George: Free art

Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 9:00pm

Hazel O’Leary was writing thank-you notes on her computer when the phone rang last Tuesday evening. On the line was Fisk University’s legal counsel with news for the president: Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle had just issued an opinion ostensibly in the school’s favor, bringing closer to the end a nearly five-year legal dispute over the university’s attempt to sell part of its Stieglitz Collection, a 101-piece spread that has been valued at more than $70 million.

O’Leary bubbled as she listened to the attorney read the opinion over the phone, page by page, as each sputtered forth from the fax machine. Then it stopped. For 15 minutes, the fax machine was apparently jammed — a cosmic indication, perhaps, that although things seem to have finally shaken loose in the case that has outlined Fisk’s contemporary quagmire, there are still major problems in need of real solutions.

In her six-page order, Lyle rejected a proposal by Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper to move the famed collection — donated to Fisk by artist Georgia O’Keeffe in 1949 with a stipulation that it not be sold — to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts for display and maintenance, which university officials say costs them $131,000 a year, a tab they are finding increasingly difficult to cover. Cooper’s proposal, which O’Leary lambasted as basic theft and Fisk students protested in front of the Frist on Tuesday, would’ve given the university rights to reclaim the collection once it returned to more stable financial ground.

But in leaving Fisk with neither purse nor art, Cooper’s proposal failed to address the core issue: Fisk needs money. Further, it ought to be able to pursue that end in an unrestricted way; if it wants to sell off an endowed art collection — the terms of which arguably don’t apply to contemporary times — that should be its right as a private institution.

Lyle’s thinking appears to have shifted that way. Her order allows Fisk to enter into an agreement conceived in 2007 with the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., to effectively split the year in possession of the collection — under certain court-imposed conditions. Fisk has said it would receive
$30 million, which would go a long way toward covering its $2 million annual losses.

“We were pleased with the chancellor’s opinion, and we believe that she has laid out the road map with respect to each clause to which she had objection in her earlier memorandum and opinion, and basically said, ‘I want it done this way,’ ” O’Leary said in an interview last week. “I think we can follow that instruction, and we are busily working on it and exchanging drafts with our colleagues at Crystal Bridges.”

The university must present its amended deal and a schedule of possession to the judge on Oct. 8; Cooper has until Oct. 22 to respond.

During the legal battle, much has been made of determining O’Keeffe’s intent in bestowing the collection — a terrific gathering of modernist art and photographs from the estate of famed photographer and curator Alfred Stieglitz, O’Keeffe’s husband — to the historically black university.
When O’Keeffe donated the collection to a then-financially healthy Fisk in 1949, she paid mind to both the further teaching and appreciation of art in general, and to the racial politics of the time. As Christine Kreyling noted in her coverage of the trial for the Scene, O’Keeffe selected “a place in the segregated South where, in 1949, all of the public — not just the white public — could see it.”

O’Keeffe was a close friend of Carl Van Vechten, whose name adorns the gallery that now displays the Stieglitz Collection. Van Vechten, as O’Leary tells it, was a man taken with the Harlem Renaissance and African-American culture.

“He loved the art, he loved the drama, he loved the writers, he loved the people of Harlem,” O’Leary said. “And I think he was our advocate in trying to persuade Georgia to do something unique and different, and also to benefit Fisk.”

Van Vechten was a strong admirer and friend of Charles S. Johnson, the first African-American president of the university. “This was almost a gift to his friend, but it was through Georgia, because he had nothing to give but his influence,” O’Leary said.

Today, of course, anyone who wants to lay eyes on the collection may do so. We are no longer living in the segregated South, and placing works of art at a historically black university so that people of any color may experience them is not the subversive social act — or statement — it was in 1949.

Even still, whiffs of that era continue to clog our collective sinuses, and institutions like Fisk are crucial in our evolving understanding of a fully integrated society. Fisk’s starred national reputation stands not only among historically black schools but liberal arts institutions in general. No doubt, an internationally recognized collection of this caliber has furthered students’ understanding of art, expression, culture and place.

Now, the university’s board and president must leverage new money into a more stable financial future — or so one hopes.

I am an outsider to this, to be sure, but it seems that keeping the university afloat now so that it may better prepare for the coming years serves its mission more than adhering to an agreement whose time has, in many ways but certainly not all, passed.

