Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

Wednesday links

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  • On Monday I questioned the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s increasing of its suggested admissions fee. At the time I didn’t know that the MFA Boston is increasing its mandatory admissions charge to $22, with some complicated exceptions for a range of students and youth. What a mistake.
  • Pleased to see the National Portrait Gallery is the next venue for this Gertrude Stein exhibition, which is currently at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum.
  • The National Gallery of Art just posted this 2000 Wayne Thiebaud lecture about painting. It’s superb fun. Thiebaud was 79 when the lecture was recorded.
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  1. The increase in the mandatory fee at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is just the latest in its alienating behavior toward visitors. Here’s my story (and I’ll bet others have one, too):

    On July 1, 2002, I went to the MFA in Boston to get an artist’s membership. Through a phone call to the museum’s member office, I’d been assured that the fee was $25 per year, a good deal for an artist who doesn’t go there very often. When I arrived and began to write the check, a imperious little man came out out from a back office, assessed the situation, and said, “The fee is now $35.” Even the woman behind the desk didn’t know this.

    “As of when?” I asked.
    “As of today,” he responded.

    The lovely woman behind the counter suggested that since I’d been told of the lower price I pre-date the check and make it for $25.

    “No, no, it’s $35,” said the little man, who twitched visibly when he spoke.
    “I’d like to museum to honor the price it gave me over the phone.”
    “If I do it for you, I’d have to do it for everyone,” he said, twitching.

    I looked around. There was no one behind me. Indeed, I was the first person to arrive since the increase, and since it the day was half over, very likely the only person who would purchase an artist membership that day. He stood his ground.

    At that point it was not the extra $10 but the principle. “Well, then,” I offered. “You can keep your increase. I’m going to renew at the Met.” I did. And I do, annually.

    I went to the MFA once with a class I was teaching (we got in for free) and once as a blogger for the Titian show (also for free). Otherwise, when I’m in Boston, I go to the ICA.

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