Metropolitan Museum May Delay $600 Million Modern Wing for Seven Years

The museum will postpone the project, but for how long?

The Met's entrance hall. Photo Michael Gray, via Flickr.

Facing budget deficits and amid staff buyouts and layoffs, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will postpone a $600 million gut renovation of its modern and contemporary art wing, possibly for as long as seven years, reports the New York Times.

The museum will focus instead on replacing the roof and skylights in its European paintings galleries—work that, the museum has informed staff, may not be complete until 2022.

Speaking to the Times, Campbell pushed back on a question about whether the museum has been unable to come up with a donor to lead the way in supporting the project, saying that he is “confident” about the museum’s fundraising capacities.

The museum had announced the ambitious renovation plans for the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, at the museum’s southern end, in 2014. The Met has also in recent years overhauled its Costume Institute and Islamic art galleries as well as the plaza fronting the museum on Fifth Avenue.

The Met took on a further responsibility in 2011 in leasing the Whitney Museum of American Art’s building on Madison Avenue, which it will maintain for eight years; a blockbuster show by Chicago painter Kerry James Marshall is currently on view there.

But in the midst of the expansion and upgrades, there came cutbacks, when the museum revealed a $10 million deficit in April 2016, leading to a financial restructuring to avoid the deficit ballooning to as much as $40 million.

Museum director Thomas Campbell tells the Times today that the museum is “‘on track’ to balance the budget by 2020.”

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