Matthew Barney, Cremaster 3, production still
Two quotes from the day on the subject of shuttering The Rose Art Museum:
John Lisman, a biology professor working at Brandeis for over 30 years told the globe this morning,
“To give away a family heirloom is a really painful thing,” he said yesterday. “But the overall question is, to ensure the long-term health of the university, what do you do? Maybe you just reduce every department by a third. Do you think leaving every academic weakened is a better option than the Rose option?”
Yes. There’s a reason this art is so valuable; some of it has to do with auction and market structures, but most of it lies in its power and eloquence of expression. Art like this doesn’t just randomly end up in museums, its bestowed upon those who we trust will take care of the objects we most valuable to the culture. While I’m sensitive to the financial distress of the University, this couldn’t be a worse path to follow.
Meanwhile, Tyler Green on the subject of the Rose Art Museum has this to say:
Reinharz also told NPR: “That’s the other problem. Many students have parents who lost their jobs or who are unable to pay their tuition.” Great, so Reinharz has shifted the burden of responsibility for the university’s financial situation and its choice to sell its art collection to the newly jobless. That’s somewhere between callous and despicable.”
For the record, I think describing Reinharz’ concerns for students who can’t pay their bills as callous and despicable is overstating the matter. Clearly there’s a difference of opinion about the decisions being made — Green and I stand on the same side of the fence on this — but there’s no reason to describe the concerns of the University as though they were completely grotesque.
Meanwhile, it turns out the museum might not deaccession everything after all. It’s very confusing. On that note, perhaps someone can explain why the University was legally advised to shutter the Rose Art Museum in the first place. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s curious about this.