Current Issues and Resolutions in Managing Public Art Collections

June 26, 2020, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Session Type: Panel

Last year news broke that the Chicago Public Library intended to deaccession and send to auction a painting by Kerry James Marshall with proceeds going toward the expansion of a library and establishment of a new public art to support public art projects in underserved communities. Earlier this year the San Francisco Unified School District voted to destroy an important series of murals at a local high school originally commissioned by the U.S. government under a New Deal-era art program and painted by artist Victor Arnautoff. These news headlines have sparked a firestorm of controversy within the art world and are the latest in a wave of public art conundrums that have come under public scrutiny and demonstrates that there is a continuum of opinions when it comes to the applicability of professional standards, especially those concerning stewardship, deaccessioning and disposal. A panel of experts will explain the legal and ethical rationales regarding deaccessioning and disposal, clarify misconceptions, and address current issues in collection stewardship. During the second half of the session the presenters will open up the forum to the audience so they can ask questions of the presenters or share their solutions to similar challenges. The goal for the session is to encourage open dialog and create an environment that empowers public art administrators to find solutions to these challenges.
Learning Objectives:
  • Gain deeper insight about recent controversies and strengthen your ability to assess options for resolving future collections conundrums.
  • Become better able to articulate the ethical arguments for and against deaccessioning and disposal and acknowledge the changing needs of the public, provoking methodologies for future sustainability.
  • Learn that resolutions don’t always come in black and white and that they require creative thinking.