Inadequate security due to budget-cutting at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris had led to the spectacular coup in May when five extremely valuable yet uninsured paintings were stolen.
While the public galleries struggle with budget cuts and dwindling sponsorship money, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on June 6, “private museums are enjoying a boom. Millionaire François Pinault, who owns brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, is showing his gigantic art collection at two opulent private museums in Venice.… Exhibiting your art collection at your own museum is becoming the ultimate status symbol.… The art boom of recent years has produced a new generation of smaller collectors and amateurs.”
No doubt the opulently endowed private galleries can afford adequate insurance and security, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung concludes, “If public galleries paid them more attention they could become what they once were: places where society forms a picture of itself.”
In concrete terms this must mean that, after pooling resources for security and insurance, the public galleries should make it attractive to the millionaire-collectors to exhibit their treasures in their spaces. This would follow the public-private mix that has become customary on North American campuses, far more so than in Europe.
That may be excellent advice.