College Art Association

CAA News Today

The American Alliance of Museums sent the following email on March 25, 2014.

Office of Museum Services Funding Letters–Deadlines Extended to Friday, March 28

Important Update: The deadlines for legislators to sign the Tonko/Lance/Slaughter/Grimm and Gillibrand/Blunt Office of Museum Services appropriations letters have been extended until THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 28. We need to redouble our efforts in the next few days to make sure every Representative and Senator hears from the museums they represent, asking them to sign on to these important funding letters.

As we have shared in recent Alliance Advocacy Alerts, these six champions are circulating letters among their colleagues in the House and Senate in support of funding for museums nationwide through the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Current HOUSE Letter Signers: Tonko (NY), Lance (NJ), Slaughter (NY), Grimm (NY), Titus (NV), Yarmuth (KY), Pocan (WI), Sablan (MP), McGovern (MA), Ruppersberger (MD), Levin (MI), Tsongas (MA), Clarke (NY), Danny Davis (IL), Hastings (FL), Schneider (IL), Neal (MA), Lofgren (CA), Blumenauer (OR), Pingree (ME), Michaud (ME), Tierney (MA), Braley (IA), McNerney (CA), Norton (DC), Rangel (NY), Cicilline (RI), Christensen (VI), Langevin (RI), Swalwell (CA), Shea-Porter (NH), McCollum (MN), Holt (NJ), Deutch (FL), Moran (VA), Grijalva (AZ), Wilson (FL), Luján (NM), Bonamici (OR), Gutierrez (IL), Higgins (NY), Lipinski (IL), Matsui (CA), Loretta Sanchez (CA), McKinley (WV), Courtney (CT), Cummings (MD), Carson (IN), McDermott (WA), Beatty (OH), Schakowsky (IL), Doggett (TX), Hinojosa (AZ), Gabbard (HI), Clay (MO), Bishop (NY), Connolly (VA), Nadler (NY), Castor (FL), Ellison (MN), Pascrell (NJ), Johnson (GA), Kuster (NH), Capps (CA), Dingell (MI), Linda Sanchez (CA) and Payne (NJ)

Current SENATE Letter Signers: Gillibrand (NY), Blunt (MO), Hirono (HI), Coons (DE), Leahy (VT), Blumenthal (CT), Stabenow (MI), Schumer (NY), Johnson (SD), King (ME), Cardin (MD), Sanders (VT) and Heinrich (NM)

If any of your legislators are NOT yet on these lists, please contact your Representative and Senators TODAY and ask them to please sign the letter supporting museum funding through the Office of Museum Services. You can use our Legislator Look-Up to identify your Representative and Senators.

If they have already signed on, please say THANK YOU.

You can call the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to be connected to your legislators’ offices.

You can also thank them on Facebook and Twitter, and find your legislators’ Facebook pages and Twitter handles in their profiles in our online Directory.

Thank you for taking action on this important, and time-sensitive, issue!

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) sent the following email on March 19, 2014

Senate Museum Funding Push is Now Bipartisan; Tell Your Senators to Join the Effort

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) are now circulating a bipartisan letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding in FY 2015 for the Office of Museum Services (OMS) at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This is the fifth year that Senator Gillibrand has led this effort, but the first time Senator Blunt will co-lead the letter.

The deadline for Senators to sign on to this letter is March 25, 2014.

The Office of Museum Services is receiving $30.1 million this year, well below its authorized level of $38.6 million. The Gillibrand/Blunt letter is your Senators’ chance to go on record in support of museum funding, so ask them to sign on today!

“Following visits from his constituents during Museums Advocacy Day, Senator Blunt decided to co-lead this letter with Senator Gillibrand, making it a bipartisan effort and demonstrating the value of our field-wide efforts in Washington, D.C.,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “I applaud Senators Gillibrand and Blunt for their leadership in supporting museums nationwide. We are especially thrilled that Senator Blunt has joined the cause this year; museums in Missouri should be proud to have such a responsive museum champion in Congress.”

Last year, you contacted legislators in record numbers and you made a real difference: a record-breaking number of Senators signed the letter supporting funding for the IMLS Office of Museum Services. Keep that momentum going by contacting your Senators now.

Thank you for acting on this important issue!

AAMD Provenance Workshops

posted by February 25, 2014

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) will cosponsor two provenance workshops this spring: one in Seattle, Washington, and another in Washington, DC.

Seattle

This workshop will be held on May 18, 2014, in conjunction with the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries’s annual conference in Seattle. The workshop will review best practices for conducting provenance research in art museums, with a focus on Nazi-era provenance, as well as issues pertaining to antiquities and cultural property. The session is geared to all levels of experience and can serve as a how-to and a refresher. The workshop leaders will discuss due diligence and the acquisition process, online research tools, and the handling of restitution claims. The workshop is limited to fifty participants; ample time will be allotted for Q&A.

Victoria Reed, curator for provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Nancy H. Yeide, head of the Department of Curatorial Records at the National Gallery of Art, will conduct the half-day workshop, which will be held at the Hotel Deca in Seattle. Each participant will receive a copy of Yeide’s book Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering Collection (2009), which is the first biography to focus on Hermann Goering’s personal collection and provides the first opportunity since the war to look at the collection as a whole and evaluate its place within art collecting and politics. This carefully documented volume is critical to the clarification of provenances of the objects featured and brings to light pictures whose histories and whereabouts have been hidden for decades.

Registration is available at www.aamg-us.org/registration; scroll down to “Sunday Morning Workshops.”

Washington, DC

In cooperation with the National Archives and Records Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Alliance of Museums, AAMD will sponsor a workshop for advanced researchers following the success of a two-day, Nazi-era provenance seminar that was held in 2011. Taking place at the National Archives on June 17, 2014, this workshop is limited to thirty participants who are experienced researchers working in museums. The event will provide a hands-on workshop on using new and updated online provenance research resources. Registration will include a copy of Holocaust-Era Assets, a Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park.

Nancy H. Yeide, head of the Department of Curatorial Records at the National Gallery of Art, and Chris Naylor, director of textual records for the National Archives, will lead the one-day workshop, which will be accompanied by an introduction to new materials at the Archives of American Art led by Marisa Bourgoin, chief of reference services for the Archives of American Art, and Laurie Stein, senior provenance advisor for the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative.

The cosponsors for the DC seminar express grateful appreciation to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for support to defray expenses for workshop participants.

To apply for registration go and to learn more about Kress grants, visit the AAMD website.

Filed under: Museums and Galleries, Workshops

The College Art Association endorses the deaccessioning policies of the American Association of Museums and Association of Art Museum Directors. These mandate that once a museum approves the serious step of a sale of works from its holdings, those proceeds be put toward the collection and not toward institutional operating costs. The recent sale of the George Bellows painting Men of the Docks from the Maier Museum at Randolph College violates these principles. CAA supports the AAMD censure of the Maier Museum at Randolph College and expresses its regret that Randolph College has compromised the educational and cultural mission of the museum by treating its collection as a fungible asset rather than as a vital part of the institution’s artistic heritage, held in trust for its students and the community.

Filed under: Advocacy, Museums and Galleries

Furthermore and Joan K. Davidson, the grants in publishing program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund is pleased to present the inaugural Alice award to the Brooklyn Museum for Youth and Beauty Art of the American Twenties, edited by Teresa A. Carbone and published by Skira Rizzoli Publishing. Awarded in honor of Alice M. Kaplan, the prize recognizes this book’s fresh approach to and keen analysis of its subject and for its general excellence. The Alice was presented to the Brooklyn Museum on October 29, 2013, at the Morgan Library and Museum.

The jury comprised: Paula Cooper of Paula Cooper Gallery; William M. Griswold, director of the Morgan Library and Museum; Gianfranco Monacelli, publisher of Monacelli Press; Jock Reynolds, director of the Yale University Art Gallery; and Massimo Vignelli of Vignelli Associates.

The Alice was established in 2013 by Joan K. Davidson, president of Furthermore, to honor her mother, Alice Manheim Kaplan. Alice loved and collected the illustrated book as a work of art in itself and an essential document of a civilized society. This new award is intended to buttress the kind of slow reading movement that recognizes and cherishes the lasting values of the well-made illustrated book, and the special sense of intimacy it affords. In the fast-changing publishing universe, with its ever rising costs, the continuing life of high-quality printed books will depend upon the determined commitment of writers, editors, designers, and publishers, and their friends. The Alice is dedicated to that heroic commitment and the accomplished books that result from it.

