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Monday, July 18, 2005

The Arts Ethicist

This weekend the NY Times decided to do the ethics thing in the Arts section, not just in the Magazine. My take: a completely underwhelming argument. And late (very late) to the discussion. Here's one paragraph from Michael Kimmelman's piece to illustrate:
Cash alters that equation. Last year Boston rented 21 Monets to the Bellagio. Now it is leasing art to the show in London and also to another Bellagio exhibition, "The Impressionist Landscape from Corot to van Gogh," run by PaceWildenstein. Ticket price: $15 (which, if you look on the bright side, is half the fee at Tut). When collections become assets, it's a short step from renting art to selling it. Not casting off a bit of detritus, but deaccessioning multimillion-dollar pictures to capitalize on a red-hot market, as standardbearers are now doing.
Note to Times writers and editors: please review the definition of slippery slope.

And say what you will about the Bellagio deal (I've said what I will), but the MFA's loan show currently at the Royal Academy in London is in a completely different class. There's no argument that can be made about this show being ethically challenged.

If the paper of record is going to take major organizations to task for ethical lapses, it should make sure its arguments are logically sound and its details are correct.



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