Ionarts reader Chris Hand (who lives in Montreal and blogs at Zeke's Gallery) wrote to me recently about my post on the Artothek phenomenon in Germany (see The Perfect Use for the Lottery, February 2). As you may recall, I was shocked to learn that people in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and so on could borrow artwork from an artothek in the same way you could borrow a book from a library. Chris writes:
Here in Montreal, pretty much all the museums rent out work, and the Canadian Government actually has an art lending bank. All of them are cheap (although not as cheap as the Artothek). I did not realize that this was not standard practice in other cities. Pity.He also sent the following two links: the Artbank (site in French, La banque d'œuvres d'art), run by the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Rental Gallery of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Since we already loved the city of Montreal, one of the beautiful and interesting places of this world, Ionarts does not need to hear too many more reasons before relocating to Canada or Europe becomes not only desirable but imperative.
If the National Gallery of Art ever catches up with its enlightened Canadian counterparts, Mark Rothko's Man Smoking (1933) is going to be the perfect addition to my music room. For a few months. Then, maybe I would go for Kandinsky's Small Worlds I (1922). Turner's drawing A Yorkshire River (c. 1827) or Vuillard's Vase of Flowers on a Mantelpiece would also be nice.
I'm quite serious when I say that one of the presidential candidates (how many of them are left now?) should jump on this issue. I could actually regain some interest in the primary race. (This goes against our inclination: see the Ionarts motto in the upper righthand corner.)