1.29.09: Update at the end of the post
The last thing I want to do is contribute to the doom and gloom, but sometimes reporting a story or passing along information is essential so that we understand the depth of the issue. Not too long ago I talked about The Downturn in Chelsea. More recently in Where's The Bailout for The Arts?, I talked about what happens when publishing wanes, galleries close and institutions retrench. It's happening. Just a few examples:
. Artnet has reported that the Seattle Post Intelligencer is closing, and that its longtime art critic, Regina Hackett, will be out of a job--a passing that bodes ill not only for Hacket but for coverage of the arts in Seattle. Here's an excerpt from Artnet:
Another month, another art critic shown the door by a major paper. This time it’s Regina Hackett, longtime correspondent for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A representative of Hearst Newspapers swung by the paper’s office Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, to tell the staff that, "Journalism is a fabulous profession, but it is a business," and that the paper would be shut down in 60 days, either to close forever or reopen as a greatly reduced online-only service (the heartbreaking footage of the announcement is available here) . . .Hackett told fellow Seattle critic Jen Graves, "I mean, there are no jobs for us."
. How's My Dealing's Deathwatch section posts the names of galleries that rumor has closing. (I recommend this blog with mixed feelings, but it does seem to have tapped into the art information network. Some of those rumors have been confimed, because I've gotten a number of the gallery press relaases myself.)
. And yesterday: The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University announced that it is closing its doors and selling its collection. (You can read reports and links in Geoff Edgers' Exhibitionist, Tyler's Modern Art Notes, and Carolina's C-Monster blog.) Here's the president's e-mail passed along by a friend:
From: President Jehuda Reinharz
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009
To: Brandeis University Community
Subject: Important Message Regarding the Rose Art Museum
The global financial crisis and deepening national economic recessionrequire Brandeis to formulate and execute decisive plans that will position the university to emerge stronger for the benefit of our students. To this end, our response to the crisis is to focus and sustain our core academic mission. I am writing to tell you that the Board of Trustees met today and voted to close the Rose Art Museum.The decision was difficult and was reached after a painstakingassessment of the university’s need to mobilize for the future andinitiate a strategy to replenish our financial assets.
The Rose has been a marvelous addition to the Fine Arts program, and we are grateful to everyone who expressed their love for art andadmiration for Brandeis’s academic mission by helping to create, build, and support the museum. Choosing between and among important and valued university assets is terrible, but our priority in theface of hard choices will always be the university’s core teachingand research mission. Today’s decision will set in motion a long-term plan to sell the art collection and convert the professional art facility to a teaching, studio, and gallery space for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.
Update: Read Hrag Vartanian's Art Market Recession Report in the NYFA Current