MOLAA Says It Isn't Broke, Is Shopping for Kahlo & Basquiat
The Museum of Latin American Art's online sale of deaccessioned and donated works has raised $227,550. The most expensive lot was Guatemalan artist Elmar Rojas's los guardianes de la lluvia, which went for $20,000. That was in the middle of its range; many other works underperformed estimates or failed to sale. Among the disappointments was the three-panel Ray Smith painting Los Espectadores (1986, top of post), singled out in Christopher Knight's article on the sale. It went for $4250 against estimates of $10,000 to $20,000. Museums generally don't deaccession the work of living artists out of concern that sales like this one may hurt the artist's market. Smith donated the piece to MOLAA. Judging from online images, it's better than the two Smith paintings that Eli Broad bought for his museum.In the Long Beach Post, Asia Morris quotes MOLAA president Lourdes I. Ramos-Rivas and chief curator Gabriela Urtiaga on the sale. They insist the sale was not prompted by financial problems but is rather part of a plan to upgrade and diversify the collection. The latter is now standard spin for deaccessions; in MOLAA's case it means more women and a better geographical balance of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latinx artists.