Thursday, March 19, 2009

Boston Art Dealers Association on Rose

The Boston Art Dealers Association – and friends – mailed the letter below to Brandeis University yesterday to protest the Waltham school’s plans to close its Rose Art Museum and pawn off its collection:

March 18, 2009

Mr. Perry Traquina
Secretary, Board of Trustees
Brandeis University
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453

To the Officers and Members of the Board of Trustees:

As members of the Boston art community we feel compelled to speak out about Brandeis University’s decision to close the Rose Art Museum and sell parts of its collection. Among the things that make the greater Boston area a significant location for art and culture are the institutions of higher learning and their respective venues for public exhibitions. The Rose Art Museum, from its inception in 1961, has been an important part of this scene.

From Sam Hunter to Carl Belz to Joseph Ketner and now Michael Rush, each director has put his own signature on the museum and consequently has been an active participant in the local arts community. Museums like the Rose that mount ground‐breaking exhibitions and have collections of the highest caliber are invaluable teaching resources. That art is undervalued in our society is not new, but to have it so blatantly undervalued by an institution of higher learning is a new low.

As we have watched this sad saga unfold, it has become increasingly clear that one of the biggest problems is the lack of credibility from the office of Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz. At the beginning, the closing of the Rose Art Museum was presented as a “no choice situation” with the University’s very existence hanging in the balance and immediate action demanded. Since then, there has been some backtracking by the Brandeis administration and an apology from the President for “screwing up”. Many people, who did not read this letter of apology closely, assumed that the administration was reversing its decision to close the museum. Nothing could be further from the truth; the letter was in effect apologizing for the way the announcement was so abruptly made and not for its decision to close the museum.

Removing the collection from public view and selling works of art breaks a covenant with the Rose’s donors. These gifts were made to benefit Brandeis and its community in perpetuity. There must be a less ethically questionable way for Brandeis to deal with its current economic crisis. Chopping off a significant part of what makes Brandeis a vibrant, unique and respected institution is not the solution.


Joanna Fink, Alpha Gallery ∗
Alan Fink, Alpha Gallery ∗
Jane Young, Chase Gallery ∗
Joyce Creiger, Creiger Group ∗
Jennifer Wood‐Patrick, Gallery AA/B ∗
Arlette Kayafas, Gallery Kayafas ∗
Arthur Dion, Gallery NAGA ∗
Judy Ann Goldman, Brandeis University, ’64, Judy Ann Goldman Fine Art∗
Robert Klein, Robert Klein Gallery ∗
Barbara Krakow, Barbara Krakow Gallery ∗
Andrea Marquit Clagget, Andrea Marquit Fine Arts ∗
Amnon Goldman, Mercury Gallery ∗
Emily Weintraub, Mercury Gallery ∗
Destiny M. Barletta, Pucker Gallery ∗
Bernard Toale, Toale Projects ∗
Howard Yezerski, Howard Yezerski Gallery ∗ **
Nielsen Gallery ∗
Alison Collins, Gallery Director, Iris Gallery of Fine Art Photography
Susan Lanoue, Lanoue Fine Art
Martha Takayama, Tepper Takayama Fine Arts
Frank Roselli, Soprafina Gallery
Abigail Ross, Judi Rotenberg Gallery
Kara Braciale, Proof Gallery
Suzan Redgate, Copley Society of Art
Marcia Vose, Vose Galleries of Boston
Tony Decaneas, Panopticon Gallery of Photography
Beth Kantrowitz, bk projects
Joyce Parlapiano, the Accidental Gallery
Heather Roy, Artana Gallery
James Hull, Director, Suffolk University Art Gallery
Stephanie Walker, Walker Contemporary**
Russell LaMontagne, LaMontagne Gallery**
Steven Zevitas, Steven Zevitas Gallery

∗ Member, Boston Art Dealers Association **Member, Boston Contemporary Group

Cc: Board of Directors, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University
Jehuda Reinharz, President, Brandeis University


Post a Comment

<< Home