(ed: After selling the Senator Clark Sickle-leaf carpet and the 20 some odd other rugs from his collection for almost 40 million dollars, it seems the Corcoran Gallery is, like GH Myers Textile Museum, still on the ropes and down for the count.
Plan now is to "merge", aka submarine, the Corcoran, its impressive collection of American paintings, and its building with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University to "save" it.
Yup, that's the same GWU which now "owns" GH Myers former Textile Museum, which has suffered the same fate.
This reminds RK of the famous, and now supposedly debunked, quote from the Vietnam War, "We had to destroy the village to save it".
Time will tell if Myer's Textile Museum, or the Corcoran Gallery, will actually be "saved" by these plans concocted by their bumbling feckless chairmen and their equally inept stuffed-shirt good ole boy boards of directors who, after many years of dumbass posturing, in the end did nothing but destroy these two institutions.
PS: Let's all not forget to give a big bronx cheer to that idiot and last chairman of the board bruce, aka big mouth, baganz for his rudderless "leadership" role in the fiasco that took down Myers Textile Museum.
On a personal note all RK can say is: Screw You to baganz, that truly pompous clown, and his equally asinine board of directors.)
The Corcoran Gallery of Art Weighs a Three-Way Merger
By CAROL VOGEL
FEB. 19, 2014
"Facing mounting debts, a shrinking endowment and tens of millions of dollars in renovations, the long-struggling Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington is exploring a plan to give up its independence as the oldest privately supported art museum in the nation to form a partnership with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.
The resulting three-way arrangement, which must be approved by the boards of the three institutions, would ensure that the Corcoran’s art collection would remain in public institutions and maintain its Beaux-Arts building as an art destination. At the same time, the Corcoran’s education arm, its 124-year-old Corcoran College of Art + Design, one of Washington’s only professional colleges of art, would continue to operate, but under the auspices of George Washington University.
Under the proposed agreement, the 145-year-old Corcoran would cede control of its renowned collection to the National Gallery — some 17,000 works, including a world-class group of American paintings by masters like Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church and John Singer Sargent, as well as its celebrated holdings of photographs. George Washington University would operate the Corcoran College, and the university would assume ownership, including responsibility for all of the expenses, of the landmark Corcoran building near the White House, which is in need of about $100 million worth of renovation and repairs.
The federally funded National Gallery would organize and present exhibitions of modern and contemporary art at the Corcoran under the name Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art — a gesture to preserve the Corcoran’s heritage. The National Gallery would also oversee what it is calling a Corcoran Legacy Gallery in the Corcoran building and show a selection of the museum’s greatest attractions. What works the National Gallery and curators from the Corcoran decide are not compatible with the National Gallery’s collection would be distributed to other American museums, giving Washington-area ones first priority. Artworks that would enter the National Gallery would be identified as from the Corcoran Collection.
“This arrangement turns two great collections into one extraordinary collection,” said Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery. “The Corcoran will still have its own identity: a great facility with a distinguished building. It’s a way of keeping the Corcoran memory alive.”
If the plan is approved by the boards in April, it will put an end to years of money trouble for the Corcoran, which had some 103,000 visitors last year. The Corcoran currently runs a $2,071,129 deficit, has $2,787,690 of bank debt and an endowment that has shrunk over the last decade to only $18 million. It also has a $44 million acquisitions fund. Unlike the National Gallery, which does not charge for admissions, the Corcoran is one of the few museums in Washington that does ($10 for adults), a practice that has hampered its ability to attract a strong visitorship. If the plan is implemented, all exhibitions in its original home will be free to the public.
Over the years, the Corcoran has pursued a number of efforts to shore up its finances, including the sale of real estate. In 2010, it sold the Randall School, a former public school in Southwest Washington, where it once planned to relocate the college, for $6.5 million to the Miami collectors Donald and Mera Rubell and the developer Telesis. It also tried to sell the college’s current building in Georgetown, but the deal fell through. Last year, it announced the possibility of relocating from its historic building on 17th Street, but after a hailstorm of criticism its board changed its mind, saying the museum would stay put and look for other options. In June, the museum auctioned a group of Oriental carpets at Sotheby’s, which gave the Corcoran about $39 million, which went into its acquisitions fund.
Last year, the Corcoran’s board appointed a new interim director, Peggy Loar, a former director at the National Museum of Qatar and the Wolfsonian Museum and Research Center in Miami to take over for Fred Bollerer, who retired as president and director after only three years in the job. In April 2013, it announced the possibility of a partnership with the University of Maryland, but talks fell apart several months ago, when the board of the Corcoran and the university were not able to come to an agreement about the future of the college, the museum and the sustainability of the art collection, according to officials at the Corcoran.
“We’ve been looking for a good, secure solution for the collection and for the future of the school,” said Ms. Loar in a telephone interview. “Our curators have worked with curators at the National Gallery. We feel like these are colleagues, and we can partner with them. It solves the problem with the building, which is in need of major repairs.”
If the partnership is approved, Ms. Loar added, the faculty of the college would be absorbed by George Washington University for at least one year. Ms. Loar said the future of the Corcoran’s staff, including its curators and registrars, was still being discussed. “We will look for future roles either within the new partnership or elsewhere,” she said.
The plan also gives the National Gallery an additional site to present its own exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Although its East Building is currently being renovated to add more than 12,000 square feet of gallery space, Mr. Powell, the director, said that overseeing the Corcoran’s majestic galleries, which he described as “arguably the most beautiful galleries of any museum in the United States,” would solve a bigger problem for his institution in a few years. “It does answer an unspoken need for us,” Mr. Powell said. “We would have been looking for more space.”
If the plan is approved, the Corcoran’s board will comprise representatives of all three entities in an advisory role to “keep innovation programmatically alive at the Corcoran,” Ms. Loar said.
As for George Washington University, Steven Knapp, its president, said on Wednesday that taking over the college “would be a very exciting opportunity and helps establish our university as a hub for the arts.”
“I’ve been talking to the Corcoran for a number of years about partnerships that would be beneficial,” Mr. Knapp said. “They are a close neighbor.” But this particular plan, including the hefty expenses required to renovate the Corcoran’s building, Mr. Knapp said, “would secure the nation’s capital as a center for arts and culture.”