Struggling With $10 Million Deficit, Metropolitan Museum May Cut Staff by 100

In April, the institution first indicated it would make cutbacks.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo Steven Pisano, via Flickr.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has been struggling in the face of a $10 million deficit, and that struggle may include staff cuts numbering as many as 100, the museum has told the New York Times.

The institution first indicated cutbacks in April, warning that its deficit could grow to $40 million if it didn’t take action. At the time, the museum said that layoffs would number in the dozens, rather than the hundreds. While more than 50 staffers have accepted voluntary buyouts, another 50 or more may have to go, reports the Times, indicating that curatorial and conservation jobs could be cut by an additional five percent, and administrative staff by as much as 20 percent.

The museum has incurred growing expenses with a series of ambitious initiatives. It embarked on a much-needed gut renovation of its wing for modern and contemporary art with a $600 million price tag. That project is now on hold. In 2011, it leased the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Madison Avenue building, dubbing it the Met Breuer (after its architect, Marcel Breuer), at what the Times indicates was a cost of $17 million in annual operating expenses as well as about $15 million in renovations.

Smaller in price but widely criticized was the museum’s new graphic identity, which rang up at $3 million and was met with widespread mockery.

Among the high-profile departures, announced last month, were the museum’s first chief digital officer, Sree Sreenivasan, as well as Cynthia Round, senior vice president for marketing and external relations, and Susan Sellers, head of design. All three had started at the museum in summer 2013.

The Times darkly indicates that “some are questioning the museum’s direction under Thomas P. Campbell” and that “some have questioned Mr. Campbell’s decision to devote significant resources to the Met Breuer,” though it does not indicate who these questioners might be.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.