Has everyone recovered from the four-day holiday weekend? No? Us neither — but we’ll get on to the Roundup anyway:
THE BOY NEEDS TO GROW UP: The Morning News checked in on the King Tut exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art on Sunday, wanting to know how the Boy King is doing financially. From the tone of those who commented, it sounds like he’s under-performing, but there’s still time to rally. So far, about 90,000 visitors a month have passed through the exhibit. To get to the stated goal of 1 million, that number is going to have to come up to about 146,000 visitors a month.
“Like every institution, we have been impacted by the economic climate,” DMA director Bonnie Pitman told the paper.
Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, is cautiously optimistic about a spike in attendance, noting that other stops on the Tut tour have seen an increase in ticket purchases near the end of the run.
“In a down economy, will we make 1 million visitors? I’m not sure. I hope so, but am I confident that we will make between 800,000 and 1 million? Yes. That will put us on par with other cities that have hosted the show, and I think that’s significant considering the downturn of the national economy.”
While on the subject of Tut, the DMN ranked it No. 3 on its list of top visual-arts experiences for 2008. Coming in at No. 1 was another DMA inhabiter, J.M.W. Turner.
TO SELL OR NOT TO SELL: At least the DMA is not in the same position as the National Academy Museum in New York. That institution has come under fire for deciding to sell two works for about $15 million to bring in some much-needed cash. The decision has sparked a debate about the ethics behind selling works for profit, or “deaccessioning.” (National Academy director Carmine Branagan discussed the sale and its aftermath with Lee Rosenbaum over on the CultureGrrl blog.)
Both the American Association of Museums and Association of Art Museum Directors are strongly against the practice, fearing that museums would begin selling off assets any time they needed a few extra bucks. But those in favor say if the choice is between selling a work or shutting the doors, the decision becomes easy.
Do desperate times call for desperate measures? I think so. The trouble is coming up with a working definition of “desperate.”