A New York Times story Friday chronicled some of the troubles at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. You may have already noticed the absence of The American Antiques Show (TAAS) from the Americana Week lineup (although a new show plans a preview benefit for the museum). The Times story indicates the museum has been in talks with several institutions in order to explore the idea of donating the collections elsewhere. The museum has one of the best collections of American folk art in the country. Transfer of the collections would require a nod from the state attorney general, and that may be easier to get if the collections were still available to New Yorkers, perhaps with some on display at the Brooklyn Museum. The American Folk Art Museum’s building is currently owned by the Museum of Modern Art.
With the idea planted and growing that modernism has its roots in primitive art, it would seem some sort of partnership with the Modern allowing the collection to remain in the building would be in order. That’s not to say the nation’s capital wouldn’t be a good place for a collection of American folk art.