Brooklyn Museum Offers Staff Buyouts to Cut Costs

Pasternak calls it a "course correction."

The Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum

Exactly one year into her tenure as director of the Brooklyn Museum, Anne Pasternak has offered staff buyouts in a cost-cutting measure as it faces a $3 million deficit.

The move comes after the museum has garnered positive notices for reinstallations of the galleries devoted to its American, European and Egyptian holdings, and scored a coup by hiring longtime Guggenheim Museum chief curator and deputy director Nancy Spector to serve in the same role in Brooklyn.

Pasternak calls the step represents a “course correction” in a statement sent to artnet News, saying that “the cost of running the museum has substantially grown” over the past few years. The institution has an operating budget of $38.6 million and a full-time staff of just over three hundred. That includes what Pasternak described in an interview in the Wall Street Journal as a “very small curatorial team” of nineteen, which she hopes to expand.

Anne Pasternak. Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Anne Pasternak. Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

The museum has come in for some criticism during her new tenure, especially for hosting the Brooklyn Real Estate Summit, a convention of developers aiming to raise rents amid the borough’s steady gentrification, even as the museum hosts “Agitprop!,” an exhibition devoted to political art. artnet News’s Ben Davis called on the institution to evict the summit.

Pasternak has also staged some attention-getting gestures, such as a life drawing class organized by artist Jeremy Deller and the New York Academy of Art that involved music icon Iggy Pop posing in the nude.

Other New York museums are also retrenching. The Museum of Modern Art offered buyouts to those nearing retirement age earlier this month. In April, the Metropolitan Museum of Art revealed that it would also have to downsize in response to a $10 million deficit.


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