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The Rose family speaks to Brandeis University--UPDATED

March 16, 2009 | 12:09 pm

Lichtenstein_2 Just about everyone has been heard from on Brandeis University's radical plan to close its Rose Art Museum and sell all or part of the collection -- except, that is, for the Rose family, benefactors after whom the small but adventurous museum is named. That will change tonight.

At the start of an all-star symposium about the scheme, Meryl Rose, a museum board member and spokesperson for more than 50 family members, will read the Rose family's first public statement.

The symposium, "Preserving Trust: Art and the Art Museum Amidst Financial Crisis," begins at 6:30 p.m. EDT (3:30 p.m. PDT) and will be webcast live. Watch it here.

UPDATE: The Rose family's statement is after the jump.

-- Christopher Knight

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


    We speak on behalf of over 50 living members of the Rose Family. The current Brandeis University administration intends to close the Edward and Bertha C. Rose Art Museum, and to sell the art works in its renowned collection.

    We Object.

    We urge the current university president and the trustees to restore the use, budget, staffing,and activities of the Rose Art Museum until a final decision is issued by a court.

    The university is effectively closing the museum before the Attorney General or any court has ruled that closing is allowed. This is being accomplished not only by a premature announcement of closure, but also by withholding the Rose's own money---and cutting its staff, resources, and activities.

    "Re-purposing" the museum is closing by another name. It would not be the Rose. Any other understanding of the university's current plan is disinformation. The administration wants to control money given to the Rose for museum purposes, to sell precious works of art, and to close the museum.

    We Object.

    We, the Rose Family, protest the plundering of the Rose Art Museum and its collection. Ed and Bertha Rose not only funded the planning and construction of the museum, but also set up three funds, separate from the Brandeis endowment, to perpetuate the Museum: the Rose Maintenance Fund, the Rose Museum Endowment Fund, and the Rose Endowed Purchase Fund. The existence and mission of the Rose benefit art, culture and education---locally and worldwide. The Rose offers students and the public a prized modern and contemporary art collection.

    The art has been put on the auction block. The museum has been put on the chopping block.

    We Object.

    We seek:

    1. Immediate renewal of contracts with the Museum Director and all his staff. Those salaries are paid from dedicated funds donated to or raised by the Museum---not from the general budget of Brandeis.

    2. Authorization for the Director to prepare and install the next exhibit, to open when the Hans Hofmann exhibit comes down in May. Otherwise, the walls will be bare and there will be no exhibitions. Brandeis will have effectively closed the Rose Art Museum.

    3. A promise that Brandeis will not sell any art belonging to the Rose.

    4. A commitment that Brandeis will honor the donors' intentions that there be a public art
    museum at Brandeis, and the Rose is that museum.

    The museum is not for closing; the art is not for sale.