Monday, September 5, 2011

The High Price of High Art - Museum Admission Rises as Economy Falters

If you haven't been to the Museum of Modern Art lately - or looked on its website, it may surprise you to learn that the museum increased its daily admission to $25 as of September 1.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art increased its "recommended" admission to $25 on July 1.  Is a museum visit worth $25?  Or $50, if you are a couple?  Or $100 - if you are a family of 4?  And so on . . .
As our wages or fixed-incomes are worth less and less everyday, POW!  the museums remind us that their financial situation are pretty dismal too.  Or are they?  Where are the big donor dollars going?  How is it possible that a collector can shell out millions on one painting and not donate generously to support hundreds of artworks for public consumption?

In his book Red Museum (The Orange Press, 2011)Dr. Paul Werner explains it all to you.
Fundamentally, it's the economics of the "haves" and "have nots" - and the irony that most artists (who potentially supply museums) can't afford the high cost of museum admission (a perfect topic for Labor Day 2011).  Consider van Gogh's financial situation.  Now you get it.
Of course, there are always the art galleries - which are absolutely free and often offer museum quality shows.  Thankfully, artists can visit these venues.  But what about the Old Master's?  It's a challenge -  and a disservice to everyone who finds such prices too dear.  Art should be free. And the cafeterias and shops can raise funds for the museums.  Membership as well.

That said, here are ways to minimize the high cost of museum admission: