One year ago today, President Reinharz announced the decision to close the Rose Art Museum. Although the museum and its collection remain tentatively intact, they are still extremely vulnerable. Now more than ever it is important to stay aware and informed, and to support the museum, its collection and its remaining staff. The following are some images from today's guerrilla art installation:
As the fate of the Rose Art Museum's collection is decided, an exhibition highlighting the treasured collection opens Wednesday, October 28 at 6pm.
Critical attendance is needed - the museum is opening back up but its collection is still in crisis. In a time of confusion and instability at the university, the preservation of one of its most precious aspects must be preserved.
This could be a major turning point in the fight to preserve the Rose Art Museum and the integrity of its collection, and a chance to reflect on what was potentially omitted from the Committee report and how the University can move forward with both integrity and grace. Let's hope this serves as a point of caution to all those entrusted with the future of Brandeis and its student body.
It's been a while since the last update - this report was issued today and completely glosses over the impending battle regarding deaccessioning, and ignores the '91 process that should have served as a warning for what's to come. Hope they are prepared for AAM sanctions.....
Do note that the staff of the museum is working hard to maintain the integrity of the facility and its mission, despite this constant pressure.
While Brandeis University Provost Marty Krauss claims in an April 17, 2009 letter to the Brandeis Board of Trustees that the “Rose Art Museum will remain a museum,” the University continues to take steps to dismantle the beloved institution, according to the Rose Art Museum Board of Overseers.
In her letter, Krauss attempted to clarify future plans for the Rose Art Museum once the University closes it on June 30, 2009. Despite the existence of the current Board of Overseers for the museum, Brandeis has named a new committee to “explore future options for the Rose.” In addition, the current position of museum director will be eliminated. According to Jon Lee, chair of the Rose Art Museum’s Board of Overseers, “Without a director or curator, the Rose cannot continue to function as a museum under any meaningful definition. Since the University’s announcement on January 26, 2009 that it would close the museum, membership and Rose Overseer dues, and all donations have ceased or been asked to be returned. This amounts to more than $2.5 million.”
“When the Rose family originally founded the Rose Art Museum, they were very clear about its mission and the integral role it would play as a part of the Brandeis community,” said Meryl Rose, a member of the Rose Art Museum’s Board of Overseers and a relative to the original museum founders. “A museum with a collection and reputation such as the Rose needs a director, and while Krauss’s letter states that the collection will be cared for, it does not erase the fact that the Rose as we know it will cease to exist under the administration’s current plans. The administration is carrying out an elaborate charade, the first step of which is to turn the Rose from a true museum as its founders intended, into something quite different.”
Two months after first announcing and then restating its intentions to close the Rose and sell off the artwork, the University released the mandate for its “Committee for the Future of the Rose.” The group was established by Brandeis in the wake of its announcement that the Rose Art Museum would be closed and the Museum’s art collection─valued at approximately $350 million─would be sold to defray the University’s operating expenses.
According to Brandeis, the committee is designed to “explore options” for the future of the Rose, but is specifically prohibited from determining the fate of the works of art that are the heart of the institution, leaving that to the administration and Brandeis Board of Trustees. Although the committee includes representatives from various constituencies, including the Rose Art Museum Board of Overseers, members were hand-picked by the administration and the Rose was not allowed to choose its own representative.
“By forming the committee, Brandeis has turned a blind eye to the fact that the Rose already had an active board, in the Rose Art Museum Board of Overseers, to map out its future,” said Rose. “For decades, the museum has also had in place highly acclaimed programming and a dedicated staff to oversee its priceless collection.”
“What is also terribly saddening to us,” continued Rose, “is the role the Brandeis Board of Trustees played in this matter. We know that the trustees have only the best interests of the University at heart. They care about the arts, as many of them sit on the boards of prestigious arts institutions. Unfortunately, they have been led astray by a disingenuous administration motivated to push an agenda that involves looting the school’s culture to simply balance the books. Brandeis is devoted to ‘Truth, even unto its innermost parts,’ but their actions, which always speak louder than words, are designed to do just the opposite, to hide true motives behind bureaucracy, highly paid Boston PR consultants and eventually to the end of a renowned and respected collection that can never be reassembled.”
“In January, the Brandeis Board of Trustees unanimously approved a proposal set before them by President Reinharz that called for the museum to be closed and the artwork sold off, ostensibly to meet a financial shortfall,” said Rose. “The intense negative public response prompted President Reinharz to undertake a series of public moves designed to quiet the anger while still moving forward with the overall plan.”
“As a museum of modern and contemporary art, a code of ethics in the arts community dictates that the Rose Art Museum cannot sell off art that is core to its mission,” continued Rose. “The University is taking steps to turn the museum into an arts center, which is entirely different from a museum. By making that one change the current collection would not fall under the same rules and codes of ethics, freeing the University to sell the art in two years. So the actions set in place by the administration today will lead directly to the sale of the artwork in 2011.”
“We can’t let this happen, we won’t let this happen,” said Rose. “Louis Brandeis understood the importance of art as part of a strong university. He wrote to his daughter to establish a strong collection as she built the University of Louisville. To think that the school that bears his name will lose its own art collection goes beyond words.”
About the Rose Art Museum
Located on the campus of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., The Rose Art Museum was founded in 1961. Over the past 40 years The Rose has earned a considerable reputation for its collections and exhibitions. The collection contains significant holdings in post-War American art including iconic works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem DeKooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and numerous others.
To good to believe? Let's remain cautiously optimistic. See the full letter sent this morning from Brandeis University below:
Dear Brandeis Community,
In order to allow its members sufficient time for careful exploration, analysis, and deliberation, the Committee for the Future of the Rose requested that I clarify the plans the University has made for staffing and programming at the Rose following June 30, 2009. While the University awaits the Committee’s recommendations regarding the Rose Art Museum, important steps will be taken to ensure that the collection is cared for properly and professionally and that the operations of the Museum are maintained.
To this end, four of the six current staff at the Rose Art Museum were offered continued employment by the University. I am pleased that Roy Dawes will assume the position of Director of Museum Operations. Valerie Wright will assume the position of Collections Manager, and Karina Sheerin will continue as Director for Financial Control, Budgeting, and Analysis at the Rose. The staff will also supervise undergraduate internships at the Rose during the academic year.
The current exhibitions at the Rose have been extended and will remain open through May 17. Following a brief period in which the exhibitions are de-installed, the Rose will exhibit works from the Permanent Collection when it reopens to the public on July 22, 2009. The Rose summer hours will be announced soon, but consistent with our past practice, summer hours will be more limited than they are during the academic year. These plans are intended to ensure continuity until such time as the Committee submits its final report and action is taken on its recommendations.
These plans were formulated in consultation with the Committee for the Future of the Rose to provide the necessary context in which its deliberations and recommendations can proceed. I have confidence that this Committee, with its broad representation from important constituencies, will offer creative and informed recommendations to the University about the future cultural and academic roles that the Rose can fulfill. This announcement affirms the University’s commitment that the Rose Art Museum will remain a museum open to the public with professionally trained staff.
Marty Wyngaarden Krauss Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs