(Photo: MOMA)

The New York Times has decided it’s time to take on the D-word, a word so rife with scandal these days it’s astounding that the venerable paper found it fit to print: deaccessioning.

What’s truly intriguing about Robin Pogrebin’s piece, “The Permanent Collection May Not Be So Permanent,” which explores the practice of museums selling off works from their collection, is that she doesn’t choose to highlight the small institutions like the National Academy Museum or the Rose Art Museum. No, it’s not the recent hullabaloo surrounding these museums’ contentious attempts to offload works to pay for their operating expenses — the cases that have made the issue a flash-point for controversy — that Pogrebin focuses on.

Rather, the article turns to institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art — which largely deaccession works in accordance with the June 2010 policy on deaccessioning published by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) — in the hopes, it seems, of bringing the D-word back into a lexicon of moral respectability.

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