Listening to: “Do You Realize??” – The Flaming Lips
I’ll probably write more in depth about this later, but right now I’m too tired and too pissed off. Suffice to say my dear old Alma Mater has brought itself to the forefront of public attention by SELLING ALL OF ITS PRICELESS ART. The reason? Brandeis’s big donors lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the Madoff scheme, and now the school’s in biiiig trouble.
So the school (young and impressionable in university time, at only 61 years of age) decided the smartest, bestest, most forward-looking thing to do would be to shut down the Rose Art Museum and its collection, without a doubt one of the best things ol’ Deis has going for it. This kind of sale of a large collection by an educational institution is pretty much unprecidented–because it’s a REALLY SHITTY IDEA and NO ONE WOULD EVER DO IT IN THEIR RIGHT MIND.
We’re talking a major modern art collection that includes stuff by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Bob Rauschenberg…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Brandeis is in a perpetual state of identity crisis, trying simultaneously to create a legacy and history in the mold of much much older universities, be really forward-thinking (In the form of ugly-ass campus centers), and establish itself as totally unique and uber-prestigious. Tall order for a university was a veterinary institute up until the late 1940s. I used to work at the Registrar’s Office–I know the history because I spent a month of work study hours in a mildewy cellar deep underneath the humanities quad, rescuing old files and yearbooks from certain moist demise.
My point in all this is that if Brandeis wants to solidify its image and leave a legacy to future generations, about the worst thing it can do is ditch the Rose collection. One of the main things that drew me to the university in the first place was its commitment to the arts. The move is sleazy and dreadful, and makes me feel ashamed to be an alum.
PS: If you’re as pissed as I am, SIGN THE PETITION HERE