New York Board of Regents Form 16-Member Committee to Investigate Deaccessioning


This past fall, you might remember, was a bit rocky for the museum industry in New York. First, the state’s plans to pass a bill making selling pieces or collections of art in order to pay for anything but more art, particularly by government-funded museums, would be illegal, failed to pass through the senate. This was likely due to pressure put against its passing by the big, New York City-based museums who publicly stated on a number of occasions their distaste for regulation and promised they could police themselves just fine. If you were in support of the failed bill, things got even worse when the New York Board of Regents allowed emergency regulations surrounding museum deaccessioning to expire. This concerned many, as it was a sign that the flood gates for art sales could potentially now be open. Though that didn’t seem to happen en mass, at least on the record, the Regents caught a good deal of heat for it. Now, some months later, they appear to be attempting to regroup and figure out the controversial issue-at-hand. Judith H. Dobrzynski of Real Clear Arts reports that the Regents have recently formed a 16 member advisory committee who will look into how the state should handle museum deaccessioning. The list of members include lots of directors of museums across the state, as well as a couple of more high-profile museum types, including Martin Sullivan of the National Portrait Gallery, who was recently/currently mired in a controversy of his own. So what will come of the committee? That’s anyone’s guess. But given how tumultuous 2010 was for the state, it’s sure to be interesting to watch pan out.