Friday, September 22, 2023

Facing bankruptcy, should the SF Art Institute sell its $50M Diego Rivera?

Curious what my good friend Donn Zaretsky would say. I’m still not sure. My hesitation stems not from the “ethics” of deaccessioning, but rather from my skepticism on the relevance of higher “art education” as we know it. In other words, and presuming the Rivera was in fact sold and raised the $50M estimate, would those $50M be but a band-aid on a bullet hole? Would the SFAI just burn through those $50M and be back facing bankruptcy in a matter of years?

Story here.

Side note: Last October during the Art & Law Program fall term I posed a number of hypotheticals to the fellows. Interestingly, one of the hypos was almost exact to the real-life situation faced now by the San Francisco Art Institute. The only difference was that in my hypo, the art institution had in its collection an artwork by an artist who had close cultural and ethnic connections to the community. Lo and behold, one of the Program fellows, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, sent me an email last night directing me to this Program hypo come to life. Thank you, Carlos!



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