A sampling of U.S. institutions by the Art Newspaper found that most had lost at least 20 percent of the value of their endowments. Though such losses are felt only incrementally, most are bracing for the worst.
But who knew the worst would come so soon. According to Inside Higher Ed, Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum is auctioning all 6,000 works in its collection to bolster the University's finances. This is a move that reflects the true severity of the economic crisis and makes anyone question how art will whether this new period. From the report:
“This puts all of our roles at our institutions in jeopardy,” said David A. Robertson, president of the Association of College and University Museums and Galleries and director of Northwestern University’s art museum. “And it puts in jeopardy our relationships with our donors with whom we have built our collections,” he said. The ethics codes cited by Robertson are vital, museum officials say, because donors will not make gifts to university collections if they believe that their donations could end up in an auction house sometime in the future.
With the Nasher drawing in high profile exhibitions like the recent "El Greco to Velazquez," it seems it should weather these tough times, but I am not aware of the Museum's finances. Nor am I aware of how well UNC's Ackland Museum of Art or local galleries are doing. Maybe this decision by Brandeis shows that Obama--and America--need an art secretary to keep things afloat.