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Bonus Episode: Berkshire Museum Litigation Update (It’s not over!)

Your hosts, Steve Schindler & Katie Wilson-Milne

New York City, October 2, 2018

Katie and Steve get an update from attorney Nicholas O’Donnell about the status of the lawsuit he brought on behalf of certain members of the Berkshire Museum for breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims, in relation to the Museum’s sale of much of its valuable art collection to pay for operating and capital expenses.  While much of the art has been sold, the members fight on.  Nick explains the unusual posture of the case to our listeners.

*Note: On Monday, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ended the Berkshire Museum deaccessioning legal saga by upholding a decision by the court that members of the Berkshire Museum do not have standing to sue the Museum challenging the conduct of its Board of Directors.

MA Attorney General Healey Endorses Harrington, Discusses Berkshire Museum In Pittsfield

Mayor Linda Tyer, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Democratic Berkshire District Attorney candidate Andrea Harrington in Pittsfield Monday. ©2018 Photo by Josh Landes/WAMC

Josh Landes, WAMC Radiolab
October 2, 2018

With the fall election campaign heating up, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was in the Berkshires Monday.

Healey, along with local Democratic leaders like Mayor Linda Tyer and State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, appeared at the new Berkshire County Democratic Coordinated Campaign Headquarters on Pittsfield’s North Street to endorse District Attorney candidate Andrea Harrington, who won September’s primary.

Berkshire Museum to Auction More Works

Artforum, October 1, 2018

The board of trustees of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, has announced that two works will be auctioned at Sotheby’s American art auction set to take place in New York on November 16. The pieces—Hunter in the Winter Wood by George Henry Durrie and The Last Arrow by Thomas Moran—are part of the second group of works that will be sold as part of the institution’s controversial deaccessioning plan, which was approved by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on April 5, 2018.

Suit against Berkshire Museum art sales to be argued before appeals court Sept. 4

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 Continues Opposition to Berkshire Museum Art Sale

A few dozen people opposed to the art sale rallied outside of the Berkshire Museum on Saturday.

Andy McKeever, iBerkshires
July 14, 2018

PITTSFIELD — Tom Patti considered it a compliment to have his art in the same building as Norman Rockwell and Alexander Calder.

The Berkshire Museum had commissioned his work at the entrance, the foyer, and in three other locations. But now, Patti doesn’t feel that the museum values local artists.

Save the Art to Host July 14th Rally Calling on Museum to Halt Further Sales of Art, Increase Transparency

Press Release – Save the Art
July 14, 2018

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.

Continue reading “Save the Art to Host July 14th Rally Calling on Museum to Halt Further Sales of Art, Increase Transparency”

July 14th Rally Calls on Museum to Halt Further Sales of Art, Restore Original Mission

July 11, 2018
Announcement from STA

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.

Continue reading “July 14th Rally Calls on Museum to Halt Further Sales of Art, Restore Original Mission”

Activists Continue to Protest Berkshire Museum Art Sales

The billboard, which can be found along South Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that an activist group paid for to rally support for the fight to save 9 Berkshire Museum artworks from being sold. ©2018 Photo: Gillian Jones for the Berkshire Eagle. 

Artforum, July 3, 2018

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.

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.