Recent links of note:

“Sotheby’s Releases Prices for Controversial Sale of Works from Berkshire Museum, Rockwell Estimated at $20M. to $30M.”
Nate Freeman, ARTnews

A few weeks ago, we noted the controversy in Berkshire, Massachusetts surrounding the Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell a number of their most prized works in order to manage a large-scale reworking of their institutional mission. This, all while running a significant annual’ deficit. Though voices across the country—including ours—condemned the Berkshire’s deaccession plan, and though multiple influential museum associations threatened sanctions, it appears the museum is moving forward with their sale. As ARTnews reports this week, Sotheby’s has announced their price estimates for the sale. The figures add up to about $50 million dollars; of course, the institutional reputation lost through this reckless deaccession program is irrecoverable. This helpful ARTnews article outlines the sale and provides a visual list of the forty lots included, with their respective price estimates. Take a look also at artnet News’s article on the Berkshire’s withdrawal of its participation in the Smithsonian Museum’s Affiliate Program.


“Bejing’s Bold New Censorship”
Perry Link, The New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books
posted a somber report this week on increasingly heavy-handed censorship in China. Perry Link (an Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton) notes that whereas in earlier regimes party officials hid their authoritarian behavior under a pretense of freedom and democracy (thus implicitly acknowledging the superiority of those ideals to dictatorship), the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s party has been marked by more brazen examples of censorship and blacklisting. The distinction may seem insignificant, but the underlying forces behind these overt censorship policies are a bad omen for the future of liberal democracy in the Far East nation, and recall (at least to the mind of Liu Xiaobo, the anti-communist Nobel Peace Prize laureate, before he died in a Chinese prison this summer) the early days of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
 

“Mutiny at the Met? Thomas Campbell on the Price of Modernization at America’s Greatest Museum”
Andrew Goldstein and Thomas Campbell, artnet News

In this second part of a two-part interview with Thomas Campbell, Andrew Goldstein (the editor-in-chief of artnet News) presses the recently ousted director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a number of issues that arose in the final months of his tenure. Campbell parries throughout the talk, admitting little fault for the course of events that led to his departure. Though the interview is expectedly sedate, it does illustrate Campbell’s decision-making process regarding the direction the Met has taken these past nine years, and is thus noteworthy.


 

From our pages:

“The visions of Blake”
Dominic Green