Roundup: What is Deaccessioning, and Why Is It Roiling the Art World?
Rupa Bhattacharya

Deaccessioning Is a Huge Issue in Art Right Now. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Over the past few months, there have been a series of sales that have sent the art world into an uproar. There was the planned Jackson Pollock auction by Syracuse’s Everson Museum of Art, decried by the Los Angeles Times’ Christopher Knight as ‘inexcusable;’ two rounds of sell-offs at the Brooklyn Museum; and, most recently, a planned sale at the Baltimore Museum of Art that has resulted in multiple resignations and several rescinded gifts.

Selling off works — whether it’s to keep pandemic-thrashed museums afloat, or to fund diversification of the institution — has never been considered particularly desirable, but the Association of Art Museum Directors relaxed the rules earlier this year in order to keep museums above water.

But is there any good way to do that? Some critics of deaccessioning, like Knight, suggest that selling works off to wealthy buyers essentially privatizes what was once a public good; others, like critic Tyler Green, suggest that those funds should instead be raised from donors; and yet others, like Art Newspaper, are concerned the current wave of deaccessions may flood the already-crisis-battered market with “works by dead white male artists.” 

On Wednesday, two hours before the planned auction at Sotheby's, the BMA pulled the works from auction. As of press time, the sale is on hold.


This Week in Otis

In 2013, Dwyane Wade signed a deal with Chinese streetwear brand Li-Ning, opening the door for NBA players to explore their marketing opportunities beyond American shores. While Nike, Adidas, and Jordan have invested in the lucrative Chinese market for years, local companies are stepping up to compete with the foreigners. Luke Winkie dives into how, why, and the upshot. 

Read: The Chinese Sneaker Companies Giving American Sneakerheads a Run for their Money

Abraham Riesman is a journalist and the author of True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee (as well as a forthcoming biography of Vince McMahon). He sat down with The Backstory crew to talk through the dopamine rush he got from watching the 2006 Alfonso Cuarón film Children of Men, and how it helped him establish his moral compass in storytelling.

Listen: The Backstory Podcast: Stan Lee Biographer Abraham Riesman Saw the Future in 'Children of Men'


Of Interest

• Why Pokemon cards are on the way back

• Swizz Beatz’ longtime curator Nicola Vassell is opening her own gallery.

• Is Adidas selling Reebok?

• A look at Drake’s exclusive OVO Air Jordan 11s.

• Are art museums still racist?

• Deana Lawson just became the first photographer to win the prestigious Hugo Boss prize. 

• What happens when protest art leaves the streets

• How Michael Jordan became a logo.

• All the ways the Hulk might appear in the MCU

• Daniel Arsham’s pandemic paintings.

• How long can museums survive at 25% capacity?


News From the Otis Collection

• WWD covered Otis’s new share trading feature.

• Travis Scott is teaming up with Playstation (and there might be a Dunk Low in the works, too).

• KAWS’s new video project uses AR to take you inside a Gaudi masterpiece

• Cleon Peterson has a new show with Shepard Fairey: Red, White, and Blood: The Land of the Fallen, and Home of Rapacity at Ping2 Art Space online.  

• Inside Tracey Emin’s new show Show Me the Love.

• Banksy’s Show Me the Monet sold for $9.8m after an eight-minute bidding war in London. 

• Derrick Adams, KAWS, and many many others designed custom ‘I VOTED’ stickers for New York magazine

• Futura just announced his first NYC show in over 30 years

• Derek Fordjour was profiled in the Financial Times.

• The Supreme x Nike Dunk Highs are coming out in a low version soon.  

• Derrick Adams curated Patrick Kelly, The Journey, a show at SCAD that goes into the archives of designer Patrick Kelly.

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