Covid Journal, February 7, 2021
Let the Great Pillage of Covid Begin …
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is probably not the first institution nor will it be the last to announce that due to plummeting attendance and events they will have to sell off assets to the highest bidders.
What was once a beautiful collection of human works on public display will now slither into the hands of private collectors and covetors.
Facing a potential shortfall of $150 million because of the pandemic, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has begun conversations with auction houses and its curators about selling some artworks to help pay for care of the collection.
“This is the time when we need to keep our options open,” said Max Hollein, the Met’s director, in an interview. “None of us have a full perspective on how the pandemic will play out. It would be inappropriate for us not to consider it, when we’re still in this foggy situation.”
Like many institutions, the Met is looking to take advantage of a two-year window in which the Association of Art Museum Directors — a professional organization that guides its members’ best practices — has relaxed the guidelines that govern how proceeds from sales of works in a collection (known as deaccessioning) can be directed.
The Brooklyn Museum led the way last fall in taking advantage of this shift, raising a total of $31 million at auction sales in the United States and Europe for the care of its artworks.
More controversially, the Baltimore Museum of Art followed suit soon after by announcing that it would deaccession paintings by Brice Marden, Clyfford Still and Andy Warhol. After criticism and talks with the museum directors association, the museum decided to pull the works by Still and Marden two hours before the sale.
What we’re doing with so many bailouts of companies – that then pay distributions as dividends or bonuses to senior executives – is enabling the funding of the great rape of our cultural institutions that will take place over the next few years as every public art institution suffers as a result of the ‘pandemic’.
I have a suggestion: STOP distributions to companies and give funding to the institutions instead, with a strict mandate that art should not fall into the hands of private collectors as a result of pandemic measures.
Of course, this is a pipedream.
Get used to just seeing a digital version of the Mona Lisa or the great works of folks like Van Gogh, Picasso and Warhol.
They’ll be locked up to never be seen again by the broad eyes of all humanity.
A Year Later …
The world has a full year to adapt to what I can only call ‘new rules’.
Citizens have had to abide by extremely strict limitations on their mobility, freedom and even their sense of dignity.
We’ve had most basic human rights stripped from us over the last year.
Unfortunately, we haven’t leveled the playing field and this ‘we’re all in this together’ bullshit has to stop.
If we continue to spread money around to large corporations such as Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities, food processors and manufacturers, where are our demands for the following:
- A tight, controlled Covid-case minimization plan?
- ZERO dividend / bonus / shareholder redistribution payments until we’re well past any changes to civil liberties?
- Full, complete transparency with payments made to any company?
- Requirements for paid sick leave, especially for essential workers? And paid sick leave that comes from the pockets of owners, not taxpayers?
- Even more severe limitations on travel?
- A focus on ‘hives’ of Covid deaths and cases, especially with the elderly, processing facilities and schools?
- Forcing universities to shut operations and reimburse students (mainly because schools have become the second largest source of new cases over the last year)?
- Round-tables that support individual rights in balance with the need to suppress Covid?
Because we’re not being clear about what’s happening and because we continue to feel like we’re just spinning our wheels in mud, more and more citizens are going to get increasingly frustrated by half-assed measures that are, ultimately, pointless.
America’s Biggest Owner of Farmland …
Bill Gates, the fourth richest person in the world and a self-described nerd who is known for his early programming skills rather than his love of the outdoors, has been quietly snatching up 242,000 acres of farmland across the U.S. — enough to make him the top private farmland owner in America.
After years of reports that he was purchasing agricultural land in places like Florida and Washington, The Land Report revealed that Gates, who has a net worth of nearly $121 billion according to Forbes, has built up a massive farmland portfolio spanning 18 states. His largest holdings are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). Additionally, he has a stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, which is being developed as a new suburb.
Yeah … because that’s not going to ‘feed’ conspiracy theories about Gates messing around with food genomes.
He’s one of the richest men on the planet because an entire generation has accepted mediocrity and monopoly for personal computers.
Let’s see what he can do with food, shall we?