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Friday, September 10, 2004

The Real Price to Visit MoMA

There have been hoots and cries of outrage around the blogosphere since MoMA announced a $20 admission charge effective with the opening of the new building.

Word today is that it won't cost you $20 to get into MoMA. Admission during the first weeks after the November 20 opening will actually set you back $25.50. Why? Ticketmaster has managed to get involved.

Afraid that it won't be able to handle the volume of ticket requests, MoMA has partnered with Ticketmaster to pre-sell admission for defined time slots in the weeks after the building opens. Ticketmaster, of course, isn't doing this as a good corporate citizen or as a patron of the arts. They are adding a $3.75 convenience charge and a $1.75 handling fee to each ticket order.

Can't wait to reserve your time slot, no matter what it will cost? Go ahead and order your ticket here. They go on sale this Sunday morning. Me, I'll be taking advantage of the press of the crowds during the opening weekend to slip in unnoticed without a ticket.

While I'm on the topic of MoMA's new admission price, I had lunch with a museum staffer over the summer who told me that the museum needs to draw 2.4 million visitors a year after the new building opens to make its budget. That's 700,000 more visitors than it drew in its best year ever--a year that saw several blockbuster shows cycle through its galleries.

I'm not sure what MoMA will do it if finds that it can't generate the $40+ million annually from admissions that is required to pay for its new home. Let's hope the museum doesn't find that it has to do what so many overreaching dot-commers and i-bankers did when the economy went south in 2001--give up the fancy new digs in Manhattan and move back to Queens.

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