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.
One thought on “The End of the Road for American Folk Art Museum?”
What a pity in this great country that we can fund two unnecessary wars, but not maintain a museum of our folk art history. President Roosevelt was strong enough and could see into the future enough to fund the creation of art at the height of the depression. What a pity that we don’t have enough clear thinking to recognize the value of protecting our art heritage and provide the funds to do it. A few of the robber barons on Wall Street could endow such places with just a tiny share of their ill gotten gains stolen from the tax payers through the bail out schemes.