Board Members in the Art World

Buying art has been around for a while, whether for status or taste.

Among the biggest losers in the current system are artists themselves. With art now considered an asset class similar to equities and commodities, collectors are forever on the lookout for rising stars whose work can be bought at bargain prices and then resold for many multiples as their reputation soars. When the market moves on, careers are often shattered (except in the case of a few ever-in-demand stars).

And even those artists who do remain popular usually benefit only from the initial sale of their work; as its value appreciates, the profits go mainly to collectors and auction houses. Museum trustees have ready access to curators and gallery owners who can point out emerging artists whose work they can buy at an early stage and benefit as the demand for it grows. And with so many rich people collecting contemporary art, and the public’s interest in such art growing, museums often seek to devote more space to it to keep donors interested and openhanded.

How the Superrich Took Over the Museum World, The New York Times

But even in the art world the wealthy do their due diligence.

For some, it can also be an investment.

Trusteeship often gives board members the inside track on up-and-coming talent, enabling collectors to buy the works of emerging artists before they become market commodities. Board members also gain coveted access to top curators, whom they can then informally consult about their own collections. The benefits work both ways, since curators can steer trustees toward works of art they want to purchase for — or have donated to — the institution.

New Scrutiny of Museum Boards Takes Aim at World of Wealth and Status, The New York Times

By the way, how much do you make working at a museum?

Current and former workers who claim to have been employed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Harvard Art Museums, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have so far disclosed their salary rates. Each is posted anonymously, and includes information about the employee’s start date, end date, and contract

‘It’s Helpful to Know All Scales’: Online Spreadsheet Discloses Museum Workers’ Salaries, ARTnews

Check out the salary data on Google Sheets.

Arts + All Museums Salary Transparency 2019

Vincent van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat” at The Met.
Photo by fan yang on Unsplash

Post by Marcelino Pantoja

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