curiousartarticles

OCMA Deaccessioning controversy

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 what the LA Times blog calls the “deaccessioning merry-go-round.”

Here’s what happened: OCMA recently sold 18 of its early 20th century paintings to a private seller, claiming that the paintings “no longer fit OCMA’s focus” because in 2003, the museum shifted focus to art created after 1950. The museum also announced that no other works will be sold despite still owning many substantial Californian works of art before 1950. This inconsistency raises many questions. Why were the 18 paintings sold, and what really is the museum’s standard?

Agnes Pelton's 1929 painting, The Guide, still a part of OCMA's collection

Agnes Pelton's 1929 painting, The Guide, still a part of OCMA's collection

The LA Times describes the “deaccessioning merry-go-round” that involved another controversial sale of 29 Paul Outerbridge’sphotographs back in the 1990s that caused the merger of Laguna Art Museum and Newport Harbor Art Museum with OCMA, after which the museum changed its focus. So what will become of the money from the sale and the paintings that don’t fit the museum’s focus? Stay tuned.

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