Brandeis Shuts Museum, Will Sell 6,000 Works

Art world shocked as university closes renowned institution

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 27, 2009 8:06 AM CST

(Newser) – Facing severe budget shortfalls, Brandeis University will close its well-regarded modern art museum and sell off the entire 6,000-work collection, reports the Boston Globe. The move has shocked the art world and drawn heavy criticism from museum and university professionals. "This is not a happy day in the history of Brandeis," the school's president admitted.

There is no precedent for selling off a collection as impressive as that of the Rose Art Museum, which includes works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein—and the university is selling as prices for art continue to fall. The closing was announced as the Rose searched for a new chief curator, and the museum's director only learned of the sale last night. Brandeis is also considering other austerity measures, from laying off faculty to forcing students to study over the summer.

Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, is shuttering its art museum.   (courtesy Brandeis)
Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, is shuttering its art museum.   (courtesy Brandeis)
Max Weber, Seated Woman, 1917, in the permanent collection of the Brandeis Museum   (Courtesy Brandeis)
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I’m in shock. And this is definitely not the time to be selling paintings, anyway. The market is dropping. I’m just sitting here sweating because I can’t imagine Brandeis would take that step. - Mark Bessire, director of the Portland Museum of Art

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