joy magnetism: Sorry, we're dead

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sorry, we're dead

Magnet #451 - Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University

If today's post title could have an image, it would be this piece of art (that I wish I'd taken note of the artist who created it - sorry!)

I picked up this pin/magnet on Saturday, while at Brandeis in Massachusetts. Since I first heard about the Rose Art Museum earlier this year from Richard Lacayo over at Time (my go-to guy when it comes to museum-y news), I've been wanting to visit.

There's a ton of controversy swirling around this museum - as of yesterday, in what's become a sad ending to a long storied history of amazing curators and exhibitions, the museum ended its final exhibitions.

I don't know what it is, but I'm starting to worry that I keep visiting museums and they keep closing. That's two so far. This year!

A lot of the melodrama started when they basically freaked the art world out by saying that the University was in trouble, and that they would possibly have to sell some of the museum's art to help them out of a financial crunch. And, I suppose the way they just announced it out of the blue, and what their release said, made it seem like the University was just going to sell off art assets to make a quick buck for the University.

I'm not gonna lie, that's exactly what it feels like - whether or not it's true.

Apparently, the curator had the collection appraised by Christies back in 2007, and the collection was worth something like $350 million. The poor guy was just trying to do something good by making sure that his University was armed with that kind of information. Little did he know that the trustees would see the dollar signs, and not necessarily the art.

And we're not talking minor artists here - there's a Lichetenstein right as you walk down the stairs, and a couple of Warhols off to the right, some Kandinsky work as well. Oh, and a Picasso, off in the corner.

So, if you read some of the statements on their homepage, there's something about how the Massachusetts Attorney General office says that they have to maintain the Rose Art Museum on some minimal level. How they'll do that without a director, administrator, education director, no funding, no exhibitions, and no curator is not quite clear to me.

You'll see by my FB public album, I'm personally in love with the building itself - it's a snapshot of 1961, the year it opened. It's kind of like the Brady Bunch staircase, even if the show was almost a decade later.

It's also quite fitting that the museum that was founded in the tumultuous sixties is now plastered with protest signs to Save the Rose - from the giant ATM sign above the entrance, to the plastic roses stuck haphazardly into a planter, to the particularly touching stones clustered at the front door - each with a personal plea. My personal favorite, just above the door says:
Warhol - $70 Million
Picasso - $150 Million
Hoffman - $13 Million
The Rose Museum - Priceless

There are some things money can't buy.
For everything else, there's Brandeis.
The only thing that I'm not really seeing in all of these protests - besides the big-ass petition list - is what people are actually doing to stop the closure. Or even a giant call-to-action to help lobby someone to help. It feels like nothing's going on, at this moment.

Granted, I'm not on campus, I'm not even in the same state. There was a part of me that was expecting a sit-in or a picket line. I guess with the students mostly gone, it just wasn't happening. Saturday's visit felt like a wake, if I'm honest.

I hope it's not too late, and some late-breaking news says that the museum's been saved. It's a shame, really, had the museum continued through to 2011, it would have celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Pin It!

No comments: