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Ex-trustee knocks Dede Wilsey, says museums are run by ‘schmucks’

Monday, April 15, 2013

On top of all the unrest at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, now New Guinea war drums are beating. Ex-board member John Friede, the New Yorker who, with his wife, Marcia, donated a world-renowned collection of New Guinea art to the de Young that they spent decades collecting, is irate that the museum is about to sell some of the choicest pieces at auction. The Jolika Collection, named for the couple’s three children, occupies its own gallery at the de Young, unveiled with the museum’s post-renovation re-opening in 2005. And Friede is hot, as he tells the Chronicle:

Of course I regret it. I wish I had given it to a real institution, like the Chicago museum or the Dallas museum or the Seattle museum.”

And he leaves little doubt that his real ire rests with board president Dede Wilsey. Excerpt [brackets mine]:

Under Board of Trustees President Dede Wilsey, the de Young Museum “is a philistine encampment,” with trustees who ”have no interest in art,” he said.

Nearly the entire board should be replaced, Friede added.

“The de Young and the Legion [of Honor] are important institutions to San Francisco,” he said. “You can’t have them run by schmucks.”

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