Saturday, June 24, 2006
We All Make Mistakes---Part II
In her Inside Art report on the National Gallery's upcoming Jasper Johns show, Carol Vogel said that curator Jeffrey Weiss "estimated insurance costs for the show at about $1 billion."
The National Gallery must be one rich museum!
Perhaps she (and Weiss) meant that the insured value of the works in the show is about $1 billion, which is astronomical enough. The actual cost of the insurance must be a small fraction of that. At least we hope so.
The problem is that the eyes of arts editors often glaze over when it comes to mundane financial matters. I know this from my own experience in laboring to explain some of my business-related reportage to culture-savvy editors.
And art writers themselves sometimes don't realize that seemingly small nuances (i.e., "insurance costs" vs. "insured value") mean a lot. One of my own biggest bloopers as a newly minted reporter was saying that collectors could deduct the full fair market value of donated art from their "taxes," when it should have been from their "taxable income." A tax credit (deducted from taxes) is worth a whole lot more than a tax deduction (deducted from taxable income).
Have I finally gotten that right?!? Writing a journalistic blog without an editor is like walking a tightrope without a net!