Met’s interim chief puts $600M expansion on hold

Daniel Weiss’ shortlist includes $140M plan to replace skylights, other smaller projects

Daniel Weiss and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (Credit: Getty Images)
Daniel Weiss and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (Credit: Getty Images)

The interim head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art wants to slow the pace of major renovations at the cash-strapped museum in an attempt to close a $15 million budget deficit.

Daniel Weiss, the Met’s president who was tapped as interim CEO on March 1 after former chief executive Tom Campbell resigned under pressure, said he’s planning a series of cost-cutting measures to close the shortfall in the museum’s $398 million budget, which includes slowing the pace of renovations.

In particular, plans for the museum’s $600 million expansion of the southwest section into a contemporary art gallery now appear to be on hold indefinitely, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Instead, Weiss is proposing a “decidedly unsexy” $140 million project to replace 60,000 square feet of 1930s-era skylights above the European art galleries. Also on his wish list: a $20 million renovation of British galleries, $5 million renovation for the musical instrument galleries and a renovation of the African wing, which could cost around $60 million.

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The slower pace of renovations would be coupled with reeling in costs, Weiss said. “This ship was going a little too fast and turned a little too quickly,” he said.

Other major museums have had budget shortfalls, including the Louvre in Paris and London’s Tate Museum. The Met has raised about $850 million over the past five-and-a-half years, or around $150 million per year.

The 2 million-square-foot museum, located on Fifth Avenue at East 82nd street, completed a new $65 Million Entrance Plaza last year. [WSJ]E.B. Solomont