Wednesday, July 19, 2006


BlogBacks: Met's Admissions Frissons

Here are a few readers' responses to my defense of the Metropolitan Museum's new suggested $20 adult admission fee.

CRAIG RANAPIA: I'm not really sure the "suggested admission fee" isn't really a semantic slight of hand. After all, as anyone whose met my mother can tell you, 'suggestions' properly expressed can sound a hell of a lot like an order.

I'm quite aware that cultural institutions don't keep their doors open on moonbeams and good intentions, public and private charity are unreliable sources of income, and I always have the choice to turn on my heels and walk out if I think a clearly posted admission charge is unreasonable or I just don't have enough cash. (While I don't like it any more than you, I can see a rationale for charging admission to special exhibitions while leaving core collections open to the public. Whether these so-called "blockbuster" shows are worth the tab for visitors and institutions is another debate.)

As far as I'm concerned, if you're going to install a turnstile in your entrance be honest about what you're doing and why. Don't try and shame twenty dollar bills out of people.

MARK BARRY: The new Met admission isn't that important, as long as they retain the "suggested" portion. I'm immune to the cashier, no matter the response. Many of them are also artists and could care less. My wife gets embarrassed at times, so to compromise I'll give a quarter, for two.

A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE HOMELESS MUSEUM, which describes itself as "a subversive, multi-disciplinary art project": The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the richest museum in the country, is in dire need of funds. The Homeless Museum (HoMu) invites you to support this great institution on Tuesday, Aug. 1, when the Met's new "suggested" admission fee goes into effect, by paying the entire $20 fee with pennies only. Please present 200 ounces (or 12.5 pounds) of pennies at the cash registrar for admission.

This is HoMu's second Penny Campaign. The first one was conducted in November 2004 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Do you think Randy Kennedy will pony up his pennies?

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