Secrecy Looms in Slow Sift Through Corcoran Gallery's Art

  • January 12, 2015 13:15

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Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) Niagara, 1857 Oil on canvas, 40 x 90½ inches Collection Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund, 76.15

It's been five months since the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, went belly up and the National Gallery of Art (NGA) was named as the successor to its renowned collection. Since then, little information has emerged about the status of the Corcoran's 17,000-piece art collection. The NGA was given the right of first refusal on the Corcoran's art, but now many are anxious to know what the NGA will acquire, and where will everthing else go?

Artists and art lovers are calling for more transparency to the process of accessioning artworks to the NGA.

But the process will take more time, according to NGA spokeswoman Deborah Ziska. She told the Washington Post, “This is a painstaking review. There are a lot of works that haven’t seen the light for years, that have been in storage for a long time,” she said. “Our curators are going through and, in accordance with what we collect already, are looking through the works for what makes sense to accession.”

After the curators' review, the NGA’s director, Earl A. Powell III, and deputy director, Frank Kelly, will bring their decisions to the museum's board. 

The NGA's $143 million operating budget includes $110 million in federal funds. As a nonprofit corporation, it is not required to make its decisions or policies public.

Read more at Washington Post

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