Times, 02/14/2000.
Exhibiting Borrowed Objects, New
York Times, 08/04/2000.
Crisis of Fakes, Sunday New York Times Magazine, 03/18/2001.
Group Criticizes Official on Donor Contract, New York Times, 05/26/2001.
That Can Warp a Museum, Editorial, New York Times, 05/31/2001.
Must Exhibit Ingenuity in the Face of Overlapping Gifts, New York
August, 6, 2001.
Smithsonian Director Resigns, New York Times, 09/20/2001.
Now, an Exhibition From Our Sponsor, New York Times, 08/23/2009.
Ethical Standards Set for Museums, New York Times, 11/17/2001.
Donors Stood to Gain From Brooklyn Museum Show,
David Barstow, Sunday New York Times, 10/31/1999,
The Times wrote, "Far more than has
been previously disclosed, the 'Sensation' exhibition at
of Art has been financed by
companies and individuals with a direct commercial interest in
the works of the young British artists in the show, according
to court documents and interviews with people involved in the
Mr. Barstow explained, "Faced with
rising costs and the unwillingness of major corporations
show — whose
works have provided furious protests in London and more recently
in New York — Arnold
L. Lehman, the museum's director, embarked this summer on an aggressive
campaign to finance 'Sensation' by other means."
The focus of concern in this coverage was
and his assistants raised hundreds of thousands of dollars
profit most from
the exhibition of contemporary
art, a practice that other museum executives say was practically
unheard of and ethically problematic."
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani threatened legal
museum officials not only
of recklessly staging an exhibition of vulgar and sacrilegious
art, but also of conspiring with the owner of the 'Sensation' collection,
Charles Saatchi, to inflate the value of the works on display."
The breadth of commercial involvement was
extensive, the Times explained. "Mr.
Lehman and his assistants solicited donations of at least
of the artists
whose works are on display. They offered Christie's special
access to the museum to entertain clients. They secured a pledge
from Mr. Saatchi and then tried to conceal his financial support
from the public."
The Times reported Mr. Lehman's denial,
that he "insisted that the commercial considerations had
with those who
donated money to the
exhibition. . . . He said the donors had been
motivated by enthusiasm for an important body of art, not by any
This controversy became confused by the
focus of most media attention on the sensationalist nature
of the art exhibited and
countervailing concerns regarding censorship.
But Mr. Barstow and the Times had the correct
stake is nothing less than a museum's independence and integrity,
have a public
trust to display art on the basis of merit, those experts say,
and are sure to suffer if they become viewed as instruments for
private financial gain."
The article continued, reporting how David
Bowie, the pop musician, promised to give about $75,000,
tour without charge, received rights to display the
exhibition on his website that has commercial pages. "While
Mr. Bowie's financial contribution has been kept in confidence
by museum officials,
traffic on the
Bowie website had more than tripled."
The Times described how "[A]ccording
to an internal Christie's memorandum, the $50,000 'represents
Christie's most significant financial commitment to an external
exhibition to date.'"
Allison Whiting, director of museum services
at Christies, was quoted in the memo stating, "'I
would like to see us capitalize on it as much as possible."
And the Times detailed that "For its
donation Christie's was given , among other benefits, 'unlimited
in the museum during the
run of the exhibition with the $5,000 rental fee to be waived,'
according to an internal Christie's memorandum."
The article included Mr. Lehman;s statement
that, this type of fund-raising was "no different
from what other museum directors do."
The article noted that when the Brooklyn
Museum of Art ended up in court with the City of New York
regarding Mayor Giuliani's attempt to restrict public
funding, Mr. Lehman "identified several other instances
collections. He named the National Gallery
of Art, in Washington." And Mr. Lehman "also
named the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond."
The Times wrote, that Patricia O'Connell,
a spokeswoman for the National Gallery of Art, said that
it "forbade auction
houses and dealers to contribute money to exhibitions of
private collections. 'We
are careful to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest
in dealing with or accepting financial support from the commercial
And the Times noted that the Virginia Museum
of Fine Arts in Richmond officially denied Mr. Lehman's
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Money and Control: Elements of an Exhibition,
David Barstow, New
York Times, 12/06/1999,
In this report the Times described significant
professional dissension within the institution: "The
director of the Brooklyn Museum of Art gave the collector
determining the artistic content
of 'Sensation,' so much so that senior museum officials repeatedly
expressed concerns that Mr. Saatchi had usurped control of the
exhibition, internal museum documents show."
In academic research, transparency is required. But
in this article Mr. Barstow described that "Mr.
Saatchi, the British advertising magnate who owns the provocative
'Sensation,' is the
show's single largest financial backer, a fact museum officials
disclosed in court papers after months of concealing Mr. Saatchi's
The Times reported that museum employees
were expressing concerns that the man who owned and dealt
commercially in the art work in the exhibition was controlling
it and greatly increasing the museum's expenses for the project. The
articles stated, "As costs soared,
Mr. Lehman raised ticket prices and scaled back the additional
services and education
programs planned for 'Sensation'."
The Times article raised the issue of official
interviews and sworn court papers, Mr. Lehman has underscored
body of art
is worthy of exhibition] by
describing how he decided to pursue 'Sensation' after seeing
it at the Royal Academy in London and coming away impressed both
by the art and the long lines at the museum door. . . . But
Mr. Lehman was not as informed about 'Sensation' as he has suggested. The
documents show, and the museum now concedes, that
Mr. Lehman never actually saw 'Sensation' in London. His
initial overtures began in January 1998, two weeks after 'Sensation'
Regarding another apparent official
contradiction, in his article Mr. Barstow wrote, "In
a written response to questions from The New York Times,
there was no link between
his seeking sponsorship from Christie's and his discussion of
auctioning works from the museum's collection."
But the article continues that "In
late April, the same week Mr. Saatchi was soliciting Christie's,
Hambrecht, president of
Christie's Americas. He, too, asked Christie's to help
underwrite 'Sensation,' and, in the same lunch he mentioned that
undertaking a 'significant' program to sell off works from 'all
collecting categories' of the museum. He said the museum
needed to 'rethink its entire approach to contemporary art,'
Christie's was avidly pursuing."
'There might be something here worth
exploring," the Times reported that Ms.
Hambrecht wrote in a memo.
Then the article included that "Weeks
later, Christie's sold approximately $21,000 worth of art
its only sale
for the museum
in 1998, a Christie's spokeswoman said."
The Times wrote then that "The museum
declined to disclose a breakdown of its art sales — or
to reveal the auction houses that handled those sales — since
the date of Mr. Lehman's lunch." This is stunning
to read since so much of the funding of the Brooklyn Art
Museum come from
the public taxpayer and the entire process of deaccession
and sales should be completely transparent.
But this is not all. This article
reports other additional questionable actions at the Brooklyn
Museum of Art regarding this project as well.
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End, the 'Sensation' Is Less the Art Than the Money,
Michael Kimmelman, New
11/03/1999, pp. E1&4.
Questions about the relationship between
the art market and academic curatorial research are appropriate. As
Mr. Kimmelman wrote in this article, "Impressions
are important in these affairs. What Brooklyn did by
soliciting money from people with direct financial involvement
in the works in the exhibition was at the dubious extreme of
museum practice, if it wasn't unethical, and it certainly makes
a very bad impression by creating the image that Brooklyn is
for sale. The museum was additionally foolish to have dissembled
about the financing."
The Times article continued, "Believing
that Christie's does not plan to sell works by the artists
Mr. Saatchi was not thinking
about the enhanced value of his collection when he entered into
his agreement with Brooklyn is simply naive. He sold works
at Christie's after 'Sensation' was in London. Collectors often
sell works after exhibitions."
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Gift to the Guggenheim Revives Issue of Art and Commerce,
Carol Vogel, New York Times, 12/15/1999,
Questions about academic and curatorial
research are confounded by the lack of transparency in art
institutions enjoying public funding, a transparency required
in every other field of scholarship and research.
In this article, Ms. Vogel wrote that "The
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announced last month that it
homage to the
designer Giorgio Armani
next fall with a major retrospective of his work. The museum
will turn its rotunda over to his ball gowns and pants suits
and tuxedos, providing a breathtaking backdrop for an opening
soiree and adding even more luster, if such a thing is possible,
to the fashion designer's name."
And the article disclosed that "What
the museum did not acknowledge was that some eight months
had become a
sizable benefactor to
the Guggenheim. The size of his contribution has not been
disclosed, but one participant in museum meetings at which it
said it would eventually amount to $15 million, an initial $5
million with a pledge to donate $10 million more over the next
Here too, the Times reported what was said
in defense: "Asked
about the gift, museum officials said it was part of a 'global
can go to Guggenheim
projects anywhere in the world, and denied that was a quid pro
quo for organizing the Armani show. The show is being sponsored
by the fashion and celebrity magazine In Style, in which Armani
is an advertiser."
