Update: from NYT
the university’s trustees voted unanimously to trash the institution by closing it and auctioning off the 6,000 works in its collection. The action came without consulting either the museum’s own board of governors or its director, Michael Rush.
The rationale, given by Brandeis, was the university’s dire financial straits: a 25 percent decline in its endowment, a $10 million deficit on this year’s budget and the reality that fund-raising will falter because of the market’s skid.
The outcry in the art world was also fast and furious, with more than a few people noting that the rapidly sinking art market made this an idiotic time to sell art.
The Rose Art Museum
The permanent collection of The Rose Art Museum is internationally recognized for its quality and comprehensiveness. The collection numbers over 8,000 objects and is particularly strong in American art of the 1960s and 1970s. In line with seminal acquisitions of works by Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Morris Louis, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol in the ’60s,From the Brandeis press release:
With vote to close art museum, Brandeis emphasizes commitment to students, research and academic mission
Jan. 27, 2009
WALTHAM, Mass., Jan. 26, 2009 -- Brandeis University’s Board of Trustees today voted unanimously to close the Rose Art Museum as part of a campus-wide effort to preserve the university’s educational mission in the face of the historic economic recession and financial crisis. Board members stressed that the museum decision will not alter the university’s commitment to the arts and the teaching of the arts.
from Shelley Esaak:
1. I am floored by the seeming lack of conscious irony throughout the press release. How could a decision to close an art museum AND sell its collection of over 8,000 items "not alter the university’s commitment to the arts and the teaching of the arts"?
2. They'd better have some damned good lawyers to secure those "necessary legal approvals." If I had donated *restricted* gifts and/or endowment funds and/or most of the money towards building a wing in the Museum at any time within the past 48 years, I'd be on the phone with my lawyers right about now.
The Petition Against the Closing