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PORTSIDE  September 2010, Week 1

PORTSIDE September 2010, Week 1

Subject:

Fisk Says It Must Sell O'Keeffe Art Collection to Survive

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 5 Sep 2010 23:54:49 -0400

Content-Type:

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Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (67 lines)

Fisk Says It Must Sell O'Keeffe Art Collection to Survive
By: Jennifer Brooks
The Root
September 1, 2010
http://www.theroot.com/views/fisk-university-owns-nashville-s-greatest-public-art-collection

In October, a judge will decide whether saving one means
sacrificing the other.

Fisk University is on the brink. The endowment of the
tiny, historic school in Nashville, which opened its
doors to newly freed slaves in 1865, is depleted. Every
building on the campus where poet Nikki Giovanni,
historian John Hope Franklin, and educator and activist
W.E.B. Du Bois were educated has been mortgaged.

Fisk President Hazel R. O'Leary says that the only asset
of real value left is the Alfred Stieglitz Collection of
Modern American and European Art. It is a $74 million
trove of early modernist masterpieces that artist
Georgia O'Keeffe donated to the school six decades ago.
The art's presence at Fisk is a source of joy,
consternation and dispute.

Fisk, which had slightly more than 800 undergraduate
students in 2009, has tried to sell off parts of the
expensive-to-maintain collection for years. The sale has
been blocked by legal challenges, first by the O'Keeffe
estate, then by the state of Tennessee. Those opposed to
a sale argue that Georgia O'Keeffe saw the collection as
a gift to Fisk and the people of the South, not as a
cash machine from which to make withdrawals.

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper wants the art to
stay in Nashville, even if it means its removal from
Fisk and exhibition elsewhere. The city's Frist Center
for Visual Arts has offered its galleries to house the
collection.

That would leave Fisk not only with no art-sale revenue
but also with no Stieglitz art collection.

In August, the case landed in a Nashville court again.
Fisk petitioned for release from the strict conditions
of O'Keeffe's bequest and for permission to sell a half-
share in the collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum of
American Art for $30 million. The agreement would rotate
the collection between the campus and the not-yet-
constructed museum being bankrolled by Walmart heiress
Alice Walton in Bentonville, Ark.

[moderator: to read the rest of this article
http://www.theroot.com/views/fisk-university-owns-nashville-s-greatest-public-art-collection]

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