Art in the News: Red Composition

Today I want to share a really interesting article I read, a couple of weeks ago now, about a museum in New York selling its only Jackson Pollock painting in order to acquire more works by under-represented artists.

The museum in question is The Everson Museum in Syracuse and the work is Pollock’s 1946 piece Red Composition:

Anyone who knows me knows I love it when the white patriarchy gets overturned just a little bit. And this kind of selling off male art works to acquire works from other people is just the kind of thing that gets me going. I can’t get enough of it. By selling this painting, the Everson can now invest in works by women and works by people of colour. How bloody fantastic is that! DIVERSIFY THE ARTS!

Now it does bug me still that one artwork by one white man will sell for enough to buy a couple of artworks by other just as talented people… but small steps. We can’t change the market overnight.

The Everson is not the first museum to do this, and I’m sure (hopefully) that it won’t be the last. We’re seeing museums across the world start to deaccession work by white male artists in favour of a more diverse collection. And in doing so, institutes make their collections more accessible. More and more people will be able to relate to art work and to artists, and that’s definitely a good step in making art actually relevant to today’s people. Let’s move away from art being this elite and white only practice – and instead move towards art being for everyone.

To the Everson, I applaud you. I can’t wait to see what work you accession.

To the art market, we’ve got a long way to go before art by under-represented groups is actually valued at the same level. This is a good start though, so let’s keep going!

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