Monday, March 11, 2019

Clean House to Survive? Museums Confront Their Crowded Basements

By Robin Pogrebi
Detail: "Crucifixion" by Gaspar Núñez Delgado (1599); ivory, ebony, mahogany, silver, and polychrome, IMA 1995.24
Fueled by philanthropic zeal, lucrative tax deductions and the prestige of seeing their works in esteemed settings, wealthy art owners have for decades given museums everything from their Rembrandts to their bedroom slippers. So now, many American museums are bulging with stuff — so much stuff that some house thousands of objects that have never been displayed but are preserved, at considerable cost, in climate-controlled storage spaces. At the Indianapolis Art embarked on an ambitious effort to rank each of the 54,000 items in its collection with letter grades. Twenty percent of the items received a D, making them ripe to be sold or given to another institution. [More]
Crucifix Gaspar Núñez Delgado (Spanish, 1551-1617) Currently on View in H214; Collection of Indianapolis Museum of Art; Gift of Walter E. and Tekla B. Wolf by exchange; 1995: 24 Image Licensing