In Part 1 last week, I offered up two scenarios in which a defender of deaccessioning could try to claim the incentives for her chosen tactic made sense. The first involved selling off assets that were secretly toxic - in effect, a kind of insider trading. The second involved selling off a surplus of a single artist in order to diversify the museum’s collection. The former situation was highly improbable, bordering on impossible; the latter ricocheted unintended negative consequences back onto the museum.
I want to spend this second installment digging into why deaccessioning makes little sense from the standpoint of art economics, mainly on the basis of market value. To do that, we need to dissect the particularities of the Dia scandal. One artist and one work in particular provide the clearest view.Read More