The launching of the award also marks Furthermore’s record so far of financial assistance to some one thousand publications, for a total of $5 million. The Alice carries an award of $25,000. Each year a jury of leaders in publishing and the arts will select the Alice book from the hundreds of eligible titles that have been honored with a grant from Furthermore.

Furthermore grants in publishing is a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund that supports the publication of significant visual books—and will help to keep them coming in the years ahead. For information on the Alice, please contact Elizabeth Howard at 917-692-8588.

The panel discussion on the sale of the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presented on October 24th in New York City and organized by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) raised many of the issues that characteristically surround a major art museum situated and owned by an economically ailing major city: economic necessity and the economic divide; the professional responsibilities of the state, the city, and the museum staff and board; the test of the concept of works of art held in the public trust; the politics of a Republican governor and a liberal African American city; moral responsibilities of museums and their communities; the nature of the intent of art donors and the future of gifts to museums; and the expectation that major donors and foundations should solve the city’s bankrupt state.  The speakers were Graham Beal, Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts; Sam Sachs, former director of the Detroit Institute of Arts and President of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Frank Robinson, retired Director, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University; and Richard Levin, Partner & Head of Restructuring Practice, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

The DIA has become the central issue in the media of the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy. The museum’s rocky economic history with the city and the state was presented by past director Sam Sachs. The museum was founded in 1885 by a group of private citizens called the Founders Society. As early as 1919 the Founders merged with the City by ceding the collections in return for city-supported maintenance. Over the years the city support decreased and the Founders sought assistance from the state. That support reached a high point of $17 million in 1985. By 1991 the state support was cut in half. In 1997 the museum was reprivatized so that the city retained the collections that were supported through city funds but most other support was provided by the Founders Society.

The irony of this present controversy is that the DIA has never been in better fiscal shape nor has its audience, thanks to new educational initiatives, been so diverse. The DIA raised $360 million in the past few years and in 2012 three suburban counties adjacent to Detroit approved a tax to support the operating costs of the museum for the next 10 years. However, the counties have already publicly stated that they would withdraw this support if the DIA’s collection is sold. According to Beal, this would essentially cause the closure of the museum.

The museum director, board members, administrative staff and lawyer have been prevented from meeting with the governor, the emergency manager or the attorney general of Michigan, who has already issued the decision that the DIA is a public trust and cannot be sold. A proposal to shift the ownership of the DIA from the city to the state has been blocked by the state legislature. Thus, the DIA leaders have been, as Beal said, “treated with disdain” by those in political power and have had to rely on the media and hearsay for information. The only contact they have had with the emergency manager’s office was his request for an inventory of the collections. When the DIA complied with a 1,640-page list of objects in the collection (using 10-point type and single-spaced formatting) the emergency manager’s office realized the complexity of the issue.

The DIA legal counsel, Richard Levin, made it clear that, according to municipal bankruptcy law, the state, not the federal government, has authority. In this case, the governor of Michigan appointed an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to oversee the city’s finances; he is the sole decision-maker on the preparation of a plan to sell assets, pay creditors and bring the city back to solvency. The current court case in the Eastern District Court of Michigan that was brought by the unions and pension fund managers questions the validity of declaring bankruptcy in the first place. The governor, attorney general and emergency manager will be called to testify. Levin emphasized that municipal bankruptcy proceedings usually go into settlements and that the settlements take so long that, “the patient usually dies on the operating table,” and as Beal stated, “a dead DIA is exactly the opposite of putting the city back on a good course.” The Oakland County manager, Brooks Patterson, told Beal that in order to attract corporations and investors to their county in competition with other major cities like Boston and Chicago, he talks about the one asset that downtown has, which is the DIA.

In the meantime, Christie’s appraisers continue to assign dollar values to works of art at the DIA. Their work will be completed soon. The accuracy of their valuation was questioned by an audience member, given the fact that many of the masterworks have not changed hands in many generations and there are no comparable figures to rely on. And the concept of a swift auction of hundreds, if not thousands, of works of art is unrealistic. Ultimately, the proceeds from such a sale would satisfy only a small percentage of the city’s debt.

Audience members asked what they could do to assist the situation. The petition that originated with Jeffrey Hamburger at Harvard University still is being circulated and IFAR asked that people sign it. CAA has circulated this electronic petition to members and it remains on the CAA website for those interested in signing it. Beal would prefer to absent the DIA from the center of this controversy since there are several other possibilities of relieving the city’s debt. The last rumor that Beal heard was that the emergency manager has taken the collections off the bankruptcy table.  Meanwhile the work of a great museum continues.

