Van Shields, proponent of controversial art sales, bows out at Berkshire Museum

Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
June 28, 2018

PITTSFIELD — After taking the helm at the Berkshire Museum in 2011, Van Shields surprised his new colleagues by talking about “monetizing” the Pittsfield institution’s collection.

It took six years, but talk brought results: The museum holds $47 million in proceeds from recent art sales, with another $8 million expected. It seems a “mission accomplished” moment for Shields — and on that note he’ll bow out.

Berkshire Museum plans to sell 9 more works, bringing total to 22

Albert Bierstadt’s Giant Redwood Trees of California – 1874. A gift to museum from founder Zenas Crane III.

Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
June 25, 2018

PITTSFIELD — Nine more Berkshire Museum works will be sold in coming months, the institution said Monday, in a drive to reach the full $55 million in proceeds allowed by an April court ruling. 

Seven of the works will be sold in private transactions rather than auctions in an attempt to place them with new owners who will preserve public access. 

Berkshire Museum takes steps to improve ‘best practices,’ art sales net $47 million

Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
June 20, 2018

PITTSFIELD — Four months after their landmark accord, key points of dispute between the Berkshire Museum and the Attorney General’s Office are back in play.

This time, the “people’s lawyer” is securing pledges of managerial reform from the museum, as the office fulfills its statutory role as overseer of nonprofits and public charities.

Bonus Episode: Berkshire Museum Deaccessioning Begins

Your hosts, Steve Schindler & Katie Wilson-Milne

New York City, June 11, 2018

Katie and Steve give an update on the first round of auction sales as part of the Berkshire Museum’s court sanctioned deaccessioning plan.  They discuss the results of the sales, the museum’s current stance, and where that leaves us (hint: dissatisfied).

Berkshire Museum Board Interview on SoundCloud

Trustees of the Berkshire Museum head into their first board meeting since selling artworks at a “turning point,” having raised more than $42 million to ensure their 115-year-old institution’s survival. But big decisions lie ahead.

Key decisions lie ahead, Berkshire Museum trustees say

Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
June 6, 2018

PITTSFIELD — Trustees of the Berkshire Museum head into their first board meeting since selling artworks at a “turning point,” having raised more than $42 million to ensure their 115-year-old institution’s survival. 

Berkshire Museum Case: Now “Profoundly Accessible”— Yikes!

Martin Gammon, Pergamon Art Group
June 1, 2018

Another day, another statement… Now in the form of an extended release from the board of trustees to the Berkshire Museum community…

In truth, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the PR team at the Berkshire Museum, or whoever has been compelled to compose the blather they have been crafting in their occasional press releases. Rather than honestly and straightforwardly addressing the raft of specific allegations of ethical malfeasance by the board and their enablers, they have resorted to tortuous paeans about community building and securing the future, apparently hoping this might divert attention from further exposing their callous disregard of donor intent and the museum’s founding mission. And yet, even these saccharine bromides fail to conceal the dissonant chords rumbling beneath the rhetorical sheen.