As the clock ticks down to the first set of sales of work from the Berkshire Museum’s collection at Sotheby’s in New York, a group opposing the deaccessioning called Save the Art – Save the Museum, which has so far raised $15,000 for legal challenges and publicity efforts, is organizing public events to further its cause.
This Saturday, Save the Art – Save the Museum, whose members include Leslie Ferrin, Kimberly Rawson, and Carol Diehl, is planning to stage its third public protest, this one outside the museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In the group’s sites is the museum’s plan to deaccession some 40 works, including two Norman Rockwells, to raise money for its endowment and shift its mission toward science and technology-driven exhibitions. On Thursday, Save the Art – Save the Museum will hold a fundraiser at the Wandering Star Craft Brewery with “brewery-fresh beer, finger food, acoustic music by Daniel Broad and friends, and a silent auction.”
This latest wave of action follows news on Friday that Norman Rockwell’s sons have joined with other plaintiffs to file a suit with the aim of stopping the sale, arguing that the museum does not have the right to sell the works and that the board breached its fiduciary duty in its management and presentation of its budget. The Berkshire Museum and Sotheby’s have both vigorously pushed back against those claims, with both those organizations releasing statements that characterized the legal complaint as “flawed.”
“I felt strongly about doing this to help keep the art that was given to our community, in the community,” Christopher Post, the owner of Wandering Star, said in a statement. “When I asked fellow businesspeople about donations for the silent auction, it became clear how broadly based the public is in their opposition to the sale. While many of us support the museum, we do not support the decision to sell the art.”