The top guy at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, than which there is no whicher in the museum world, has come out for managing museums’ multi-billion-dollar art collections as productive assets. He wants more engagement, in more places, than their current practice of having almost all the art (i) in storage (ii) in the museum the works were first given to.
…one should de-accession rigorously in order to either acquire more important works of art or build endowments to support programming [emphasis added]….It doesn’t benefit anyone when there are millions of works of art that are languishing in storage….we would be far better off, in my opinion, allowing others to have those works of art that might enjoy them, but even more importantly, converting that [wealth] to…support public programs, exhibitions, publications.
I argued a couple of years ago that art museum managers had nailed their feet to the floor by a code of “ethics” that forbade selling for anything except buying more art, and an inexplicable practice of not telling us what their collections are worth while they beg for donations. Lowry is moving in the right direction and will make real waves among his peers.