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The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Guggenheim Museum Prepares for $10 Million Loss, Furloughs 92 Employees

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York is the latest major arts institution to furlough workers as cultural activity across the city moves from physical spaces to digital ones. While the number of hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in New York has started to fall, the number of deaths in the state remains high—on Friday, April 10, another 777 people died. New York may be making strides in flattening the curve of the virus, but Governor Andrew Cuomo stressed that millions of New Yorkers will need to be tested for the virus before the state can reopen.

Because of the prolonged closure, the Guggenheim, which hopes to welcome people back to the museum in July, is expecting to lose more than $10 million in revenue from ticket sales and canceled events. The anticipated shortfall is the reason museum management decided to announce this morning that it would furlough ninety-two workers and cut the salaries of about eighty-five staff members who earn more than $80,000. According to the Guggenheim’s union, this affects around twenty members of its bargaining unit, which is still negotiating with the museum over a contract.

Among the museums that have also reduced their workforces amid the coronavirus pandemic are the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams; and the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh.

“All members of our community are now experiencing the sudden, unfathomable impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the world,” museum director Richard Armstrong said in a statement provided to Artnews. “Despite the many temporary obstacles we now face, I am confident that we will come through this together, emerging newly united.”