Monday, October 31, 2011
Just last Thursday I was discussing the Occupy Museums protest with HDB and Michael here in the office. It never would have occurred to me that the next morning, while at an Art Authentication Symposium at Columbia Law School, I'd become a first hand witness to the movement.
After the coffee break, and after Laurence Kanter's lecture on connoisseurship, Elizabeth Gorayeb (a Specialist of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby's) began her lecture on provenance. Within the first 10 minutes she was interrupted by one protestor. Then another. And then another. It was a little shocking, to say the least. This was the most unexpected interruption--at first I wasn't entirely sure what was going on. The second or third protestor made it clear that in addition to the art handlers' fight for pension plans, they were protesting the fact that Columbia's president, Michael Sovern, sits on the Board of Directors of the auction house. Each of the 10 or so protestors were escorted out of the lecture hall without incident, and Ms. Gorayeb continued her lecture. Yepppp, the whole thing was somewhat uneventful.
I don't have too much more to say about the protest other than I was there to witness it. It was attention-getting and inconvenient. But then again, what protest isn't? I left that afternoon thinking more about the panel presenters' lectures than the mumblings I could gather from each of the protestors' shouts. Not the most successful Occupy, I'd guess.
Perhaps this one was more successful.