Outsider Art: The Arts Commission Isn't Entirely Sure Where All of its Paintings Are Hanging

Last week, SF Weekly visited all the de Young Museum paintings on loan to public officials that it could — until Supervisor Eric Mar's staff gave us the boot.

A longer, less certain, and far less satisfying art tour would be chasing down the San Francisco Arts Commission's 754 works on loan to 183 city agencies and offices. That'd be a lot of art even if you knew where it all is.

The Arts Commission does not.

Absent that vital knowledge, its "Loan Program" has been on hold for several years; a "comprehensive inventory" of its roster was initiated in January 2013. In short, the Arts Commission has been reticent to lend out any more art until it's certain it knows exactly where the art it already has loaned out is located (or not located). "The inventory will inform us if there are works that are unaccounted for," sums up commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson-Murphy.

And yet, even if they did know, they wouldn't let on: "For security reasons, we don't make a practice of sharing the exact locations of the two-dimensional artworks," says Patterson-Murphy.

The inventory is expected to conclude in July. At that point, perhaps, the Arts Commission can decline to share the location of the paintings it can't find.

My Voice Nation Help

We should put the Art Commission in charge of guarding our borders. 

mblaircheney topcommenter

It would seem… that forms would have to be filled out in order to qualify for the De Young Museum to hand over art treasures to the person(s) requesting it. It would seem… that there should be a file(s) be under someones jurisdiction at the said Museum. It would seem… that is not the case.

Once upon a time  De Young, Legion of Honor and California Academy of Science were all free for locals and tourist alike. 'Paying their own way' was the impetus for introducing admission fees. As noted here, not money well spent if they, who are well paid for the job, can not account for the art pieces under their charge.

Accountability of history, artwork is history (cubistic or realistic), is a serious responsibility by any measure.

How in the hell did this happen? What did it take to get on the list of those receiving the loaned pieces? Is there any charge for this privilege?… Where do I sign up?

Monument Men… we need you...

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