Museums Sell Your Art

Museums collect art and keep it forever. It is a gift to the world. They are historical archives, keeping the stories of humanity alive across multiple genres. The question being tossed around at museums is should we sell some art to keep our doors open, pay our employees and keep the programs alive. Absolutely yes.

Here is the thing, we just had a global pandemic. The dependence on philanthropy is not what it used to be. It is ok to sell the art to stay alive. I wouldn’t make a habit of it, but perhaps it gives everyone a chance to dig into what’s in those basements.

I wonder how many artists the Met collected of each genre, every year. If they collecting 300 artists over a period and 30 of them became huge, then 270 pieces of work will probably never see the light of day. At one point, a curator will come up with something genius with the hopes of highlighting an era, but in reality, they don’t have to go into the basement for that. They can call upon people who own them. The databases being developed and used in the art world will have no secrets. They will know who owns what.

As the art world moves into a new world, it is unclear how it will all shake out. Between the NFT’s, the shifting at auction houses, the art shows that never took place in person this year, the reality of 22% or fewer transactions in the art world this year, the smaller galleries that can’t compete with the likes of Gagosian and Zwirner. Being able to fill the market with unique one-time pieces that have never seen the light of day is extremely intriguing, particularly since this will probably never happen again in my lifetime.

There is a shift and opportunity with the museums playing the selling game. It will put works into hands where people might see them. That is very inspiring and intriguing. If museums choose to do this, and if I were on the board, I would vote in favor, having them play at another level for even a short time during a period of change will prove to be game-changing over time.