Tuesday, May 16, 2006


How Hilton Kramer Got Wild

It doesn't rank up there with the "Opal Mehta" brouhaha, but let's compare a passage from my Nov. 2 NY Times Op-Ed piece, For Sale: Our Permanent Collection with Hilton Kramer's Deaccession Roulette in the December issue of The New Criterion:

Kramer: The Los Angeles County Museum used to have a triad of bronze sculptures of women by Alberto Giacometti in its “permanent” collection. Now it has two, because one is with Sotheby’s pending a sale.

Me (a month earlier): Until recently, a triad of standing women, signature works in bronze by the Swiss modern sculptor Alberto Giacometti, graced the permanent collection galleries of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. But now only two remain. The third, a likeness of the artist's wife, is one of 42 Impressionist and modern works from its "permanent" collection that the museum plans to sell at Sotheby's today and tomorrow.

Kramer went on to say that "one wit recently observed, 'it won’t be long before pragmatic museum trustees sell a Degas Toilette to pay for the toilets.'" I was the wag.

Credit where credit is due?

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