CHAPMAN KELLEY Observations II
Recently painter Chapman Kelley completed another revealing chapter of hismemoirs. In this “Observation II” piece he reflects on the U.S. art scene.
Dr. Maxwell Anderson’s recent book ‘”The Quality Instinct” is a step in the right direction for one’s understanding of the necessity, for all who are at all interested in the visual arts, to continually develop our critical judgments. He has also just recommended to me a challenge by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as set forth in its “Evaluation Report – Museums and Art Conservation,”—check it out.
More evidence has surfaced about the damage done to the art world by financial thugs who in recent years have turned it into a commodity market manipulator’s game. This house of cards has made fortunes for the speculators who artificially drive up the prices of work by “artists” of their choice. Shrewdly, they have stockpiled these artists’ work.
Sometimes art “investors” have the assurance that if they can’t sell at a work’s advanced prices they can instead donate them to art museums whose boards of directors they influence (they are members themselves). Thus the investors reap handsome profits through U.S. federal income tax deductions. The once noble and trusted art museum has been out priced and thus made a handmaiden to roguish board members.
However, the bright side of this otherwise dismal picture is that artists are finally realizing that they have been used and are aware that hucksters control the current art education system and that a respectable and legitimate professional recognition system no longer exists. And it is commendable that some Dallas galleries are publicly supportive of local artists.
It behooves everyone to study the brilliant “A Clear View: The Case for Museum Transparency” ( http://aamftp.aam-us.org/pubs/mn/museumtransparency.cfm
) by our new director at the Dallas Museum of Art, Dr. Maxwell Anderson. Among other things, Anderson warns that museums face losing their 501(c) (3) exemption if they fail to clean up their act. After all, it is the public who ultimately pays the bills via museum funding received from the government.
Isn’t it about time for art museums, artists and dealers to unite and demand reform in order to reestablish the sanity and stability needed to recapture the public’s confidence in the art world?
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