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realpolitik at the bmfa

Post #343 • August 11, 2004, 6:52 AM • 1 Comment

Remember that flap about the Monets from the Boston MFA going to Las Vegas? After hemming and hawing about it I decided that no real harm had been done and that the Association of Art Museum Directors guidelines were too vague to stand up to bad faith. Well, recently it all hit the fan. Jason Edward Kaufman for the Art Newspaper: Casino loan earns Boston unwelcome attention: The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is being challenged for renting 21 Monets to a casino gallery in Las Vegas.

The AAMD is concerned that commercial initiatives such as this could jeopardise the not-for-profit status of museums in the US and the directors' organisation is now moving towards self-reform before tax-hungry legislators target museums and end their tax-exempt status. The AAMD guidelines stipulate that "In any decision about a proposed loan from the collection, the intellectual merit and educational benefits, as well as the protection of the work of art, must be the primary considerations, rather than possible financial gain." The MFA Monet exhibition was conceived by PaceWildenstein president Marc Glimcher, whose wife Andrea Bundonis heads Paperball, and the gallery wrote and produced all of the exhibition materials, with MFA approval.

It's a game of brinksmanship - see how much free-marketeering you can get away with before the government decides that you're violating the interests of the people. There's got to be a better way.




August 11, 2004, 8:38 PM

This whole business smelled bad from the word go, and the BMFA should have known better, but as one Roman emperor retorted when people complained about a tax on latrines, "Pecunia non olet" (money has no smell).



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