The Guggenheim had also been questioned
about it its 'Art of the Motorcycle' exhibition sponsored
The article reported the response of James
N. Wood, then director of the Art Institute of Chicago. "'Do
we need to be sensitive about these relationships?' he asked. 'Absolutely. While
there are tremendous pressures on museums to become more competitive,
that's not a hunting license to do anything. In
the end you have to be ready to defend the quality of what you're
doing. And if money is involved, there's all the more pressure
to justify it.'"
The article includes key questions: "At
what point does a contribution influence a museum's presentation
curatorial standards?" and "Do other artists or designers
equally worthy of shows fail to get them because they lack the
pockets of a collector
or large company like, say Armani?"
The Times article also quoted Marie C. Malaro,
a retired director
of the graduate program in museum studies at George Washington
University in Washington who is also an attorney: "For
some experts, the answer is simple. 'If it looks bad, it
is bad'. . . . Of the Armani-Guggenheim
affiliation she said, 'You wonder how they can say there's no
with a straight face.'"
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Gone but Still Provocative, Judith
H. Dobrzynski, New York Times, 02/14/2000, p. E1.
Here the Times reports on a rare beam of light
cast on the relationship between art research and art commerce. It
whole controversy has been high entertainment and good instruction,'
an art historian at
the University of Chicago whose fledgling cultural policy program
organized the one-day conference . . . . One
thing I liked about the show is that it burst open the relationship
Ms. Dobrzynski wrote further, "Even more
was revealed at the conference. Gilbert
S. Edelson, administrative vice president of the Art Dealers
of America, surprised many participants with the statement that
some museums take a commission on sales of new art exhibited
on their walls, just as dealers do."
Bringing to mind a certain quote from Casa
Blanca, the Times reported that, "James
Cuno, the director of the Harvard University Art Museums, said
the practice inappropriate. . . . Thelma
Golden, who was a curator at the Whitney Museum of American
Art for 10
the Whitney did it."
But what the Times reported was so extensive
that it could not have been a surprise. The article explained,
Edelson also cited other museum practices that muddled the distinctions
dealers." And the article wrote "'We are pleased to welcome many museums to the ranks of
art dealers,' Mr. Edelson said to laughter. "We await
their application to join the Art Dealers Association of America.'"
The article describe Dr. Cuno stating that
one loses respect, it takes a long time
to recover'" and that Dr. Lehman "ended up reinforcing
the appearance that the museum is a bastion of the elite united
the collusion of self-interest."
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on Exhibiting Borrowed Objects,
Editorial, New York Times, 08/04/2000, p. A26.
Concerning the sudden creation of the new
ethical code of the American Association of Museums the Times
wrote: "The guidelines . . . were written
largely in response to questions about financing, undue influence
and possible conflicts
of interest in staging the 'Sensation' exhibition at the Brooklyn
Museum of Art last year. The art in that show was owned
by Charles Saatchi, who also contributed $160,000 anonymously
to the Brooklyn
Museum and stood to gain if the show increases the value of the
The editorial also said "'Sensation'
may have served as the immediate incentive for these guidelines,
address a set of basic
conflicts that affects all museums. Museums are supposed
to serve as cultural cathedrals, repositories of our most significant
artifacts. Yet art makes its way to museums in ways that
are often labyrinthine, closely caught up in the politics of
and money, the push and pull of international art markets, individual
collectors and powerful patrons. The public has had no
way of knowing whether an exhibition of borrowed objects represented
the best artistic judgment of the professional curators, or was
staged at the behest of hidden donors."
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of Fakes, Peter Landesman, Sunday
New York Times Magazine,
03/18/2001, pp. 36+.
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is looked to as an authority
in art research. Between 1988 and 1992, the Getty had paid more
than $1 million dollars for six drawings attributed to Renaissance
masters including Raphael. Nicholas Turner, who became the curator
of the Getty's European drawings collection in 1993, was certain
that they were forgeries.
