U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | RE: Galleries & Museums in New York City - Photography

RE: Galleries & Museums in New York City - Photography

>Yes, but this is an article from a newspaper? 

Yes, the New York Sun.

I looked into it a bit more and the relationship between the city and the
museum is fairly complex - the city owns the building and land, the
nonprofit holds the art in trust.  But it's not that the museum is just a
renter, because the money flow is in the other direction - as part of this
membership in the New York Cultural Institutions Group the city kicks in
millions of dollars a year.  Because of this the city can dictate terms to
the museum to a certain extent - the museum is in the end much like a
regulated utility.

I think it's fairly clear that part of why they raised their suggested
donation was that the New York MoMA raised their rates and they didn't want
to look like they were lesser quality or whatever, but that's neither here
nor there.

Generally speaking this kind of subsidy - like most cultural subsides -  can
be viewed as a subsidy for the middle class since the rich can afford it
anyway and the poor can't afford even the regular admission.  To avoid this
typically cities and other institutions (colleges, etc) who are major
(effectively controlling) donors attach some strings - making it a suggested
donation, making there be some free days (which wealthier types avoid like
the plague), having generous deductions for locals (show your ID to get a
discount) - I've seen several ways of doing it as I travel around but the
point is to make sure that everybody benefits.  The city of New York appears
to prefer the donation system, since that's what they're requiring, and that
way people of all income levels can go without trying to take the fourth
Tuesday of the month off of work.

Anyway, the whys don't really matter.  The bottom line is it's a great
museum, and they've set it up so you can kick in what you think is fair, and
it seems to be a pretty functional system.  Oh, and the food there's pretty
good too, so you can support the museum that way as well.  Hopefully next
time in I'm out that way I'll have enough time to do more than a mad
overwhelming dash through the place!