As we roll toward the June sale of the Polaroid collection in New York, The Art Newspaper runs another story expressing the frustration of some artists whose work is in the collection. Today it’s Chuck Close. And though it is not Close’s responsibility to save the collection from a sale, the fact that no one has organized a purchase of the collection outright remains a central question to the story.
That’s further underscored by these two paragraphs in The Art Newspaper story:
“Nothing would be worse than a piecemeal sale,” said William Ewing, director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, which holds a separate 4,500 works on loan. “I am hopeful that the entire collection, or at least our works, will be sold to a single buyer that will agree to leave them to the museum.”
Supporters of the “Impossible Project”, a Netherlands-based company which last month produced a new analogue instant film for Polaroid cameras, “recently placed a binding offer to purchase” the works at Lausanne, according to Marlene Kelnreiter, press spokeswoman.
The courts have already made it clear that they have altered the terms of the contract between the artists and the Polaroid Corporation. Whether that is “morally” right is less important than the fact that it is legally correct. Bankruptcy courts change contracts and ownership rights. That’s what they do.
In Lausanne, we see a rational reaction to the predicament. If museums and collectors want to preserve the value of the Polaroid collection, they’ll pay to do so. The question is why that hasn’t happened with the works in the Sotheby’s sale or the remaining works. We’ve already had intimations from museum curators that the answer lies in the fact that collection itself is just not important enough–as a collection and no matter how valuable the 1200 works on offer at Sotheby’s turn out to be–to purchase as a collection.
Polaroid Row Hots Up (The Art Newspaper)