The Brodsky Bill and its effect on the sale of art

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 at 10:56 pm

According to the New York Times, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, along with Senator José M. Serrano, the State Board of Regents, and the Museum Association of New York, recently drafted a bill that would strictly regulate the deaccessioning of collections. Essentially, the bill would prohibit selling of works of art in order to pay for extraneous or operating expenses. Mr. Brodsky explains in the case of the Metropolitan Opera’s murals, “You can’t sell off a Chagall in order to put on a performance of ‘Don Giovanni.’” Or in the case of the Museum of Natural History, he adds, “You can’t sell off ‘The Bulls and the Bears in the Market’ in order to pay for air conditioning.” Brodsky’s intention behind the bill is to protect public interest. The bill is now working its way through the Legislature.

Though the bill was supported by prominent organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and Wildlife Conservation Society, the bill is also receiving much criticism from numerous museums that are feeling enormous strain from the economic downturn. Among the protesters of the bill: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. So why are these museum giants protesting a bill that is supposed to protect our interests?

These cultural organizations fear that the bill would restrict their ability to fully curate their collection. In addition, they view the bill to be too general as it doesn’t allow exceptions that may arise from different financial situations.

It remains unclear whether the bill would receive enough support to be put in affect, though the debate continues. In times of hardship, shouldn’t museums be allowed to take necessary actions to stay afloat? Stay tuned to find out whether the future of these museum giants will be affected.

  1. […] In Uncategorized on July 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Brodsky Bill and its effect on deaccessioning collections. In a similar case, The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) is causing a stir by being trapped in […]

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