Have collection, eat it too? | Rock Candy

Have collection, eat it too?

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Culturegrrl, the arts blogger based in New York, says museum association complaints over Fisk University's "monetizing" of its collection should be directed to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art rather than Fisk.

Crystal Bridges, Alice Walton's museum in Bentonville, wants to pay $30 million to Fisk for a 50 percent stake in its Alfred Stieglitz collection, donated to the university by George O'Keeffee. Fisk needs the money. The Association of Art Museum Directors says the sale — which will be decided by a court in Tennessee — is a slap in the face to the donor and would make other collectors shy away from donating their works to public institutions. Culturegrrl says the AAMD has something to offer Crystal Bridges — membership — in return for the museum's adherence to AAMD standards, and quotes from an interview she had with director Don Bacigalupi.

I can see both sides here. Donors want assurance that their gifts won't be sold to the highest bidder after they croak. Museums are broke and need dough. Collection-sharing is a good idea. O'Keeffe wanted Fisk to have the collection because she believed in the university, one assumes. She might have supported a plan that allowed Fisk to benefit from the collection AND Alice Walton's millions. Your ideas?

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