64 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 9/20/10 at 6:41

Hey! NO Letter! NO Ask Amy! What happened?

By: budlight on 9/20/10 at 7:05

They are upset and offended by the constant troll bashing.

By: dargent7 on 9/20/10 at 7:41

I think they ran all the posts thru a Cray computer and the thing melted down by the sheer stupidity.
That, or they are taking responsibilty to put us out of our misery.
Or, the guy who edits it committed suicide after watching the Titans "play" football Sunday.
Take your pick.

By: bfra on 9/20/10 at 7:44

If it walks like a troll, squawks like a troll, looks like a troll, it is a TROLL!

By: dargent7 on 9/20/10 at 8:08

bFrA: I'm just sorry I can't badger you people all day for the Titans "performance" on Sunday.
3rd and then a 4th string Steeler QB can whip VY and KC?
I thought VY had "matured", got his rhythm, "learned his lessons", was in sync, had "bonded", and that thuggling CJ was going for 2,500 yds. this season. Dude had 34. My grandmother could of had 50. ....the whole team stunk!

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 8:16

Maybe its because everyone is getting off the subject started and they don't know how to correct it.

By: Funditto on 9/20/10 at 8:22

Those Steeler's pants sure were shiny. That's all I have to say about it as I know nothing else about this silly, silly game.

Sally F. Bone wrote a letter, I heard but has yet to be published. She asked me to pass it along to you: She is lamenting on the fact that here it is, almost six weeks into the school year and two of her child's classes at Nashville's top public high school - which is in the Mayor's own backyard - do not have teachers. That's two classes a day where the students do NOTHING. She asks Mayor Dean how he can even consider building a baseball stadium and an amphitheater now when our schools are in such decline - physically and academically. It's just not right.

By: bfra on 9/20/10 at 8:23

d7 - Agree on the game. VY is not pro QB material and IMO, never will be. Had KC been put in earlier, the ending score might have been different, but that is only a speculation. But it was a beautiful day, weather wise!

yogi - They have to give a good subject to start with, and no one can tell me they didn't have good ltes to print today.

By: bfra on 9/20/10 at 8:27

Fun - My granddaughter is in a brand new school, over 30 in her class and they still don't have necessary supplies.

Dean doesn't care about schools & education, he is too busy building his ego monuments, whether the money is there or not. He has a blank check from the taxpayers.

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 8:29

I think it was all of those factors D'Argent.

Good Morning all.

Other stuff happening in the news-

Jim DeMint has put graffiti on the wall in D.C.

More fun from central planning:

"Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it." ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 8:31

bfra, they are building a new convention center. Producer 2 will tell you that it is more important than schools and water mains that are falling apart.

But I like your priorities better than Dean and the Metro council.

By: dargent7 on 9/20/10 at 8:35

It's been pointed out repeadley, the LTE has no bearing on what we talk about.
Someone can throw out a highly intellectual, and deep topic, like, "Don't those Titans stink!", and we can go from there.
Eli Manning should teach big brother Peyton a lesson and steal his wife.
That'll show him who's boss. At least off the field.

By: dargent7 on 9/20/10 at 8:38

Oh, I just thought of one...this TP O'Donnell fruitcake has all these appearences on Bill Maher saying she dabbled in 'witchcraft", dropped acid, had serial sexual encounters"...he's playing them relentlessly. She's toast.

By: Funditto on 9/20/10 at 8:43

She had been scheduled to appear on the Sunday news shows but cancelled after Maher played the clip. LOL! I hope all the tea partiers win their primaries and beyond. The fringe is loud, but they are outnumbered. Just wait.

Speaking of fringe, has anyone heard from IDGAF?

By: Loner on 9/20/10 at 8:43

And a bright good morning to Nashville!

If there is no LTE, our flock of posters seems to roost on whatever City Voices offering is available.....we are like blackbirds perched on a "telephone wire"....the NCP is reducing the number of wires on which we can alight. Maybe it's deliberate, perhaps it's simply neglect. The irony lies in the fact that we ARE the voices of the city...and beyond....any "amens" on that?

By: localboy on 9/20/10 at 8:44

Go 'Dores!

