College Art Association

CAA News Today

Geoff Edgers and Peter Schworm of the Boston Globe reported yesterday that Brandeis University, a private research university in Waltham, Massachussets, plans to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its collection of modern and contemporary masterworks. The measure to shutter the museum, which was founded in 1961, in late summer 2009 is one of several drastic decisions the school is making as it faces a budget deficit of several million over the next couple years.

The school’s website boasts that the museum “houses what is widely recognized as the finest collection of modern and contemporary art in New England. With more than 6,000 objects—paintings, sculptures, works on paper and new media—the Rose collection has particular strengths in American Modernism, American Social Realism, post-War American, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Surrealism and Photorealism.”

“The decision to shut the museum,” writes Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed, “runs directly counter to the ethics codes of art and museum associations, which permit the sale of art donated for a museum only for the purchase of additional art, not to be shifted to other purposes.” The Association of College and University Museums and Galleries, a CAA affilated society, has already spoken out opposing the closure.

Relatedly, Inside Higher Ed also reports on shrinking college and university endowments.