Cy pres petition it is! The Berkshire Museum had to demonstrate dire financial need to modify any restrictions on charter or mission, like selling its priceless art core and renovating its landmark building else risk withering and shuttering. Well, the museum has succeeded to the next round according to its website. Here’s their summary of the agreement between the Berkshire Museum and the Attorney General Office that was sent to the Single Justice Court. I have not seen a release from the AGO, yet. I’ll link to the actual document(s) soon.
Generally after a filing is ready to be reviewed, there are a couple of route options for a Single Justice. The SJO can act on the filed papers, order a hearing, or pass it back to the full court. What will the SJO decide with this one?
The Museum’s summary reads like a slam dunk for the Berkshire Museum New Vision position. An unnamed American Museum will acquire Norman Rockwell Shuffleton’s Barbershop at an undisclosed price (which should have been negotiated high enough to cover all fundraising goals if it was to happen at all. Public auction would have gone higher.) Regardless, whatever sale price was set, that purchase does not preclude further sales according to the light conditions. I suspect that’s to appease Sotheby’s, in possession of all the art and waiting for this to sort out.
Sotheby’s would rather auction that Rockwell. The Rockwell family is not part of this agreement, and was waiting to review the papers as it impacts their suit vs. the museum.
Which museum committed funds for Shuffleton Barbershop and can pounce? Lucas Museum of Narrative Art could be a contender: George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are major Rockwell collectors. Perhaps Crystal Bridges Museum backed by Wal-Mart heiress, Alice Walton, strikes again. Both were two likely clients at Sotheby’s, too. The reputation and value of the art targeted for sale will continue to rise. Legal firms, auction houses, and collectors are poised and AGOs across the country are trending pro boards and trustee, since 2000. The leadership at the Berkshire Museum failed to raise its own money for its new vision, was unable to brand despite possessing masterpieces, celebrate its landmark building, and imagine innovative science and history programming built around Calders and Rockwells. Let’s give them more money and the art, too?
I wonder if there is a percentage of SJO decisions opposing agreements like this one, overturning a lower court ruling and now a proposed agreement with the AGO-state? The February 5th joint statement confirmed that the Berkshire Museum and AGO were at an impasse related to standing. Come on SJO!