The sorry story of the Rose Art Museum

May 27, 2009

Allison Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post brings us up to speed on the Brandeis affair — if you haven’t been following it, the small Jewish university decided last year to close down its art museum and sell off its contents, only to backpedal desperately in the face of a massive public backlash. Where are we now? Well, the Rose is essentially dead — its donors have rescinded their pledges, artists are asking for artwork back, the director has been fired, and it has no chance of being able to raise a penny in new money any longer. That’s the downside, for Brandeis, whose own reputation has been trashed in the process. And the upside? Pretty much nonexistent: no art has been sold, no art will be sold for the next couple of years at least, and confusion reigns on campus and beyond.

A case study, in other words, in how not to make and implement hard decisions in the face of an economic crunch. Now, remind me why Jehuda Reinharz is still president?


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