Iowa may force museum to cash in Pollock: Update | Rock Candy

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Iowa may force museum to cash in Pollock: Update

Posted By on Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 9:09 AM

University of Iowas Pollock, Mural
  • University of Iowa's Pollock, "Mural"

The legislature in Iowa hasn't been paying much attention to the controversy over institutions selling art to stay afloat — Fisk University in Tennessee being the one get the most notice here, because of Alice Walton's offer of $30 million for a half share in its collection. The arrangement is still in litigation.

The Daily Iowan reports that lawmakers are considering a bill that would force the University of Iowa to sell a Jackson Pollock it owns to raise money for scholarships. The painting, "Mural," a gift to the museum from Peggy Guggenheim, once hung in the University of Iowa Museum of Art but was moved after flooding destroyed a lot of the arts campus; it's worth is $140 million, the UI says.

Hell, if a museum's holdings are nothing but saleable objects, why not sell all 12,000 works in the collection? The Iowa legislature will be hearing from the American Association of Museums soon, if not already, I guess.

Let's hope the Arkansas legislature doesn't decide this is a good idea and ransack the U of A's art holdings.

UPDATE: Culturegrrl reports on the AAM and AAMD (Association of Art Museum Directors) reaction:

Such a sale would violate a fundamental ethical principle of the museum field, one which all accredited museums are bound to respect: that an accessioned work of art may not be treated as a disposable financial asset.

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