"Turner is widely recognized as
one of the world's most distinguished drawings curators. He
was in charge of Italian
and French drawings at the British Museum for more than 20 years;
during that same period, he catalogued more than 800 drawings
from Queen Elizabeth's private collection. In 1990, he was part
of the team of curators that assembled an acclaimed exhibit at
the British museum, 'Fake? The Art of Deception.'"
"The Getty lured Turner from London
in 1994 with the promise of unfettered research latitude, unparalleled
and, of course, the glamour of its name. The Getty is, by far,
the wealthiest art museum in the world, with an endowment of
roughly $5 billion."
In 1996 Turner informed the Director,
John Walsh, and his deputy, Deborah Gribbon, and then informed
the trustees in writing about
the drawings' dubious authenticity. "But a week later, Turner
says, he received word from Walsh that he was to say nothing."
Turner "was respected by his peers but
roundly disliked." "Colleagues
at the Getty considered him mean, condescending and unpleasant." Assistant
Kathleen Kibler "filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment
with the Getty [against Turner], which the museum investigated
but did not uphold, though it did caution Turner."
In 1997, Turner sued the museum for defamation
and settled out of Court. "In the settlement, Turner received a mid-six-figure
payment from the Getty, plus a promise to publish his book." Part
of the book was devoted to the forgery allegations. But the book
was never published by Getty.
"Just before Christmas, upon learning of this article [in
the Sunday New York Times], Getty lawyers filed a motion with
the court-appointed arbitrator in Los Angeles to keep Turner
from discussing anything discovered during the case." The
presiding arbitrator rejected the Getty's attempt to gag Turner.
Getty's lawyer wrote Turner "that the Getty 'paid him [Turner]
a significant sum of money" to waive forever any dispute
he had against the museum, including his claim that 'his predecessor
acquired drawings which were not authentic.'"
"The implications of this controversy are far from trivial. Each year, tens of millions of museum goers walk through the
entrance of the Getty, or the Metropolitan or the Prado or the
Hermitage, and never consider the possibility of having to arbitrate
for themselves the authenticity of what they have come to see. A museum's meticulous presentation — exhaustive captions,
hushed lighting, state-of-the-art armature — creates an
institutional authority that is constructed to seem impregnable."
"But by gagging the forgery claim
of its own expert, the Getty reveals a museum culture defined
as much by commerce, politics
and academic provincialism as by a commitment to accurate art
history. No one suggests that there is a conspiracy to purchase
known forgeries. But once substantive challenges to authenticity
are made, for a museum like the Getty to revert to a code of
silence seems ill advised."
"'I see museums in a completely
different light now,' he [Turner] says. 'I find the employees
caught up in institutional
issues, like politics. They're not studying the material as museum
professionals, as independent academics. They don't produce scholarship.
Museum culture has become much more bureaucratic and caught up
in entertainment issues and politics. Big exhibitions have become
a public entertainment. Spectacle has overwhelmed serious study.'"
"But the knowledge that we don't always know what is real — and
neither, always, do museums — infects us with doubts that
corrupt all of our other dealings with the culturally sacred. Experts are fallible. We have to take responsibility for what
we look at.
"'If a museum contains things which are inauthentic,' [Mark]
Jones [head curator of the British Museum's "Fake?" exhibition]
says, 'then what it is saying becomes a lie.'"
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Group Criticizes Official on Donor Contract,
Elaine Sciolino, New York Times, 05/26/2001,
In this article Ms. Sciolino wrote that "A
group of curators and scholars at the Museum of American
the Smithsonian Institution's
secretary, of jeopardizing the integrity of the institution and
breaching standard museum practices because of agreements he
has reached with multi-million-dollar donors."
This is a particularly interesting report
because, like the Times reporting on the financial controversy
at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, it discloses pressing professional
ethical concerns voiced by curatorial staff in response to
questionable administrative actions. "'We
feel obliged to speak out about recent decisions by Secretary
the integrity and
authority of this beloved institution,' said the memorandum,
which was signed by curators, scholars and other researchers
at the American history museum. 'Secretary Small's decisions
circumvent established decision-making procedures and seem certain
to commit our museum to unethical relationships with private
The article wrote about the protests of
the branch of the Smithsonian-wide Congress of Scholars at
the National Museum of American History in response to the
announcement of a $38 million
by the Catherine B. Reynolds
Ms. Sciolino wrote, "'A solid majority'
of the members of the group, comprised of about 70 curators,
other researchers at the museum,
signed the protest memorandum, said Helena Wright a curator at
the museum and vice chairwoman of the congress."
