Event Title

The Moral Cost of Art

Research Mentor(s)

Sapin, Julia

Description

Art patrons have always held influence on the running of museums and exhibition choices. Increasingly, donors define museums standards, practices, and polices. In many cases, they even define their architectural designs. In this research, I examine all aspects of philanthropic activities, bringing in current debates and controversies associated with Museum finance. In particular, I look at trustees and board members who use their art world cachet to further their business investments and bolster their charismatic personas. In this examination, I consider the funding structure of museums and look at national scandals, such as former vice-chairman Warren B. Kanders at the Whitney in New York. Recently, the vice-chairman was asked to step down after it was reported to the public that Kander’s Company manufactured the tear gas that was used against migrants at the Mexican border. Though protest escalated to the extent of posting personal information on social media, only after artists withdrew their work did Kanders finally step down. Obviously, solutions needed to amend this systemic problem, such as better vetting of donors, will requires a major cultural shift that potentially threatens future contributions coming forward. Nonetheless, in this research I highlight how the current system increasingly undermines the public's faith in our cultural institutions. Without any safeguards the current system will most likely lead to further corruption and abuse. Can we afford to have donors associated with public museums and, if not, can art museums continue to exist?

Document Type

Event

Start Date

May 2020

End Date

May 2020

Department

Art History

Genre/Form

student projects, posters

Type

Image

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 22nd, 5:00 PM

The Moral Cost of Art

Art patrons have always held influence on the running of museums and exhibition choices. Increasingly, donors define museums standards, practices, and polices. In many cases, they even define their architectural designs. In this research, I examine all aspects of philanthropic activities, bringing in current debates and controversies associated with Museum finance. In particular, I look at trustees and board members who use their art world cachet to further their business investments and bolster their charismatic personas. In this examination, I consider the funding structure of museums and look at national scandals, such as former vice-chairman Warren B. Kanders at the Whitney in New York. Recently, the vice-chairman was asked to step down after it was reported to the public that Kander’s Company manufactured the tear gas that was used against migrants at the Mexican border. Though protest escalated to the extent of posting personal information on social media, only after artists withdrew their work did Kanders finally step down. Obviously, solutions needed to amend this systemic problem, such as better vetting of donors, will requires a major cultural shift that potentially threatens future contributions coming forward. Nonetheless, in this research I highlight how the current system increasingly undermines the public's faith in our cultural institutions. Without any safeguards the current system will most likely lead to further corruption and abuse. Can we afford to have donors associated with public museums and, if not, can art museums continue to exist?