The Met Gala Will Not Take Place on the First Monday in May, Becoming the Latest Marquee Art Event to Be Postponed

The annual event is not only a star-studded night of glamour—it also funds operations for the Costume Institute for a full year.

Rhianna at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2017 Costume Institute Gala. Courtesy of Sean Zanni, © Patrick McMullan.
Rhianna at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2017 Costume Institute Gala. Courtesy of Sean Zanni, © Patrick McMullan.

It may have been inevitable, but it still feels like a true sign of the times: the Metropolitan Museum of Art has officially postponed the 2020 Met Gala indefinitely. The event, which takes place on the first Monday every May, is the largest annual fundraiser for the museum’s Costume Institute. This year, the event was to coincide with the exhibition “About Time: Fashion and Duration,” an exploration of how clothes conflate past, present, and future.

The news of the postponement comes after the Met’s decision to close its doors to the public last week until at least April 4. Although it was the first major museum to announce plans to shutter, dozens followed in short order.

At the time, the museum still remained coy about whether or not the gala—its most star-studded event of the year—would go on. But after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised limiting gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, the event’s fate was sealed. “In deference to this guidance, all programs and events through May 15 will be canceled or postponed,” a Met spokesperson said.

Anna Wintour attends the "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology" Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Courtesy of Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

Anna Wintour attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Courtesy of Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

The Met Gala is now one of many fundraising initiatives that have been called off on the advice of public health officials. Spring is gala season for many nonprofits, and such events serve to fund a large portion of their operations. Last year, each ticket to the Met Gala (available by invite only) cost $35,000. Ticket sales are said to fund the Costume Institute’s budget for a year. The event is also an important one for fashion brands, which use the red carpet as an unparalleled advertising opportunity.

In a version of her May editor’s letter published online today, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who has chaired the museum’s Costume Institute since the 1990s, wrote: “Due to the unavoidable and responsible decision by the Metropolitan Museum to close its doors, About Time, and the opening night gala, will not take place on the date scheduled.” She also used the opportunity to sharply criticize President Donald Trump’s response to the outbreak and endorse Joe Biden for president, leading to this unforgettably 2020 slug on the story’s URL: https://www.vogue.com/article/anna-wintour-joe-biden-covid-19-the-met-gala.


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