Conflictos en Museos

La noticia que rompió en Modern Art Notes sobre el UIMA, Pollock, ventas de piezas por debajo de la mesa y esposas de directores de Juntas sigue su curso y los señalados sí contestan las preguntas, no como los mudos en el MAC.

Sigue la noticia y la posición del gobernador de Iowa en:

Modern Art Notes

Slightly amusing Erin Jordan story in the Des Moines Register on the reaction to the Pollock events. (Amusing in part because it missed some recent developments, including the Iowa governor's position against the current process. Uh, how...)

As you may recall, last week I pointed out the potential conflicts of interest inherent in a University of Iowa regent suggesting that UIMA's greatest painting be sold to a museum (at a cut rate, no doubt) that might allow UIMA to borrow it from time-to-time when the wife of the UI regent in question is on the board of the Des Moines Art Center.

The UI regent in question, Michael Gartner, told the Register that my noting such was "bizarre."

More from Gartner in the Register: "'My wife, like probably 2.9 million other Iowans, didn't even know the university owned a $150 million painting (if that's what it's worth) until it was in the news in recent weeks,' Gartner wrote in an e-mail."

If Gartner is right and his wife Barbara didn't know that one of the two or three greatest Pollocks in America was 115 miles down the street at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, I wonder what she's doing on an art museum board.

Also, Gartner appears to have a firm idea of how the Pollock should be assessed. Then why go through with the whole assessment charade? (At the very least Gartner just signaled to the UI assessors what he thinks the assessment ought to find, which seems improper.)

Is it likely that the Pollock is sold? I think that the events of the last week -- including Iowa Gov. Chet Culver's opposition to the current process and the unusually prompt response of art world leaders -- make it unlikely. (Of course: If Alice Walton waltzes in with a $175 million offer, all bets are off...) But what's troubling is this: The UI regent pushing the idea has no apparent compunction about pre-judging an assessment that he himself pushed through and he also fails to recognize another obvious bit of ethical stickiness. So who knows what's next?