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Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum committee ducks the tough question

September 23, 2009 | 11:45 am

Lichtenstein edited

Brandeis University's Committee on the Future of the Rose Art Museum has publicly released its final report, commissioned in the wake of widespread complaints about the school's shocking plan to shutter the small but distinguished museum outside Boston and sell all or part of its remarkable contemporary art collection to raise funds. A short interim report had been issued in May. The final study is likewise brief -- just 27 pages -- and you can read it here.

Really, there's not much reason to bother. It includes a lot of blah-blah-blah about retooling the place as an integral feature of campus academic life. But here's the take-away from today's Boston Globe: "[The report] does not take a stand on the most controversial part of Brandeis’s plan, the potential sale of its $350 million collection."

The university's administration had long since backtracked on quick implementation of the cataclysmic scheme, approved by trustees last January following a precipitous drop in the school's endowment funds. Statements were issued, probably to cool outrage and temper a looming public relations disaster, that the museum building could be used as an art-study center and that no works would be sold immediately.

Now, the Brandeis administration's handpicked committee charged with thinking hard about the future of the Rose has essentially put the backtrack in writing. Imagine my surprise.

-- Christopher Knight

Photo: Roy Lichtenstein's "Forget it! Forget me!" (1962), Rose Art Museum. Credit: Christopher Knight / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (3)

The saddest thing about the report is that it couldn't even face the tough question. Yes we all know that "this is a decision that lies solely with Brandeis's Board of Trustees," but the committee could have at least imagined what the future of the museum would look like if (or when) the trustees decide to start pawning off the most valuable works. How big a blow would it be for the prestige of the Rose? Is there even a future for the Rose as a museum, rather than a "museum", once that happens?

Dump the contempt stuff, its prices are plummeting forever, as reflecting its true worth. Fashionable art world commodity, rather than creative art that reflects humanity. It is for, by, and about the rich and their selfg absorbed,stale minds, anorexic bodies, and withered souls. Who cares? Sell it, and buy some decent stuff. The Rose never had much of a real rep anyway, no one went but out of touch academics anyway.

art collegia delenda est


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