The second shoe has dropped in the Cleveland Museum’s confusing encounter with the government of Sicily which seems to have decided to cancel the travelling show of antiquities as a negotiating ploy to generate more fees. The Cleveland Museum is right to be very annoyed by this behavior but one wonders whether the Sicilians thought through the ramifications of publicly extorting a major museum.
After claiming the antiquities needed to return home to support tourism, officials tried to open a second set of negotiations:
Sicily eventually submitted an “economic proposal” to the Cleveland museum that would allow the show to go on as planned — but at a steep price. According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, both of whom were not authorized to speak publicly, Sicily asked the museum for roughly $700,000.
“Earlier this month, officials in Sicily advised the museum that despite prior agreements and commitments, the exhibition could only come to Cleveland from the Getty upon the payment of significant fees,” Cleveland Museum Director David Franklin said in a statement Wednesday.
“To announce all new economic terms after the exhibition has been organized, cataloged and shipped is unprecedented and negotiations over this development have to date been unsuccessful. We are very disappointed not to be able to share this exhibition with our visitors, but at this point we must turn our attention to developing new plans for the fall.”
Cleveland’s ‘Sicily: Art and Invention’ show officially canceled (Los Angeles Times)