Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle August 14, 2018
PITTSFIELD — Lawyers for the Berkshire Museum aren’t quite done defending its art sales — even as those transactions near completion.
They’ll come before three Massachusetts Appeals Court justices in early September, working to fend off a lawsuit against the museum and its trustees that dates back to the start of legal action 10 months ago.
Save the Art – Save the Museum invites the public to a July 14th rally in front of the Berkshire Museum at 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The protest rally will call on the museum to halt further sales of its art, and to be more open and transparent in its planning for the future.
Save the Art – Save the Museum invites the public to a July 14th rally in front of the Berkshire Museum at 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to protest further sales of art that continue to erode the museum’s founding mission.
Critics of the Berkshire Museum’s controversial deaccessioning plan have not given up on the fight to save the institution’s artworks. Located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the museum first announced that it was going to auction off works to bolster its endowment and fund a renovation project in the summer of last year. Since then, the museum industry has been up in arms over the plan—it is considered unethical for an art institution to use the proceeds from the sale of artworks for anything other than acquisitions.
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.
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).