Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
The “Art Museums by the Numbers” report, released on Monday by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), breaks down the ways in which art museums are now being managed. The report, which gathers data from art museums across North America, intends to “inform thinking both inside and outside the field on art museums’ operations and how they serve their communities.” Highlights include the breakdown of average annual operating expenses, showing that similar to years past, 32% was spent on arts-focused activities (such as temporary exhibitions, curatorial endeavors, education, and the library), 19% on infrastructure, 15% on administration, and 23% on revenue-generating activities, including development, memberships, benefit events, marketing and PR, and catering. A reputed 11% of annual budgets go toward a somewhat mysterious “other,” which represents a small increase from the previous year.
This is the third year the AAMD has conducted this report, which, compared with last year’s, shows a slight increase in museum attendance, with roughly 62 million as opposed to around 61 million in 2015. However, overall membership was slightly down, from 1.9 million to 1.8 million. In many areas, changes are essentially flat or very small. These include contributions to art museums (such as benefit events, individual and family memberships, corporate contributions, and foundations and trusts) and the sliding scale of admission charges, which range from allowing all in for free, adopting a suggested donation policy, or charging set rates. Museum revenue per visitor has averaged to $3.70, when only admission charges are calculated, and to $7.99 when gift shop purchases and dining are included. The average cost to the museum per visitor is an average of $54.50.
In terms of revenue sources, there has been a 2% drop in government support from the previous year — not a significant figure. However, there is a correlating set of statistics that reveals how much museums have become and continue to be dependent on private philanthropy to expand their collections and mount shows. Over 22,000 objects that were acquired in 2016 were purchased, while more than four times that number of items were donated to museums or received by bequest. More, in 2015 a little more than three times as many objects were borrowed from galleries, artists, state and private collections compared to those loaned to other institutions; in 2016 that ratio increased to almost five times as many.
This information suggests that the relationship that North American art museums have historically had with wealthy patrons continues apace — with museums borrowing works from private hands to successfully mount exhibitions. Museums have long depended on the largesse of those who privately own important collections and are actively courting the next generation to create relationships that will result in major donations and continued financial support. Perhaps now, this relationship is more significantly impacting the ways in which museums curate their shows.
The report Art Museums By the Numbers 2016 was released by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) on Monday, January 9.
New works by one of Bangladesh’s most prominent photojournalists, writers, and activists are on view at the Chicago art space through November 27.
Council often uses humor as a political tool to expose systems of power and inequality in a society in which even death carries a high price tag.
An exhibition at the San Francisco Opera House pairs the work of incarcerated artists with Beethoven’s story of unjust imprisonment.
Many works take disruption and repetition as their themes, and many artists resurface in different sections, creating multiple affinities.
Hear from Holly Jean Buck, Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, Simon Denny, Elizabeth Hoover, Renee Kemp-Rotan, Joseph Kunkel, and more at this free public event.
In Cooking with Paris, Hilton capitalizes on her portrayal of being a competent woman, while highlighting its anachronism through her absurd performance. Rosler manipulates the camera in the same way.
EFA Open Studios offers a portal into the creative habitats of over 65 artists working in Manhattan’s longest-running studio program, including Dannielle Tegeder, Wafaa Bilal, Cui Fei, and Anina Major.
A man says Blue Bayou took details of his life without his permission. Several women who appear in the documentary Sabaya say they did not consent to be filmed. How can filmmakers avoid these ethical pitfalls?
Ursula Biemann, Nicolas Bourriaud, and others said they will no longer participate in the event.
There is an official ban against the public mourning of Tiananmen Square victims in Hong Kong and mainland China.