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tline3open  "I am invited" ????? SPAM???

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Author Topic:   "I am invited" ????? SPAM???
iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 03:49 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have you seen/gotten what might be SPAM which starts out:

"As Vice President of Research of xxxx-deleted-xxxx, and founding Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston for nearly thirty years, and more than a decade of curatorial work at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, I am invited to comment on selected objects at forthcoming auctions at important international and regional houses like Christie's, Sotheby's, and Pook & Pook to name a few."

My questions:

  • Does anyone know who invited him to comment? "I am invited to comment ....."
  • Is this something the Auction Houses are behind?
  • Is it appropriate and/or ethical for someone even loosely associated (past, present or future) with the MFAB or Winterthur to be promoting auction items?

To me it just doesn't feel right, so into the trash it goes.

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Posts: 17
Registered: Jul 99

iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 11:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Vi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have received the same email and have no idea if it is legitimate or questionable. Vi

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Posts: 17
Registered: Jul 99

iconnumber posted 03-19-2004 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Vi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
PS I did think the email you are questioning came from the Artfact that is an internet program that appraisers use. I thought it was quite expensive to join and none of the writers listings pertained to silver so I just did not reply. Vi

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1792
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-20-2004 01:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I began receiving similar or identical emails after I signed up for a free one day trial of Artfact (a site that compiles auction listings & prices from around the country). It wasn't worth the $$ for me to subscribe permanently so I didn't. I think they are just pestering us to join.

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Ulysses Dietz

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-22-2004 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmm...from the SPAM it would appear to be Jonathan Fairbanks, who was very badly treated by the MFA after a lifetime's career there. Technically, since he is a former curator, and both the MFA Boston and his Winterthur credentials give him much deserved status in the world of American antiques, there is no ethical reason that he can't trade on his training and his experience. He would not be the first decorative arts scholar to shift form the museum world to the commercial world.

It would be out of the question if he were still employed by a museum - this is clearly written into the American Association of Museums code of ethics. That's why I, as a curator, cannot appear on the Antiques Road Show, except (were it to happen) as a "side bar" curatorial moment. Curators may not give monetary values nor can we officially "authenticate" objects. We can only offer opinions, based on our experience.

Curators may also not buy and sell objects (i.e. deal) while employed as curators, and they should not collect in a way that would compete with their employer (which usually means that they have to offer anything they buy for themselves to the Museum for which they work, at cost, before they can keep it).

Thus, while it might be a little sad that a great curator such as Jonathan has been forced to shill for auction houses (whose ethics are not, as we all know, 100%), there is absolutely no reason that he shouldn't cash in on his expertise - any more than amateur sports heroes shouldn't cash in on product endorsements.

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iconnumber posted 03-22-2004 10:17 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You have given me a broader perspective...
Since I didn't invite his oppinion - I still feel it is SPAM. But now instead of slamming it into the trash, I will respect his right to make a living and gently place it into the receptical. wink

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-22-2004 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its a lengthy document with tiny type but if you are interested here is a link to the American Association of Museums (AAM)

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