Taylor: Croydon casting itself into cultural wilderness

Patrick Steel, 19.11.2013
MA director explains decision to bar Croydon on Radio 4
Croydon is effectively “casting itself into the cultural wilderness” by going ahead with the sale of items from its Riesco collection, the Museums Association’s (MA) director Mark Taylor told Radio 4’s You&Yours programme.

“The collection was given to the museum for the people of Croydon,” he said. “If they are selling this stuff then they must do it right, and the money must go back into the museum. They have not done that.

“Effectively what Croydon is doing is casting itself into cultural wilderness. No donor, no sponsor will want to get involved with them.

"And we will be pressing the arts council to take away their Accreditation, which would mean they would not receive any public funding for the museum. So they are in effect leaving the museum sector.”

The MA announced last week that it would bar Croydon from future membership of the MA because the sale did not meet its code of ethics.

The art critic Brian Sewell, who spoke in favour of the sale, said: “I don’t think we should regard every single work of art as sacrosanct. We make life very difficult when we persist in idea that there is something holy about works of art.”

But Taylor said that the MA was not disputing that: “The MA believes that museums can and should dispose of items, but for the right reasons, and where items are sold the money should be reinvested back into the collections. Croydon has not done this."

Croydon Council declined to take part in the programme.

Listen to the programme here (BBC website)