TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2009
ROSE ART MUSEUM
Tracing the Rose
April 17: PROVOST’S E-MAIL ANNOUNCES ROSE TO REOPEN IN JULY • Provost Marty Krauss announced in an e-mail that the Rose will reopen July 22 and will exhibit part of its permanent collection to grant CFRAM more time to deliberate before releasing its recommendations. • The University also offered continued employment to four of the six Rose staff members but not to Rush or Jay Knox, the current administrator of the museum. Emily Mello, the director of education at the Rose, declined the University’s offer. Assistant Director of Operations Roy Dawes will serve as director of museum operations, Museum Registrar Valerie Wright will serve as collections manager, and Karina Sheerin will remain director of financial control, budgeting and analysis. • This e-mail generated controversy related to the legitimacy of the committee, the museum and its art collection and staff.
Key events surrounding the Rose Art Museum issue By JILLIAN WAGNER
• University President Jehuda Reinharz announced in an e-mail to the Brandeis community that the Board of Trustees met and unanimously voted to close the Rose Art Museum. • According to the press release attached to Reinharz’s email, “Plans call for the museum to close in late summer 2009, and transition into a fine arts teaching center with studio space and an exhibition gallery. After necessary legal approvals and working with a top auction house, the university will publicly sell the art collection. Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in the university to combat the far-reaching effects of the economic crisis, and fortify the university’s position for the future.” • Reinharz was quoted in the press release, “These are extraordinary times. ... We cannot control or fix the nation’s economic problems. We can only do what we have been entrusted to do—act responsibly with the best interests of our students and their futures foremost in mind.” • The majority of reactions from students, faculty, community members, art critics and people from around the world were negative particularly with regard to the potential sale of the Rose’s art collection, though some people were in supprot of the board’s decision to close the Rose Art Museum.
Feb 2: UNIVERSITY HIRES PR FIRM • The University signed a two-month, $20,000 contract with the public relations firm Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, Inc. to handle the increased press surrounding the Rose. • Reinharz and French took a 10-percent pay cut on their annual salaries to cover the full cost of the contract.
• A statement written on behalf of over 50 members of the Rose family was read aloud at an interdisciplinary symposium titled “Preserving Trust: Art and the Art Museum amidst Financial Crisis,” held at the Rose. • Meryl Rose, a spokeswoman for the Rose family and a Rose Museum board member, read the statement to students, faculty, about 20 members of the Rose family, Rose Members of the Rose family museum staff and members of the art community who attended the symposium. • The statement urged Reinharz and the Board to “restore the use, budget, staffing and activities of the Rose Art Museum until a final decision is issued by a court.” • Rose family members later publicly claimed that the University violated part of the will of Edward Rose, a benefactor of the museum. The will stated that Brandeis’ works of art must be housed and exhibited at the Rose. The University’s counsel, however, insisted it had complied with the wishes of the will.
MAX BREITSTEIN MATZA/the Justice
DESIGN BY BRIAN BLUMENTHAL/the Justice
March 3: COMMITTEE ON THE FUTURE OF THE ROSE ART MUSEUM FORMED JULIAN AGIN-LIEBES/the Justice
• Provost Marty Krauss announced in an e-mail to the Brandeis community that she created the Committee on the Future of the Rose Art Museum “to extend the consultations, deliberations, and recommendations of the initial Rose Committee.” • The committee would include faculty, students, alumni, a member of the Rose Museum staff, a member of the Rose Board of Overseers and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Feb 5: REINHARZ SAYS THE ROSE IS NOT CLOSING • University President Jehuda Reinharz wrote in an e-mail to the Brandeis community that the Rose “will remain open, but in accordance with the Board’s vote, it will be more fully integrated into the University’s central educational mission.” • Reinharz also explained in the e-mail that the University may consider selling pieces of the Rose’s art collection, if necessary and if certain legal requirements are met. • Reinharz wrote, “I regret as well that I did not find a more inclusive and open way to engage the Brandeis community in the deliberations that led to the Board’s decision. … I take full responsibility for causing pain and embarrassment in both of these matters. To quote President Obama, ‘I screwed up.’ • Reinharz and the University were criticized for backpedaling on the decision about the Rose.
