Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fisk and the perennial problem of "donor intent"

Donn Zaretsky recently posted that he couldn't get his head around how moving the Stieglitz Collection to the Frist Center as per the Attorney General's proposal announced last Friday would more closely approximate O'Keeffe's purported intent than keeping it at Fisk six months of the year in accordance with the Crystal Bridges arrangement. The real problem, however, is not determining which of the two alternatives is closer to O'Keeffe's charitable "intent." Rather, the problem as I see it is the fact that cy-près relief is grounded in a notion as malleable as "donor intent" (especially a late donor's intent) and that donors freely and frequently attach a plethora of conditions to their public donations.

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