It's Good to Be the MoMA Director

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Photo: Patrick McMullan


MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry is a wealthy man with even wealthier friends. Not only does he have one of the highest salaries in the museum biz, but, as the Times almost gleefully reports today, some of those rich friends set up something called the New York Fine Arts Support Fund (we'll say!), which showered him with over $5.35 million in gifts from 1995 to 2003. Contributions to the fund came from such massive last names as Rockefeller, Gund, and Lauder, and it was put together with the express purpose of luring Lowry to MoMA. Just how hard were they working to lure him? Check out this one: In 1995, MoMA picked up the down-payment for an apartment Lowry bought; the trust then took care of the mortgage repayments. In 1999, the trust bought that apartment from Lowry, who pocketed $1.3 million on the sale. Did he spend that profit — on an apartment he hadn't paid for in the first place, keep in mind — on a new place to live? Of course not. The museum then gave Lowry another free apartment, this one in Museum Tower. The man has to live somewhere, after all. Now, finally, we understand the $20 ticket prices.

Donors Sweetened Director’s Pay at MoMA [NYT]