Spotted this in a long article on Lee Rosenbaum’s Culturegrrl blog:
Just posted online: the Met’s fiscal 2006 annual report…You will learn that although “fiscal year 2006 was an exceptional year for the Museum,” with “strong endowment growth,” the museum nevertheless ran its fifth straight annual operating deficit, with last year’s amounting to $3.2 million…. All told, the Met raised $26,829,579 from art disposals [i.e. selling works at auction] in fiscal 2006 (ending June 30), compared to $538,404 the previous year (when only two over-$50,000 items made the published list). The money spent on art acquisitions in 2006 was $34.83 million, compared to $99.21 million the previous year (presumably boosted by the Duccio.)”
So, basically, the Met ran a $3.2M deficit despite selling off $26.3M more art than in the previous year. And that’s the Met. I remember reading a recent report that 60 percent (or something like that) of British museums have no acquisitions budget at all. As in “0.00 Pounds Sterling.” This is bad news on the cultural-legacy front.
The booming art market may be great for artists, dealers, collectors and consultants, but for museums and curators it doesn’t seem to be making life any easier. And in some ways it’s complicating things.