The Rubin Museum of Art. Photo: Ben Hider. Courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art.

New York’s Rubin Museum to Cut Jobs and Programs in Major Restructuring

The Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan is planning a massive reorganization that would involve laying off 25 percent of the staff, cutting back the number of exhibitions it organizes from five or six per year to two, and reducing its hours. The Art Newspaper reports that executive director Jorrit Britschgi informed employees of the impending changes on Wednesday and said that they will allow the museum to “chart a course for long-term financial sustainability and success.”

According to Britschgi, the museum had been able to support its current operations because of a $25 million gift that founders Donald and Shelly Rubin gave the institution in 2011. Since the funds are projected to run out in 2020, the museum needs to adapt to stay afloat. “The changes that we’re making will currently give us another thirty years to live, for sure,” he said, adding that it’s still important to reassess its financial health and workplace environment every five years.

As part of the restructuring, the museum will hire individuals for the newly created positions of chief executive experience officer and specialist of Himalayan ideas, launch an artist residency program, and exhibit more contemporary art. The institution will also work toward maintaining a healthier budget—it currently has an operating budget of about $16 million—and fundraising.  

For board president Robert Baylis, these initiatives “will allow the Rubin to better serve our audiences in New York City and around the globe and will ensure our financial health as we continue to share the richness of Himalayan art and ideas.” “While hard choices accompanied these changes, the board is confident in the direction of the Rubin,” he said in a statement.