By: bfra on 9/20/10 at 8:47

Producer2 is like Little Jack Horner, he thinks he will get a plum! For all his over hyped Karl worship, I hope he gets a rotten one.

By: Loner on 9/20/10 at 8:51

Wait until they expose psuedo-populist Carl Paladino's racist E-mails, the tycoon-based Tea Party candidate for NY Governor will be throwing his millions down a rat hole...Son of Cuomo will trounce this knave, like St. George slaying a heard it here first.

By: dargent7 on 9/20/10 at 9:06

Loner: "we're like blackbirds perched on a wire...." No.
More like hyenas eating the scraps from a lion's kill.
But, it works for me.
I could care less about idgaf. Where's "House"?
He didn't turn Republican over the weekend, did he?
The Titans game might of did him in. He had 6 bucks riding on it.

By: Loner on 9/20/10 at 9:22

As for this article, if the artist attached strings to the original gift, those encumberances should be respected and observed, in my opinion.

Frisk should find an alternative way to raise the claimed $131,000 per annum costs of maintaining and securing the works of art. Today, that is not a lot of there another motive for not honoring the artist's request?

Later in this article, we read, "Fisk has said it would receive
$30 million, which would go a long way toward covering its $2 million annual losses." Wait a did $131,000 suddenly become 2 million dollars in per annum costs?

Even if the 2 million figure is correct, that leaves 28 million in gross annual profit, right? If the collection is to be milked as a cash cow, let's be honest about it.

The NCP should dig deeper, exposing the "real reasons" behind controversies like this, this piece seems to be simply reiterating the stated "good reasons".

By: Loner on 9/20/10 at 9:23

Typo: "Frisk" s/h/b "Fisk" bad, Freudian slip unintentional.

By: Loner on 9/20/10 at 9:29

Heyenas? Laughing hyenas, I suppose...lots of LOL's and LMAO's....hey, this is the watering hole, D7...parched throats...the muddy watering holes are drying up...predator and prey alike must come to quench their thirst.....LOL.....LOL.....I need my meds!.

By: Loner on 9/20/10 at 9:40

Let me get this straight ,Fisk to Frist was nixed, Fisk to Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas wasn't nixed? Now that sounds more like "theft", people of Nashville. Or am I missing something here?

By: Funditto on 9/20/10 at 10:02

At least they got the judge's name correct. In the Post it she was called Sandra Hobbs Lyle. Reporters have become so lazy.

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 10:51

Loner, you apparently don't know how to do political math. First, you start off with a dollar. Then you add two more. Fore you know it, you done got three trillion. OK, now you give a little bit here and a little bit there and you finally wind up with that couple of million you wanted to begin with. See? Simple, ain't it?

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 11:21

yogiman must have worked in a government accounting office. I think he summed up 25% of our problems.

If "all politics is local" - then all tax money should remain local to the same degree.

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 11:23

Since we aren't in a specific subject today, may I offer this thought? I placed it on the 17th but apparently it didn't get noticed.

Friday, the 11th, was known as our Constitution Day. It was also a day we must take Congress in concern regarding our Constitution.

The U. S. House and Senate have voted themselves $4,700 and $5,300 pay raises. They voted NOT to give us a Social Security "Cost of Living" raise in 2010 and 2011. Your Medicare (if you have it) will go up $285.60 for the 2-years. You will not get the normal %3 COLA: $660/yr. Over these same 2-years, each Congress person will get $10,000. Do you feel screwed? I sure do. Will they have the costs of your drugs, doctor fees, local taxes, food, ctc. decrease? No way, Hosea.

Congress gave themselves a raise and has better health and retirement benefits that you or I. Why should they care about us? We have left them in Congress too many years without requirements to keep us informed as to what they are doing for themselves, and to us. It is time for the 28th Amendment to be placed in our Constitution. It should be as follows:

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives that does not apply to the citizens of the United States."

Another simple solution to correct our nation's regime: This needs to get known to citizens of our nation. We have put them in office to represent us, and they have forgotten what they are there for. They are only serving themselves. It is time to return our Nation to it's originality.

