Friday, March 1, 2013

Bay Guardian has the goods on Dede Wilsey

Some people think that this is not an issue but I don't agree.

Somebody anonymously sent the SFBG a treasure trove of e-mails, correspondence and other info which documents just how "DeDe" Wilsey is using the Fine Arts Museums as her private art errand boys (and girls). The paper notes that since veteran curator Lynn Orr was fired (with only a day's notice), more than half a dozen veteran staff have been fired, including Bill White, the manager for three decades of de Young's Exhibition Design department.

The most blatant public of Mrs. Wilsey using the de Young for personal reasons happened last year. She used the de Young first floor galleries to display her son's aimless and unfocused photo collection. This behavior was so openly unethical that almost all of the Bay Area's arts writers noted it.

But using staff members to photograph, clean, ship and document private art works is a behind the scenes behavior that has only now come to public attention (or to the attention of those of us who are paying attention):

"There are established professional standards governing the operations of art museums, and the Guardian phoned several experts to determine whether it's common practice for a member of the Board of Trustees to call upon museum staff members to handle their personal artwork. In response, communications director Dewey Blanton of the American Alliance of Museums highlighted an ethical standard stating, "No individual can use his or her position with the museum for personal gain."

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