Jan 29: SIT-IN AT ROSE Feb 5: “FUNERAL FOR THE ROSE” PROCESSION • Students marched across campus holding signs and carrying roses to protest the University’s decision. • The procession was sponsored by Art Attack, an arts club on campus. It was held despite Reinharz’s e-mail sent earlier that day in which he wrote that the museum would remain open. • Emily Leifer ’11, who organized the procession, wanted to show that students didn’t think closing the Rose was an option.
REBECCA NEY/the Justice
• A sit-in was held to protest the Board of Trustees’ decision. • The event, sponsored by the Brandeis Budget Cut Committee and organized by Rebeccah Ulm ’11 and Maarit Ostrow ’11, gathered a crowd of 200 students, faculty, donors and Waltham community members. • Rose Museum Director Michael Rush said at the event that the museum is “bigger than Brandeis” and called the decision to close the Rose “a big mistake with major historical ramifications.”
• The report states that the committee is “not yet at the point at which we can articulate options for the future of the Rose. … But we do understand that, although not desirable, it is possible to sell works of art for budget relief and to remain a public museum. We have been considering how best to go ahead on both these fronts.” • The report also states that the committee’s final report will be released in early fall.
• Members of the senior administration held a press conference with campus media to discuss, among other issues, recent developments about the Rose. • Reinharz said that the press release attached to his Jan. 26 e-mail “misReinharz represented what the Board actually said, as did the initial statements.” • Reinharz said that the Rose building would not be closed and said, “We have a faculty committee that is working right now in thinking what and how the Rose should function on this campus.”
• At the Jan. 29 faculty meeting, 104 faculty members voted in favor (11 voted against, 12 abstained) of a motion to create a faculty committee to consider all future decisions about the museum. • Many faculty members criticized the administration’s judgment in announcing the closure of the Rose Art Museum, the process by which the decision was made, how details of Reinharz the decision were conveyed to faculty and the ensuing national media coverage. • “If the museum is not closed, we cannot sell the art,” Reinharz explained. • Reinharz said at the meeting: “…No one had anticipated that we could have that kind of reaction,” which he characterized as “an avalanche of such bad publicity.”
April 30: CFRAM RELEASES INTERIM REPORT
• An anonymous donor made an undesignated donation that Reinharz suggested putting toward the Rose’s operating budget for the rest of fiscal 2009. • Joe Baerlein of Rasky Baerlein said the gift was “a substantial, low-six-figure gift that is very generous.”
Feb 5: SENIOR ADMINISTRATORS HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE FOR CAMPUS MEDIA
Jan 29: FACULTY MEETING
• A town hall meeting was held at which members of CFRAM listened to suggestions about the Rose from members of the community. • Rush questioned the committee’s legitimacy, saying, “I personally don’t recognize you as a legitimate committee. ... You are the future of the Rose but can’t discuss the collection of the Rose. How does that give you validity if you cannot discuss the future of the museum?” • Meyer Koplow, a member of the University Board of Trustees, confirmed that despite rising suspiRush cions that the impetus behind the Provost’s April 17 email was pressure from the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, the “attorney general’s office has not instructed Brandeis what to do.”
Feb 26: DONATION TO FUND ROSE’S OPERATING BUDGET
April 21: CFRAM TOWN HALL MEETING DAVID SHEPPARD-BRICK/the Justice
Jan. 26: REINHARZ E-MAIL ANNOUNCES ROSE WILL CLOSE
March 16: ROSE FAMILY CONDEMNS UNIVERSITY’S DECISION
March 27: CFRAM ANNOUNCES ITS CHARGE • The committee “is charged with exploring options for the future of the Rose ... with the goal of issuing recommendations to the Brandeis administration and Board of Trustees.” • The charge also states, “The Committee will operate with the understanding that the Board of Trustees, as part of its fiduciary responsibility for Brandeis University, will determine whether or not to sell works of art from the Rose.”
April 27: FACULTY LETTER IN SUPPORT OF RUSH
April 6: FACULTY LETTER • Sixty-four signatures were collected on a faculty letter that was addressed and delivered to Reinharz and Krauss, to follow up a faculty letter written in late March. • The letter stated, “We ... urge that you act to keep the Rose Art Museum open as a public art museum, with professional staffing, continuing exhibitions and active educational programs, until at least June 30, 2010.” • At the time, Krauss said, “The letter is an expression of feelings and desires, but its recommendation is not one that I think the administration will take in advance of [CFRAM’s] report,” which at the time was expected to be released by the end of April.
