Sunday, February 14, 2021

"I don’t know how many billionaires sit on the board of trustees, arguably the most prestigious and desirable in Manhattan, but I am comfortable going with the adjective 'plenty.' Time to start writing lots more checks, or time to step aside." (UPDATED)

Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Christopher Knight weighs in on the "bombshell that New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art dropped into the news cycle the other day." "I don’t know about you," he writes, "but I am sick to death of reading about art museums and their scandalous schemes for stress-free fundraising by throwing principles to the winds and selling art from their collections to pay for programs, staffing and other operational costs, pandemic induced or not." He notes that "in the last 10 months, museums in Long Beach, Palm Springs, Baltimore, New York’s Syracuse, Brooklyn and now Manhattan have been behaving badly."

Confronted with all this naughtiness, "two words immediately popped into [his] head: Patriot Act."

To show how little has changed in this debate, here is my exchange with Knight from back in 2009. And here is an exchange he had with Brandeis philosophy professor Jerry Samet around the same time. More recently, the Deaccessioning Hall of Fame Scholar-in-Residence, and others, had some thoughts in response to Knight's views on the Syracuse-based "bad behavior" here.

UPDATE: Tyler Green seconds Knight's motion: "NYC has 113 billionaires. Many are on the Met's board. The wealth of billionaires increased $1.1T during the first ten months of the pandemic. It's on their fat asses."