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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Photo: Lauren Cavalli.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Lays Off Eighty-One Employees

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first arts institution in New York to close its doors to contain the spread of Covid-19, has laid off eighty-one employees who work in front-facing positions, including visitor services associates and retail workers. Top executives at the museum will also be taking voluntary pay cuts. The salaries of museum director Max Hollein and president and CEO Daniel H. Weiss will be reduced by 20 percent, and nearly a dozen other members of the senior management team will have their salaries cut by 10 percent.

The news comes on the heels of furloughs and job cuts at the Broad in Los Angeles and MoMA PS1 in New York. The Broad is letting 129 part-time workers and one full-time employee go starting Friday, and MoMA PS1 furloughed forty-seven people, more than half of its employees. “Even at such a time, PS1’s culture is deeply rooted in caring for each other and our communities, and I am extremely grateful for the dedication of the museum’s extraordinary staff,” Fowle said in a statement provided to Artnews. “I look forward to the day when we will be through this crisis and able to become a whole team again.”

On March 30, the Met told its workforce, which comprises 2,200 employees, that they would be paid until May 2—it previously only guaranteed paychecks until April 4. At the time, Weiss told the New York Times: “Our highest priority remains to support our staff as best we can in helping to keep everyone safe and as financially secure as possible. We realize that this announcement of a four-week extension of full salary support does not provide enduring comfort, but at the moment it is the best we can do in a rapidly evolving situation.” The institution is bracing for a $100 million shortfall in revenue and expects to remain closed through July. 

In a new statement issued by the museum, Weiss said: “Our two primary objectives continue to be doing all that we can to support the health and safety of our community and to protect the long-term financial health of the museum. The arts and culture community is facing a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in our lifetimes. On this our 150th anniversary year, we take strength from the resilience and vision that built our beloved institution. While we are not immune from the impact of this pandemic, the Met is a strong and enduring institution and will remain one.”

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