Amazingly, some voices within the art establishment call for going with this “nuclear option.” British art critic Brian Sewell struck a blow for the sell outs in a recent BBC interview responding to the Cimam statement. “The art world is not sacred,” Sewell declaimed. If the choice is between selling off some art and cutting public services, then Sewell will take selling the art. Ever the critic, Sewell claimed that up to 800 paintings in the National Gallery of London alone “aren’t up to scratch”—just the tip of the iceberg of the vast storehouse of unseen art kept in museums around the world. “Why have a museum full of rubbish?” Sewell concludes. Of course, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure. Aside from the question of just how plentiful the art market would be for critically condemned “rubbish,” there lingers the question of who gets to label and then take out the trash.
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