The New York Times‘s Robin Pogrebin reports on resistance to the Brodsky Bill attempting to make the AAMD’s guidelines into law. The Met, Guggenheim and Whitney have bridled at the bill:
Even as the bill has been working its way through the Legislature, other institutions around the state and the country have been considering or carrying out the sale of cultural property to make ends meet, prompting an outcry in the arts world. The Troy Public Library in Troy, N.Y., in April decided that it would sell through a gallery four 19th-century sculptures to raise money to keep a state grant. […]
While arts groups say they recognize the importance of governing principles when it comes to selling off pieces of their collections, they also say the Brodsky bill goes too far in imposing blanket regulations without regard to an organization’s specific collecting policies and financial needs.
One of the concerns of cultural organizations is a fear that the bill could restrict their ability to exercise curatorial judgment. Richard Armstrong, the director of the Guggenheim, wrote to Mr. Brodsky that the bill would stifle “intellectual freedom and differences of taste and opinion.” By legislating particular rules for deaccessioning, Mr. Armstrong added, the bill would “chill institutions’ willingness to make independent decisions that may be questioned as a matter of law.”
Mr. Brodsky said he had responded to some of these concerns with revisions to the bill. The Metropolitan Opera, for example, asked that the legislation not apply to the collateralization of artwork, he said. […]
Failure to pass the legislation, Mr. Brodsky said, would create “a two-tier system” in which institutions under Regents jurisdiction — that is, most of the state’s collecting institutions — would continue to be governed by existing regulations, leaving the few that are exempt “beyond formal public accountability.”
“There are a small number of people here who are simply going to resist,” Mr. Brodsky said. “They’re entitled — it’s America. But this bill is carefully crafted to reassert the notion that the public interest has to be protected.”
Institutions Try to Slow Bill to Curb Sales of Art (New York Times)