Financial strains exacerbated by pandemic-related impacts have left some museums across the U.S. struggling with the question of whether to deaccession artworks.
In the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, when the economy tanked, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) relaxed rules around selling artwork from museums' collections. New guidelines stipulated that funds raised could be used for more than buying other artworks, without penalty, at least until April 2022.
Since spring 2020, a number of museums have sold, attempted to sell, or considered deaccessions of artworks, with varying reactions from critics.
“Although the de-accessioning ‘virus’ is deeply depressing, it doesn’t altogether surprise me,” art scholar David Anfam said in an email to ARTnews, refering to the myriad issues that public institutions now face, from considerations in diversifying collections to staying afloat. “To put it crudely,” he said, “are they treasure houses for the elite or community centers? Doubtless, the answer lies between the two extremes. The dilemma is, where?”
Read more in Andrew Russeth's article for ARTnews.