"The memorandum asked pointedly,
'Will the Smithsonian Institution actually allow private founders
to rent space in
a public museum for the expression of private interests and personal
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That Can Warp a Museum, Editorial, New
York Times, 05/31/2001,
The editors wrote: "Early this
month the Smithsonian Institution announced a $38 million gift
B. Reynolds Foundation
to create a permanent exhibition in the National Museum of American
History devoted to the lives of American achievers."
"Achievement is unquestionably good,
as is Ms. Reynolds's desire to motivate young people. Nonetheless,
this is a questionable
donation, representing the kind of gift-giving that can warp
an institution's priorities and professionalism. The gift will
force the Smithsonian to devote space and intellectual energy
to a permanent exhibit. But is this the kind of exhibit that
the Smithsonian's professional staff would have chosen if the
gift had come with no strings attached? If not, what is the curatorial
rationale for a permanent exhibit that seems to open the door
for commercial and corporate influence at one of the capital's
"Nothing could better dramatize
the current plight of the Smithsonian than the entangling quality
of this gift."
The editorial continued, "In an unusual
abdication of power by the museum, Ms. Reynolds's foundation,
contract with the Smithsonian, will
get to propose nominees for 10 of the 15 seats on the committee
that will select individuals to be featured in the exhibition. The
Smithsonian staff itself will nominate the remaining five. . . . Ms.
Reynold's nominees will have effective control of the selection
committee and thus
considerable influence over
the content of this permanent exhibition. This is one reason
a group of scholars and curators at the Museum of American History
complained to the Smithsonian's board that Mr. Small [the museum's
director] was jeopardizing the institution's integrity through
his relationships with private
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Must Exhibit Ingenuity in the Face of Overlapping Gifts,
Elaine Sciolino, New York Times, 08/06/2001,
In this article Ms. Sciolino wrote about
another incident at the national museum: "The
institution's National Museum of American History has accepted
that cover much
of the same ground and together take up about 10 percent of the
museum's exhibition space. The gifts come from two of the
museum's largest donors, so museum officials are now in the unusual
of trying to determine how to honor both contracts."
The article referred to the $38
pledge from the Catherine
B. Reynolds Foundation
(described above) and wrote that, "the museum and
its advisory board realized only belatedly that the project overlapped
one that was financed last year
with part of an $80 million gift from Kenneth E. Behring, a California
real estate developer. His was the largest gift in the
Smithsonian's history and followed a gift of $20 million he made
This article described how "About
$20 million of Mr. Behring's $80 million is to pay, this
for a 'thematic hall'
that will focus on 'American legends and legacies' and be 'a
tribute to deceased individuals who made great contributions
to our country and who truly epitomize the American spirit.'"
The Times then reported an incredible official
Selin, the chairman of the museum, said the museum did not
between the two exhibitions
until it was too late. 'The museum didn't accept the Reynolds
gift knowing that we had a conflict with the Behring gift,' he
said. 'Only as we looked into it did it become clear that
there was overlap and that the potential for duplication and
was high. We don't know how this is going to work out right now.'"
In the article the chairman explains that
the negotiations "were
by Lawrence M. Small,
the Smithsonian's secretary, and Sheila Burke, an under secretary,
with little input from the museum staff and its board".
The article described that "Some
charge that Mr.
Small has allowed wealthy donors to dictate the nature and content
of the museum's exhibitions. The museum, like the Smithsonian
as a whole receives 70 percent of its funds from Congress." Ms.
Sciolino wrote that there were professional concerns about the
"breach established standards of museum practice and professional
ethics" and that the
"Organization of American Historians has asked the regents to
with Ms. Reynolds,
calling reports about the role of private donors in shaping museum
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Smithsonian Director Resigns,
Elaine Sciolino, New York Times, 09/20/2001, p. F3.
In this article, Ms. Sciolino wrote that "Spencer
R. Crew, director of the Smithsonian Institutions' National
unexpectedly announced his
resignation today [9/19/01]."
She described that "He is the 4th
of the Smithsonian's 16 museum directors to resign or retire
Lawrence M. Small became secretary
of the institution, the world's largest museum and research complex."
The article noted that "he had complained
to colleagues that he had been left out of important negotiations
between Mr. Small and
donors. He was also said to be distressed
by what he and other directors characterized as a loss of autonomy
under Mr. Small."
