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Art Law Recent Developments in Art Litigation and Art Finance

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART UNDER FIRE AGAIN FOR ADMISSION FEES

Posted in Litigation Issues

In a recent lawsuit, several museum goers, which include foreign tourists, have challenged the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “recommended” admission fee of $25 stating that the admission policy is deceptive and that most visitors do not understand that there is a “pay-as-you-wish (but-you-must-pay-something)” policy for admission to the museum. The Met, which is located at 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue in heart of New York City, has enjoyed its prime rent free location at the edge of Central Park since its inception.  In exchange for certain subsidies, including payment by the City of New York for maintenance, utilities and security, there is a 1893 New York statute that mandates that the public be admitted free of charge at least five days and two evenings per week.  However, proponents of the “pay-as-you-wish” policy state the City of New York agreed to the revised admission policy, which required a donation if even a penny, in the 1970s. The Met’s admission policy has been challenged before.  It will interesting to see where this lawsuit leads.