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March 10, 2005 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Respected arts reporter David D'Arcy has been dumped by NPR apparently in response to complaints by MoMA, who were unhappy with his recent coverage of the controversy surrounding Egon Schiele's Portrait of Wally. (D'Arcy's previous report here.) The portrait was stolen by the Nazis in 1939; since 1997 it has been on loan to MoMA from the Leopold Collection. The concerns and controversy surrounding the Nazis' looting of art, of course, continue to be thorny issues.
posted by scody (14 comments total)

 
That sucks. Damn Nazis, gettin' people fired even today.
posted by graventy at 5:32 PM on March 10, 2005


And NPR! Well. Grease over and bend up, NPR.
posted by jfuller at 5:51 PM on March 10, 2005


I have nothing really to add here - except to say that the Schieles are definitely the stars of the Leopold's collection - so I can somewhat understand their being rather defensive about them.

A fine museum, btw, well worth a visit if you're in the area.
posted by kickingtheground at 6:00 PM on March 10, 2005


Well, I suppose we might feel compelled to speculate about where a significant source of NPR funding comes from, eh?

Perhaps.
posted by davejay at 6:08 PM on March 10, 2005


The sources in these links are all biased to some degree. MoMa looks bad, but it seems out of character for them. Here is where the traditional media really outplays the blogosphere. They research a story, get corroboration and put their valued reputation on the line. This is the sort of story I have a hard time with until someone like the NYT takes the plunge.

If true, this is a tragedy for the art world. It could cost MoMa significant donation dollars and shows a blatant disregard for the victims of Nazi aggression.

In some of these cases in the past, the subtle justification for resisting repatriation has been that the current owner is better for society (a public organization versus a private individual say) or some such nonsense. It has been so long that it is almost too late to correct these wrongs, and the strategy of outwaiting the original owners strikes me as immoral. If the Nazi theft claim has legs and MoMa had anything to do with D'Arcy's firing my donations will flow to other NY art museums in the future.
posted by caddis at 6:37 PM on March 10, 2005


What davejay said. I really suspect this is largely about not biting hands that feed, and it makes me feel marginally less guilty over changing the station whenever I hear a pledge drive coming on. As if I had any spare cash to send to an NPR affiliate anyway.
posted by alumshubby at 4:08 AM on March 11, 2005


Oh. I was hoping he would have done a report on $20 entry fees--WTF?!
posted by ParisParamus at 4:25 AM on March 11, 2005


NPR covering the Michael Jackson trial this AM. I turned it off. We have enough gossip rags and bad radio and tabloid TV without them joining the chorus. I miss Bob Edwards too. Mara Liasson sucks. And so does Juan.

The FOX-ification of NPR. Sad. Wonder when we'll hear advertising for Rev. Sun Yung Moon there?
posted by nofundy at 4:31 AM on March 11, 2005


What caddis said. I don't think we're getting the whole story, because I find it very difficult to believe that even MoMA has that kind of power over any media. I'm also surprised by the timing: radio is ephemeral, why fire someone in March for a story in December? The other thing I noticed from the story is that ownership of the painting seems very confused; it isn't as simple as "Nazis steal painting, sell to museum" and it doesn't paint MoMA in an unflattering light, so I'm even more doubtful that they would think it a firing offense.

From my own experience museums are not hugely fond of the media, but it's more because they don't understand why every single exhibition or moved painting doesn't rate a front page story. I don't see them demanding someone be fired - I think the majority, even the giants like MoMA, are happy for publicity in any free form.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:42 AM on March 11, 2005


I'm also surprised by the timing: radio is ephemeral, why fire someone in March for a story in December?

He was fired shortly after the story aired, I believe -- the news is only really leaking out via the blogosphere now.

it isn't as simple as "Nazis steal painting, sell to museum"

Well, no -- that kind of grossly oversimplified scenario is actually fairly uncommon. Hence why provenance research and disputes regarding Nazi looted art are immensely complicated, both legally and morally.

From my own experience museums are not hugely fond of the media, but it's more because they don't understand why every single exhibition or moved painting doesn't rate a front page story. I don't see them demanding someone be fired - I think the majority, even the giants like MoMA, are happy for publicity in any free form.

Heh. I've worked for a major museum for several years. I won't say anything other than to chuckle ruefully.
posted by scody at 9:10 AM on March 11, 2005


As bad I feel for the family, I'm happy the work is still available for the public.
posted by princelyfox at 10:59 AM on March 11, 2005


If true, this is a tragedy for the art world. It could cost MoMa significant donation dollars and shows a blatant disregard for the victims of Nazi aggression.

The part that caddis does not mention is that just the controversy is going to make it harder for MoMa to curate some kinds of shows. Other museums are not going to blame NPR, they're going to blame MoMa, and not send them art in future.

That's no excuse, though. The Leopold Collection and MoMA should be ashamed.
posted by OmieWise at 1:23 PM on March 11, 2005


NPR covering the Michael Jackson trial this AM ... The FOX-ification of NPR.

Yes, I'm sure that NPR never ever covered entertainment/celebrity news before FOX News came along.

You twit.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:31 PM on March 11, 2005


Yes, I'm sure that NPR never ever covered entertainment/celebrity news before FOX News came along.

But you wouldn't know for sure, because you don't actually listen to NPR, do ya, Steve? ;)
posted by scody at 2:47 PM on March 11, 2005


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