The Met Now Expects to Be Closed Almost All Summer—and It Just Canceled All Events Through 2020 (Meaning No Met Gala)
The museum was previously hoping to welcome visitors on July 1.
It looks like it’s going to be a long, less-than-art-filled summer in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is extending its closure until at least mid-August, and is officially cancelling its star-studded Met Gala for 2020.
When the museum does reopen, guests can expect to see reduced visiting hours, according to a statement issued by institution on Tuesday. The Met is also cancelling all in-person tours and events through the end of the year—planned celebrations of the museum’s 150th anniversary will be delayed until 2021.
The institution, which has been closed since March 13, had previously been targeting a July 1 reopening.
The gala, the Costume Institute’s annual benefit hosted by Vogue, had been indefinitely postponed. Although fashion’s biggest night out is taking the year off—aside from an online version staged by precocious Gen Zers on the traditional first Monday in May—”About Time: Fashion and Duration,” the show the evening would have celebrated, will be on view from October 29 through February 7, 2021. The party has been cancelled twice before: once in 1963, after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and in 2002, following the 9/11 attacks.
The Met’s extended closure has already taken a devastating financial toll on the institution, which is predicting a $150 million shortfall. The museum laid off 81 employees and cut executive level pay in April. The institution did not respond to inquiries as to whether pushing back the reopening would necessitate additional layoffs or furloughs.
The Met was one of the first museums in the country to shut its doors in response to the global health crisis. Other New York institutions will likely look to the Met as they craft their own plans to resume normal operations—even if that new normal requires temperature checks and face masks upon entry, with dramatically scaled-back capacity limits to allow for appropriate social distancing and other health considerations.
This weekend, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will become the first major US institution to reopen, following in the footsteps of museums in Asia and Europe. As the epicenter of the US outbreak, New York City is being extremely cautious in its reopening plans.
“The Met has endured much in its 150 years, and today continues as a beacon of hope for the future,” said Met president and CEO Daniel H. Weiss in a statement. “This museum is also a profound reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the power of art to offer comfort, inspiration, and community. As we endure these challenging and uncertain times, we are encouraged by looking forward to the day when we can once again welcome all to enjoy the Met’s collection and exhibitions.”
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