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 11:27

Amy, you are correct in many ways, but consider; where is the government getting their money to pass out to us? From US. Them they turn around and pass it back out to the preferred. The state officials want every dollar back they can get. Its simply tax payers money being passed around the way they want it to go... in their favor.

By: bfra on 9/20/10 at 11:27

This video is worth watching:

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 12:08

Yogi is right -
"... where is the government gettingour money to pass out to us?"

There is a great sucking sound at the bank on each payday. And so many people thank our federal congressman for building them a library or road, etc. with our own money.

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 1:07

Well said, Amy. I couldn't have said it better myself. Too many people think the government is using their money to help us. Name me one business the government is in that's making money other than taking our money? And what do we get in return? Need I try to tell you?

By: budlight on 9/20/10 at 1:08

bfra on 9/20/10 at 9:27
Fun - My granddaughter is in a brand new school, over 30 in her class and they still don't have necessary supplies

Quite your belly aching and cough up some of your drinking money to buy supplies for those under priviledged children. You can afford it. The state has to spend their money on frivilous things like underground bunkers and convention centers. Who said "children matter"? OH yeah, Dean and Breedesen!

I'm kidding about you buying the supplies. I just think that is what Dean and the political hogs think about us. They build a school with our tax dollars so we should supply the kids' with supplies. NOT!

By: budlight on 9/20/10 at 1:12

dargent7 on 9/20/10 at 9:38
Oh, I just thought of one...this TP O'Donnell fruitcake has all these appearences on Bill Maher saying she dabbled in 'witchcraft", dropped acid, had serial sexual encounters"...he's playing them relentlessly. She's toast.

No, she's being "toasted" and lauded with praise. Who care what she did pre-teen, tween or teeen? YOUR hero, Billy Bob Clinton took blow jobs in the oval office. I don't think pre-college sexual trysts can compare to that debauchery. He committed adultry; embarrassed his wife and family AND LIED TO AMERICA.

He is the standard, so whatever she's dones, pales in comparison.

Oh, and Obama smoked dope (and has hidden or killed off the rest of his "story").

By: budlight on 9/20/10 at 1:13

s/h/b "she's done, pales"

and s/h/b "Who cares"

By: budlight on 9/20/10 at 1:15

yogiman on 9/20/10 at 2:07
Well said, Amy. I couldn't have said it better myself. Too many people think the government is using their money to help us. Name me one business the government is in that's making money other than taking our money? And what do we get in return? Need I try to tell you?

You go, Yogiman. The Gov't is in the business of being in the business of taking our money and mis-using it, while they abuse us. It's downright unlawful and sinful. Wish we could sue them.

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 1:16

I know its a little early to think about who we are going to send Christmas cards to, if we are allowed to do it again, but I would like to suggest we all send one to the ACLDU. They have changed their name to the ACLU to fool us so we shouldn't let them think they really have us fooled again.

As you might know, they are working very hard to eliminate the Christmas part of this holiday season. Let's all send them a Christian card. Just make sure it says, "Merry Christmas". I'm sure, I think, they will enjoy it. HA HA.

Their address is:

125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 1:26

We can sue them, bud. Are you familiar with the civilian grand jury? The government doesn't have a thing to say about it. It US, the people. Those idiots don't think we should try to do anything.

I was taught years ago approximately 2 to 3 percent of the general population were criminally inclined. I firmly believe that 97 to 98 percent of those people (or whatever you want to call them) of the 545 offices in DC fit that 2 to 3 percent category.

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 2:18

Here is some more horrid stuff from Reason magazine:



Those Koch guys funded this stuff? - OMG they should be run out of town! (end of sarcasm).

By: brrrrk on 9/20/10 at 2:23

There's nothing I find more intriguing then seeing Christians rail against the "totalitarian" actions of government when they belong to organizations (church's) that are completely totalitarian in nature.

By: dargent7 on 9/20/10 at 2:39

Bud: "Pre-teen"? O'Donnell was on Bill Mahr as recently as 3 years ago yammering about her 'dabbling". In witchcraft?
She, Bachmann, and "Queen Bee" Palin should form a female, "The Three Stooges".

By: brrrrk on 9/20/10 at 2:47

dargent7 said

"Bud: "Pre-teen"? O'Donnell was on Bill Mahr as recently as 3 years ago yammering about her 'dabbling". In witchcraft?"

