Art Law Report

Syracuse to Host “Deaccessioning After 2020” March 17-19, 2021

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 1, 2021 at 4:08 PM
I am pleased to be a presenter and panelist at an event later this month on a topic of evergreen currency: museums and deaccessioning. As we’ve covered here, the pandemic has put pressure on museums in ways that were hard to foresee only 12 months ago. The response by museums, museum associations, and attorneys general has taken a variety of approaches. Just in the last year alone from Brooklyn, to Baltimore, to Syracuse, and most recently the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whether, when, and how museums should handle sales of their collections remains a volatile subject. 
 
I was therefore delighted to hear of this event: “Deaccessioning After 2020,” organized by Syracuse University’s Graduate Program in Museum Studies. It will bring together museum directors, curators, legal scholars, attorneys general, and every imaginable perspective on this contentious issue. I couldn’t be more pleased in particular to see Michael Conforti on the program, who hired me in 1997 to work at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute at the start of what has been a truly unpredictable but rewarding professional journey, as well as old friend and leading opponent of the Deaccessioning Police (as he would put it, and which has from time to time could be applied to me) Donn Zaretsky. This is to say nothing of fellow Williams College alums Amy Whitaker and Glenn Lowry. Go Ephs/Williams Art Mafia!
 
I will be on two panels, “Legal Issues, Strategies, and the Role of the Courts,” and “Ask the Lawyers.” Registration is open now and available here. The full program is listed below. I hope to see you there.
 
March 17, 2021 
 
Opening Keynote 
Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Museum Hue
 
March 18, 2021
 
Welcome 
Dean Craig M. Boise Syracuse University College of Law 
 
Museum Resource Allocation: The Cost of Collecting 
Agustín Arteaga, Director, Dallas Museum of Art 
Betsy Bradley, Director, Mississippi Museum of Art 
Michael O’Hare, Professor, Graduate School at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley 
Erin Richardson, Principal, Frank & Glory 
Joseph Thompson, Founding Director, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art 
Moderator: Andrew Saluti, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Graduate Program in Museum Studies, Syracuse University School of Design 
 
Legal Issues, Strategies, and the Role of the Courts
Courtney Aladro, Chief, Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division, Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General 
Mark Gold, Partner, Smith Green & Gold LLP 
Nicholas O’Donnell, Partner, Sullivan & Worcester, LLP 
James Sheehan, Chief, Charities Bureau, New York State Department of Law 
Moderator: Dean Craig M. Boise Syracuse University College of Law 
 
The Impermanence of Objects and Museums 
Michael Conforti, Former Director, Clark Art Institute 
Steven Lubar, Professor, American Studies, History, History of Art and Architecture, Brown University 
Amy Whitaker, Assistant Professor, Visual Arts Administration, New York University 
Moderator: Stefanie Jandl, Co-editor, Collections and Deaccessioning in a Post-Pandemic World
 
March 18, 2021 
 
What Does Diversifying the Collection Mean to Artists? 
Deborah Kass, Artist 
Amalia Mesa-Bains, Artist 
Meleko Mokgosi, Artist 
Wendy Red Star, Artist 
Moderator: Carrie Mae Weems, Artist and Trustee, Everson Museum of Art 
 
Regional Museums Making Difficult Decisions and Expanding Horizons 
Jessica Arb Danial, Board President, Everson Museum of Art 
Elizabeth Dunbar, Executive Director, Everson Museum of Art 
Elizabeth McGraw, Former Board President, Berkshire Museum 
Van Shields, Former Executive Director, Berkshire Museum 
Moderator: Laura Roberts Principal, Roberts Consulting 
 
Closing 
Emily Stokes-Rees, Interim Director, School of Design and Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Museum Studies, Syracuse University
 
March 19, 2021
 
Welcome
Andrew Saluti, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Graduate Program in Museum Studies, Syracuse University School of Design 
 
Direct Care: A Critical Concept Still Struggling for Meaning 
Anne Pasternak, Director, Brooklyn Museum 
Cara Starke, Executive Director, Pulitzer Arts Foundation 
Roxana Velásquez, Executive Director, The San Diego Museum of Art 
Sally Yerkovich, Chair, AAM Task Force on Direct Care of Collections 
Moderator: Mark Gold, Partner, Smith Green & Gold, LLP 
 
Ask the Lawyers 
Brian Frye, Professor of Law, University of Kentucky College of Law 
Mark Gold, Partner, Smith Green & Gold LLP 
Nicholas O’Donnell, Partner, Sullivan & Worcester, LLP 
Donn Zaretsky, Partner, Silberman Zaretsky, PC 
Moderator: Emily Stokes-Rees, Interim Director, School of Design and Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Museum Studies, Syracuse University 
 
Breakout Sessions
Museums with Parent Organizations: Vulnerabilities and Strategies 
Peter Dean, Former Trustee, Randolph College 
Andria Derstine, Director, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College 
William Eiland, Director, University of Georgia Museum of Art 
Jamaal Sheats, Director and Curator of Galleries, Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery, Fisk University 
Moderator: Kristina Durocher, President, Association of Academic Museums and Galleries 
 
Historic Sites and the Deaccessioning Dilemma. Or is it? 
Christy Coleman, Executive Director, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation 
Ken Turino, Manager of Community Partnerships and Resource Development, Historic New England, Member of AAM Direct Care Task Force 
Lawrence Yerdon, President and CEO, Strawbery Banke Museum 
Moderator: Scott Wands Emeritus Council, American Association for State and Local History 
 
Ask the Auction House 
Nina del Rio, Vice Chairman, Sotheby’s 
Michael Shapiro, Senior Advisor, Hindman Auctions 
Allison Whiting, Senior Museum Advisor, Christie’s 
Moderator: Julia Courtney, Editor, When is it Okay to Sell the Monet?
 
Keynote: 
The Evolving Role of Collections in Serving the Museum’s Mission 
Christopher Bedford, Director, The Baltimore Museum of Art 
 
Progressive Deaccessioning 
Glenn Adamson, Independent Curator and Writer
Julia Pelta, Feldman Postdoctoral Fellow, Bern University of the Arts 
Michelle Millar, Fisher Museum Curator 
Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Museum Hue 
Moderator: Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief, ARTnews 
 
Making the Case for Change—or Not 
Christopher Bedford, Director, The Baltimore Museum of Art 
Thomas Campbell, Director and CEO, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 
Linda Harrison, Director and CEO, The Newark Museum of Art 
Glenn D. Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art 
Tracey Riese, Trustee and Chair of Collections Committee, Brooklyn Museum
Moderator: Melody Kanschat, Executive Director, Museum Leadership Institute 
 
Closing 
Dean Craig M. Boise Syracuse University College of Law
 

Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Dallas Museum of Art, New York University, Deaccessioning, Williams College, Christie's, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Sotheby's, 17 U.S.C. § 106A(a)(3)(A)-(B), Nicholas M. O'Donnell, ARTnews, Jakob Dupont, Sarah Douglas, Brooklyn Museum, Syracuse University, Anne Pasternak, Stephanie Johnson-Cunningham, Museum Hue, Dean Craig M. Boise, Andrew Saluti, Agustín Arteaga, Joseph Thompson, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Courtney Aladro, Mark Gold, James Sheehan, Steven Lubar, Brown University, Everson Museum of Art, Emily Stokes-Rees, Cara Starke, Sally Yerkovich, Brian Frye, University of Kentucky College of Law, Silberman Zaretsky, PC, Peter Dean, Randolph College, Andria Derstine, Oberlin College, William Eiland, Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery, Christy Coleman, Ken Turino, Nina del Rio, Hindman Auctions, Michael Shapiro, Allison Whiting, Julia Courtney, Christopher Bedford, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Julia Pelta, Fisher Museum, Thomas Campbell, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Linda Harrison, Glenn D. Lowry, The Museum of Modern Art, Tracey Riese, Melody Kanschat, Museum Leadership Institute, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Betsy Bradley, Mississippi Museum of Art, Michael O’Hare, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, Erin Richardson, Frank & Glory, Smith Green & Gold LLP, New York State Department of Law, Michael Conforti, Amy Whitaker, Stefanie Jandl, Deborah Kass, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Meleko Mokgosi, Wendy Red Star, Carrie Mae Weems, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Roxana Velásquez, The San Diego Museum of Art, University of Georgia Museum of Art, Jamaal Sheats, Fisk University, Kristina Durocher, Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Historic New England, Lawrence Yerdon, Strawbery Banke Museum, Scott Wands, American Association for State and Local History, When is it Okay to Sell the Monet?, Glenn Adamson, Bern University of the Arts, Michelle Millar, The Newark Museum of Art

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The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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