• Prof. Ellen Schattschneider (ANTH) wrote a letter signed by many faculty members that implored the administration to continue Rush’s employment. It was delivered to Reinharz and Krauss. • The letter stated, “Now that the University has affirmed that ‘the Rose Art Museum will remain a museum open to the public with professionally trained staff’ we are at a loss to understand why Dr. Rush would be terminated.”
April 6: ALUMNI PANEL HELD AT ROSE • Gary Tinterow ’76, Kim Rorschach ’78, Reva Wolf ’78, Andrea Aronson Morgan ’80 and Karen Chernick ’06, five prominent alumni in the art field, spoke at a Aronson Morgan and Tinterow panel discussion titled “Education Matters in the Museum” about the impact of the Rose on their educational experiences and careers. • The event was co-sponsored by the Rose and the Fine Arts department and organized by a student committee consisting of six undergraduate students. • Rush said in his opening remarks that this event showed “that the Rose is still very much alive.” He condemned the administration for its lack of communication with the museum staff. “[Reinharz] has not been to the museum since Jan. 26. That is not leadership. That is hiding,” he said.
JULIAN AGIN-LIEBES/the Justice
• An open forum was held at which senior administrators, including University President Jehuda Reinharz, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Peter French and Provost Marty Krauss answered questions about the closing of the Rose and other budget issues. • Reinharz said that the University might not sell any or all of the art from the Rose’s collection. • Reinharz explained that the University would comply with all donors’ wishes, which was required along with approval from the Massachusetts attorney general’s office in order to try to sell works from the Rose’s collection.
MAX BREITSTEIN MATZA/the Justice
Jan 28: STUDENT OPEN FORUM
MAX BREITSTEIN MATZA/the Justice
RACHEL CORKE/the Justice
April 6: PR FIRM NO LONGER SERVES IN DAY-TO-DAY SPOKESPERSON ROLE • Senior Vice President for Communications Lorna Miles confirmed in an interview that Rasky Baerlein would no longer serve in a day-to-day spokesperson role regarding the Rose. • However, Rasky Baerlein would fulfill some assignments that it began prior to the completion of its contract involving working with some media outlets on stories near completion. These assignments were expected to be concluded by the first week in May.
TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2009
ROSE: Interim report dispute CONTINUED FROM 1
the report that while the budget has suffered because recession and the current c versy surrounding the mu its budgetary figures confir the University’s decision Ja 26 to sell the collection was sult of Brandeis’ financial d ties. The report states th Rose budget itself did not im fiscal strain on the Univers According to the report, th can continue to operate leg a public museum if the Univ sells its artwork but does n the proceeds to purchase oth The committee will rele final report early in the fa continuing to work into th mer, according to an e-mail sent to the Brandeis comm April 30. The report explain the committee did not w begin deliberating about fut tions for the Rose until th obtained sufficient backgro formation about the Rose. University Provost Krauss wrote in an e-mail Justice that she was please the committee’s research. “This is a serious com that is working diligently to information from many sou have confidence that it wi vide thoughtful and well c ered options for the future Rose,” she wrote. Jonathan Lee, the chairm the Rose Board of Overseer in a phone interview with t tice that the report did not c any significant informati terms of mitigating the c versy surrounding the muse Lee said, “the committee i pable of coming up with an new because it has nothing with whether art is sold o that authorization is re strictly for the Board of Tr and you have to assume art sold.” Students and faculty c rated with the Rose Board o seers to hold a symposium M to honor Rush’s term as d and the rest of the museum according to Prof. Andreas T (PHIL), who spoke at the Others who spoke at the s sium included Meryl spokesperson for the Rose and member of the Rose and Jane Farver, Director o sachusetts Institute of Tech List Visual Arts Center. “Although Michael reached out to me as a tea tried to say a few words symposium] about what he a curating had taught me,” T wrote in an email to the Jus Rush’s employment wi June 30. Jay Knox, the curr ministrator of the Rose, and Mello, the current director cation at the Rose, will also turn after that time. “We appreciated that und circumstances, it was un there would be an official tion for Michael Rush. A gr concerned faculty and st therefore decided to work w Rose Museum Board of Ove to put on a suitable event, press our gratitude to Dr and the entire Rose M team,” Prof. Mark Aus (ANTH), who also spoke event, said in an interview the Justice. Auslander adde Krauss stopped by for sever utes. “I think it was appropri the faculty and students wh been involved with the Ros ordinate this event,” wrote K in an email to the Justice.
Published on May 19, 2009