The New York Times website updates frequently, and items get pushed off the main page about as quickly as they’re put on, but right now the lead story is about our beloved Rose museum. Here is a link. Click it.

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It’s now fairly clear that if we go through with this, we will destroy our reputation in the art world forever. Nobody who seriously cares about art will have anything but sheer contempt for our University. Now, I’m still undecided on the issue, and perhaps sacrificing the respect of the art community is the price we have to pay. But if we think we can pull of such a brash move with no consequences from the outside world, we’re deluding ourselves.The most interesting thing about the Times article (which is generally a well-done, comprehensive piece) is that there could be extensive legal problems. We suspected this, but the attorney general’s office has confirmed that the process is expected to be “lengthy”:

“…the attorney general would review wills and agreements made between the museum and the estates of donors to determine if selling artworks violated the terms of donations. “We have not yet offered any opinion on any aspect of the proposed sales,” she said, adding, “We do expect this to be a lengthy process.”Dennis Nealon, a spokesman for the university, said it would have no comment on any legal questions related to the proposed closing and the sale of the art… In 2005 Fisk University in Nashville moved to sell paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley to bolster its finances, but was blocked from doing so by a court that determined that the sale would violate the terms of O’Keeffe’s gift of the two works to the institution. Fisk has appealed. In 2007, Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va., sold a Rufino Tamayo painting and proposed selling three other works to raise money for its endowment. The museum’s director, Karol Lawson, compared the experience to a mugging and resigned.”

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4 comments on “Rose Art on the main page of the NY Times Website”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Just to be clear, this story is one of two in two different sections on the main page. There is an article in the Education section, and another article in the Arts section.

  2. nate zuckerman Says:

    Based upon a nodding acquaintence with Brandeis, I note the following:
    1. Even the mere mention of this sale has cost Brandeis much in its reputation. Why would a parent with a bright kid send that child to a school publicly acknowledging that it is in deep financial trouble?
    2. Housing on campus for students has been for years deplorable…little or nothing done to make living more attractive, from what I have seen.
    3. A short time ago, faculty debated whether to give back a percentage of their salaries to help out the school. (My view: dumb move…UConn did this and then the school later turned around and asked for more!)..but administrators somehow did not see fit to give back or offer to.
    4. Usually you get on Board of Trustees because you are a celebrity…with money. Where are they now? Are they giving or just selling the art collection?
    5. I wish you well. Many schools have lost bundles of money because of the state of the economy and how it has affected endowment investments. And then there are those who, perhaps, have been generous in the past but are currently victims of Mr Made Off Ponzi.
    6. Suggestion: try (like Alfred) to go semi-public and have a relationship to public funding,though of course states are in trouble. But then you can ask for federal bailout.

  3. Jay Bergman Says:

    The folks at Brandeis who are responsible for this particular idiocy are the same ones who two years ago flagrantly violated the rights of Professor Donald Hindley, who was harrassed in a variety of ways simply for explaining to his students the origins of the term “wetback.” If President Reinharz had a shred of integrity and courage — which he clearly does not — he would have fired Provost Krauss — the person most responsible for this monstrosity. Ironic, isn’t it, that a professor’s freedom of speech should be violated at a university named for one of its most eloquent champions?. Nat Hentoff, formerly of the Village Voice, wrote a column on this matter that was scathing in its criticism of Brandeis.

  4. nate zuckerman Says:

    today: keep the art and dump the museum. And tomorrow? Brandeis seems adrift and going with whatever reaction seems to be blowing in the wind.

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