In this edition of the APN Wire:
Halloween is here and so I have dedicated this issue to one of the scariest things I can think of…deaccessioning artwork. While it can oftentimes only take a few calls, meetings, and a letter of acceptance to acquire a new object, the deaccessioning process is complicated and nerve-racking to attempt. This is the main reason that you should never accession something unless it aligns with your mission and will add value to your institution.
Deaccessioning has recently been back in the news since the AAMD made a limited time alteration to their policy on selling works. This loosening of restrictions has been misreported, misunderstood, and misused in conjunction with collections all over the country. Check out our articles section to see how some institutions have truly misjudged the repercussions of deaccessioning works, and are paying the price. Also, take a look at our resources section to find investigations on the history of deaccessioning and the legalities associated. The arguments for and against selling collections are more ethical than legal, but as we all know the politics are the most terrifying part of this endeavor.
Finally, as if this topic was not scary enough, I have added some information on the subject of provenance. It is tied closely to deaccessioning, and as you can see from a current case that is close to home, it should never be taken lightly. Always know as much about your artwork as possible before welcoming it into your collection because you not only acquire the works, you acquire the reputation of the person that gave them to you. It can take decades to become an issue, but when it does it is very public and messy.
Now that you are truly terrified and unsettled…Happy Halloween! Be safe and stay well!
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