Tuesday, February 9, 2021

What’s Next for Museum Deaccessioning?

By Andrew Russeth
The Baltimore Museum of Art’s plan to raise $65 million for inclusion initiatives involved selling Andy Warhol’s Last Supper (1986). Courtesy the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
While they tend not to advertise it widely, museums regularly part with work for all sorts of reasons, and use any proceeds to buy art that they want. Deaccessioning has also been used to reorient museums entirely, which is when the controversy level can shoot up. In the 1960s, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis began selling 19th-century art amassed by its founder, Thomas Barlow Walker, so that it could focus on buying contemporary art. There were complaints, but it is now recognized as a leader in that field. [More