Sale of Pollock painting to fund scholarships?

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Ohio State Representative Scott Raecker recently introduced a bill in the Iowa House which would force the University of Iowa Museum of Art to sell a prized painting in their collection for the purpose of funding scholarships. The painting, Jackson Pollock’s Mural, is valued at $140 million and is the centerpiece of UIMA’s collection. According to Raecker, “the core function of the university is to educate students” and this proposed sale “could provide a $5 million a year endowment. It could let 750 to 1,000 students get a full-ride scholarship each year.” The Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Association of Museums have issued a counter-argument noting that this proposed sale violates a core value within the museum community to not treat accessioned works of art as disposable financial assets. This is not the first time a proposal to sell Pollock’s Mural has been offered: in 2008 a University of Iowa Regent suggested selling Mural to cover expenses incurred during a flood which destroyed many of the campus structures. (source: Huffington Post, 2/22/11)

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