Correction

Graham W. J. Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, wrote that Gene Gargaro, the DIA’s chair of the board, has had three meetings with the emergency manager’s lawyer and the restructuring specialist. The first meeting was with Gargaro alone, the second with Beal and the museum’s top attorney, and the third with the DIA’s chief operating officer, top lawyer, and bankruptcy adviser (panelist Rich Levin). The tenor of the meetings was driven by the emergency manager’s people’s persistent demand that DIA come up with about $500 million.

The Opening Reception for the 2014 Annual Conference will take place in the Art Institute of Chicago’s recently inaugurated Modern Wing on Wednesday evening, February 12, from 7:00 to 9:30 PM. Designed by the Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano, this stunning addition to the venerable institution provides a new home for the museum’s renowned collection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art.

Tickets are required for admission and cost $35 for members and $45 for nonmembers. Availability is limited; please purchase your ticket online by January 10, 2014. Tickets will not be sold at the door at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Image Caption

The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago during the reception for the CAA Annual Conference in 2010 (photograph by Bradley Marks).

The Executive Committee of the CAA Board of Directors has agreed to promote this petition, initiated by Jeffrey Hamburger of Harvard University, regarding the potential sale of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

On May 28, 2013, CAA published an open letter to Kevyn Orr, emergency manager of the city of Detroit, to express concern over the future of the museum’s excellent collection of visual art.

An Open Letter to:

Mr. Kevyn Orr, Emergency Manager
City of Detroit
2 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226

Dear Mr. Orr:

On behalf of the College Art Association that represents over 14,000 art historians, artists, curators, art educators and art conservators we express our shock and concern upon reading The Detroit Free Press article today, “DIA’s Collection Could Face Sell-Off to Satisfy Detroit’s Creditors.”

The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the greatest art museums in the country that represents the finest creative achievements throughout the history of the world. The DIA is not only a great treasure but one of the very few places in Detroit where all people can enjoy, contemplate and study art and its many related concepts. The DIA has developed itself as a public educational institution and has been a leader in the profession at engaging with all segments of the community.

The CAA adheres to the principle that public art museums are held in the public trust and as such are to be protected for the public good. It also supports the Alliance of Museums Code of Ethics and the Association of Art Museum Directors’ Policy on Deaccessioning that states that the sale of art museum collections to support operating expenses is unethical.

We appeal to your higher judgment in assessing the true value of the DIA and its critical role for the public good of the city, state and the country in deliberating on the future of this great collection.

Sincerely yours,

Anne Collins Goodyear
President


Linda Downs
Executive Director

August Update

On August 26, 2013, the Executive Committee of the CAA Board of Directors has agreed to promote this petition, initiated by Jeffrey Hamburger of Harvard University, regarding the potential sale of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Sequestration: What It Means for Museums

posted by March 05, 2013

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) sent the following email on March 5, 2013.

Sequestration: What It Means for Museums

On Friday, March 1, $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts were triggered, a process commonly called “sequestration,” which is now affecting nearly every agency throughout the government. For most agencies that support museums, (including IMLS, NEA, NEH and NSF) this means a five percent cut in their annual funding, including a reduction in grant-making activities for the year ahead.

While Congress may still undo or restructure sequestration, federal agencies are now determining how to absorb these severe cuts. The National Endowment for the Humanities expects to make fewer new awards at lower award amounts. The National Science Foundation is expecting to award 1,000 fewer new research grants.

“The Alliance will continue to fight for federal museum funding in the days and weeks ahead, but we must be sure the current decrease in federal grants is not compounded by a reduction in charitable giving incentives,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. “I was pleased to submit testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee last month, but members of Congress also need to hear from their constituents about how charitable giving limitations would affect museums.”

While Congress’s inability to reach agreement on spending issues has complicated and slowed the federal budget process this year, interest is also picking up on comprehensive tax reform. The House committee with jurisdiction over the tax code held a hearing on February 14 on proposals to reform charitable contribution tax incentives, many of which could have a devastating impact on giving to museums and other nonprofits.

Do your legislators know how important charitable giving is to your museum? Tell them right now.

P.S. If you appreciate these Advocacy Alerts, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our year-round advocacy efforts.