Posts Tagged ‘artwork sales’

Polyester is Forever

October 7, 2015

Sotheby’s has reportedly sold a print of Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1980 photograph “Man in a Polyester Suit” for nearly a half million dollars ($478,000).


There are at least two things that this sale shows.  One, the increasing value of photographic works.  Two, despite the attempt to exploit art as a political tool, Jesse Helms and right wing conservatives ultimately failed.  Helms is dead and Mapplethorpe’s work lives on.

Artsbeat | New York Times

J.Paul Getty Museum Collection

New York Proposal to Regulate Museum Deaccessioning Practices

March 18, 2009

A bill has been proposed in the New York State Assembly that would make it illegal for most museums in the state to freely deaccesssion, or sell off, artworks to meet ordinary operating expenses. The bill was sponsored and drafted by Richard L. Brodsky (D-Westchester). Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island) is co-sponsor.

The New York Times reports that sale proceeds from such artwork could only be used for building the museum’s collection or otherwise preserving the collection. The bill would also restrict a museum from leveraging the value of artworks for loan purposes. “No item in a museum’s collection may be used as collateral or may be capitalized.” A museum is defined as an entity holding or intending to hold collections and which is “a governmental entity, educational corporation, not-for-profit corporation, or charitable trust.” The proposal is apparently in response to the National Academy’s sale of artwork last year and conditions at other state museums and historical sites.

Certain questions about what artwork sale revenue may be used for operating expenses under the bill remain and the proposal establishes a study to consider whether buildings are part of museum collections. The bill also contains provisions for conditions that would permit the sale or removal of artwork from a museum collection because of repatriation purposes, as well as inauthenticity, redundancy, and other reasons. It is unclear as to how the proposed law would interact with the general right to freely alienate property, and whether this ability applies to an institution like a museum or historical site.

At the time of this posting, the text of bill number A06959 was not yet available on the NY Assembly website. At a later time it can be viewed here.  In the meanwhile, a pdf copy is available in connection with the Times report below.

Bill Seeks to Regulate Museums’ Art Sales, NY Times

New York Assembly homepage

Update:  See bill number A06959 text, summary, and actions (NY Assembly).