As blogged here earlier, Nashville’s Fisk University is in such bad financial shape that it is trying to sell off portions of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, the greatest art collection in the state.
Now comes news that Wal-Mart heiress Alice L. Walton wants to buy a half interest in the Stieglitz Collection for a mere $30 million. The estimated value of one painting alone–the Radiator Building shown below–is $20 million.
If this dirty deal goes down, the Collection would spend half the time at the new Chrystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The irony of this offer is unreal: the ill-gotten gains from Wal-Mart, a company whose predatory business practices have led to the extinction of hundreds of family-owned hardware stores, drug stores, and other small town establishments is now being used to take advantage of Fisk when the university is on its financial knees.
According to the offer put forth by Chrystal Bridge–the name sounds like a resident of some Arkansas trailer park–the Stieglitz Collection would spend half of the year in Bentonville, a hick town mostly visited by manufacturing representatives who come to the Wal-Mart Death Star in hopes of selling more cheap, Chinese-made goods to the company.
The best story I have seen on this sad situation is in Christine Kreyling’s article in the Nashville Scene.
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