For me, the biggest twist in O'Donnell's logic is when she calls herself a "feminist" because she believes in being feminine..... What's the title of that old Steely Dan album, Pretzel Logic?

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 2:47

Brrrk, how hard is it so leave a church? Or never attend one at all.
For that matter how difficult is it to start your own?

Do you know anyone personally who was put in jail for refusing to abide by church rules?

If you don't tithe does your nearest vestryman show up? Try that with your property tax.

See a fundamental difference in the two entities?

By: brrrrk on 9/20/10 at 2:54

AmyLiorate said

"Do you know anyone personally who was put in jail for refusing to abide by church rules?"

Have you ever heard of shunning? Mormons and the Amish are known for it. And the Pope, how many fundamentalist Catholics do you know that will go against the Pope. And what's the price? Total damnation? That's a mighty powerful stick to hit people over the head with.....

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 2:55

I just read this article about our government. Ain't it great?

We're "broke" and can't help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless, etc...

In the last month our government provided aid to Haiti, Chile and Turkey.

Our retired seniors living on a 'fixed' income receive no aid or get any breaks while our government and religious organizations pour hundreds of millions of dollars and tons of food to foreign countries.

We have hundreds of adoptable children who are shoved aside to make room for the adoption of foreign orphans.

The USA is a country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without 'needed' meds and mentally ill without treatment, etc... Yet, they have a 'benefit' for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations, ships and planes lining up with food, water, tents, clothes, bedding, doctors and medical supplies. Imagine if the government gave 'US' the same support they give to other countries.

Sad, isn't it?

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 3:02

How long to Mormons last on your doorstep?

Shunning can be done outside of church groups. I see people on here every day shunning Budlight.

Shunning is the right of voluntary association. If they are on private property would you force them to talk with someone they don't want to?

In all but the farthest corners of the planet people are aware of protestant churches. I can't recall any protestant churches that would close the door rather than talk to a Catholic.

World over most Catholics are probably just as aware of the theory of evolution.

Their beliefs are done freely or else they suffer from their own infliction.

By: yogiman on 9/20/10 at 3:05

Folks, much is being said about the O'Donnell girl. Look, past is past. We all have pasts in our lives we probably would not do over again. That is history. There isn't anything you can do about it. If she has changed her atmosphere and attitude, she could be a good person for our legislature. Remember, the girl remembers her past and doesn't seem to regret it (would you?). She might be a better future for our nation.

By: bfra on 9/20/10 at 3:13

Amy - I personally know some one that was sued because she couldn't meet her tithe pledge, due to the sudden death of her husband and they had 3 small children.

By: brrrrk on 9/20/10 at 3:16

AmyLiorate said

How long to Mormons last on your doorstep?

"Shunning is the right of voluntary association. If they are on private property would you force them to talk with someone they don't want to?"

Do you know what shunning is? Because given what you said, I doesn't sound like it. Shunning is the punishment directed at individuals who fail to adhere to church policy just like prosecution is the punishment for not paying taxes. And for some, being shunned by everyone that you've known all your life may as well be a jail sentence.

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 3:28

For not paying your taxes they will A. take some of your property (money) or B. put you in jail.

Face it, your statement was flawed.

No one who ceases to abide by the Amish ways has their property taken.

You are showing how your mind works though. You seem to believe that this happens all the time and that it is as bad as jail.

Bottom line is beliefs are a choice. You are free to change your mind and go to no church or another one.

On the contrary people like you would like to force "progressive" socialism upon the whole mass of US citizens. You are much more willing to use force for your purposes than I am.

Brrrk have you ever noticed that my points are always for the individual to be free(r) while yours do not seem to allow for that?

By: AmyLiorate on 9/20/10 at 3:33

"... begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community."

Emphasis mine.

"Their behavior during this time represents no necessary bar to returning for adult baptism into the Amish church."

There are differing opinions on the matter of this, and yes shunning can be much different than rumspringa.

For all the evil there are in churches you can't find a person you know who suffers from the fear of shunning? None who have had more force used to keep them in church than I would find if I didn't pay my 18th speeding ticket.

I can tell a preacher to go to hell. You go tell a judge that. Get back in touch with me with your results, ok?