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My Vivian Maier project evoked a spectrum of responses ranging from widespread support to a few cases of negative criticism. I want to address a particular sharp criticism recently brought up in a Rivet News Radio interview by Julia Gray with Pamela Bannos. 

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UPDATE November 15, 2015: Apparently, Rivet Radio has pulled down this podcast. I cannot answer the questions as to why, but recommend that you contact Rivet Radio if you have questions.

Here is a link to a copy of the original radio interview from Soundcloud.

UPDATE November 18, 2015: Regretfully, the Soundcloud file too seems to have been removed.

As evident from their interview (above link), their concerns relate to the belief that the owners and managers of Maier’s archives had enjoyed gross profiteering and therefore had mismanaged the Vivian Maier legacy.

Although I certainly don’t appreciate the delivery of the criticism, I do appreciate and respect the concern. To allay those concerns I am publishing my 1120 tax records. By sharing these records it may help in forming well rounded opinions.

Simultaneously, I believe the tax forms would be welcomed by the lawyers for Cook County Probate in helping them formulate well rounded decisions.

As a summary to the 1120’s, the first 2 years were money losers (meaning I paid out of pocket to keep operations going), the 3rd year was break even, the fourth year was marginally better than the third, and during the fifth year I actually had the expectation I could start to receive back pay and schedule an ongoing salary. Lawyer David Deal’s actions pre-empted that from taking place.

As a perspective, on our best year of 2014, I operated the entire project on what is equal to ½ of what one attorney bills out at annually. I’m using the conservative rate for attorneys of $350 per hour.

Meaning, my total project’s costs; one Project Coordinator and two master silver gelatin printers, one to two continuous part timers for other varied services, custom museum quality frames and mattes (100s), custom made boxing, shipping nationally and internationally, add in international taxes, art insurance, general taxes, corporate cost, attorney(s), accountant(s), national and international travel (fun), office rent, fire proof storage, alarm systems, computers, scanners, general office furniture, equipment and more, operated on what one single attorney bills out for 6 months for his or her services.

Flat out, this was not only an expensive start-up project, it was expensive to build and maintain. Considering the level of professional quality we achieved on what some would consider a skimpy budget, we did incredibly well. However financially, we actually never even turned a profit.

In public forums I repeatedly stated, “Eleven out of ten art projects fail (mainly for financial reasons).” For a brief period of time this project seemed like the exception. It was the exception in that it’s demise wasn’t financial but was caused by reckless and misguided scalawags who felt a sense of entitlement to what we created. The assumption they made was that this project was a cash cow. “Holy Cow,” (Harry Carry’s voice here), does such a thing even exist? In the past when people have mentioned to me “a cash cow business,” I always thought it was meant as too good to be true. And who ever has heard of a cash cow in the field of the arts?

The Vivian Maier project was a priceless experience that added another rich chapter to the lives of those fortunate enough to have been involved. What drove us was our combined love of labor (we’re all blue collar Chicagoans), and our dedication and love for the arts. The project was wildly successful, but the numbers are the numbers.

As I have said previously,”11 out of 10 art projects fail.”

Sincerely, Jeffrey Goldstein

Please view, The Heart of the Vivian Maier Project, and

Tossed Vivian Maier Material, 2015
"I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, I would rank the governmental oversight and handling of this case a solid zero."
- Jeffrey Goldstein, read more in the Q&A