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Now, an Exhibition From Our Sponsor,
Robin Pogrebin, New York Times, 08/23/2009, pp. AR1&21.
This article reported on the growing
incident of prepacked exhibitions of art
owned by banks as investments being used by museums in lieu of
them doing their own research.
The article described the issue:
"Since the 1960s, when Chase Manhattan Bank assembled one of
collections under the guidance of its president, David Rockefeller,
banks and other large companies have been acquiring fine art
as a way to give their offices a cultured, dignified aura. Over
time many companies have expanded these collections — with
in-house curators to oversee them — and lent works to museums
and other exhibiton spaces, mostly for marketing reasons."
The Times continued: "But a few corporations,
including JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and UBS,have occasionally
gone a step further, lending out complete shows. And Bank
of America has lately gone further still, creating a roster of
ready-made shows that it provides to museums at a nominal cost
to them — essentially turn key exhibitions.
Since 2007 these corporate names appear frequently
in the news regarding taxpayer bailouts and/or lawsuits.
This is a long, detailed, and urgently important
article for anyone concerned about the interaction of commerce
and art museums. Reading it, there are several things
to keep in mind which are not emphasized in the article.
First, the sole and overarching activity of
these financial institutions is to "grow" their
wealth, and everything else is secondary at best. Their
art collections are multimillion dollar investments which the
fully intend to
interest for them. This primary focus for these banks
didn't really come across in this article.
Second, art museums enjoy considerable financial
support from taxpayers to serve the public. They are not
supported by the public to help generate profitable interest
for the assests bought, sold, and otherwise manipulated by private
investment and commercial banks.
Third, many of these very same financial institutions
have recently sought enormous financial bailouts from the
sued by the federal government. And while their inexpensive
pre-curated exhibitions might seem to be a generous offer,
the financial crisis they have caused this decade and the subsequent
and the multi-billion dollar bailouts are major reasons
why cultural and educational institutions like art museums
Ms. Pogrebin gathered a wide spectrum of views
in her article. Some
views expressed caution and concern about what is promoted as
a helpful opportunity for financially stressed art museums. Some
views expressed delight if the acceptance and use by art museums
of the prepackaged exhibitions resulted in the work's increase
market value for the financial institutions owning the work.
The article focused primarily on the question
of curatorial control, which of course was a major issue regarding
the earlier scandals with "Sensation" at the Brooklyn
Museum and donations with conditions at the Smithsonian. With
these prepackaged exhibitions, the curators are the investment
and commercial banks, and not the art museums. All the
art museums do is provide the temporary housing.
What are the academic research guidelines and
research ethics underlying the curatorial selection and explication
art research and art exhibitions. The Times articles didn't
Time and time again, financial and commercial
considerations seem to be the
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Standards Set for Museums, Irvin Molotsky, New
York Times, 11/17/2001, pp. A15, 21.
In August 2000, the American Association
of Museums issued its "New Ethical Guidelines." But
the controversies in the museum world grew so
great, that the AAM issued additional
Mr. Molotsky reported that "Concerned
about public perceptions that museums and other nonprofit
are not operating
under the highest ethical
standards in their relations with the businesses on which they
increasingly rely, the American Association of Museums issued
a set of guidelines today and asked its members to follow them."
The Times wrote that "'The whole point
of the guidelines,' said Edward H. Able, the association's
the public has taken for
granted in the behavior and ethics of nonprofits. They
want to know that nonprofits are operating in an ethical and
The article highlighted a very important reality: "One
person who participated in the issuance of the guidelines said: 'The
situation between museums and businesses has become
more complex. It is less and less straightforward philanthropy
but, rather, more out of the marketing departments, which have
direct, specific goals.'" Again this raised concerns
about the absence of transparency in how museums conduct the research
they claim underlies their opinions and decisions.
The Times continued, "Asked
why there seemed to have been an increase in ethical breaches
Mr. Able said, 'Many of their actions
have occurred out of naïveté or failure to think
through a situation.'"
contemporary art receives in academic and curatorial research
seems to have significant parallels with commercial market
prices. Serious complaints about this, as well as professional
acknowledgements of this, have been reported in the news.
There is little
open dialogue about recommended guidelines in academic research
and little transparency. The next Tab includes
references to other professional fields where ethical discussions