Some Astronomical Art Executive Salaries

by Clara Olshansky on July 9, 2013 · 1 comment Newswire

Four Dollar Signs by Andy Warhol via

You know how museums and art institutions never seem to have enough money? Funny story about that: thanks to Bloomberg Businessweek, we know where some of their money’s going.

Some ridiculous fine art incomes as of 2011:

  • Jeffrey Deitch, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, took home $916,000.
  • Thomas Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, earned $1.1 million. The museum also provides him with free and tax-free housing in a $4 million co-op.
  • James Cuno, president and chief executive of the J. Paul Getty Trust, also made $1.1 million.
  • Michael Govan, chief executive of LACMA, made $1.3 million. The museum also provided housing valued at $108,000.
  • Emily Rafferty, president of the Metropolitan Museum of art, got $1.6 million: $656,000 base pay plus pension after 35 years with the Met.
  • Glenn Lowry, MoMA director, made a whopping $1.8 million. Like Campbell, he also gets free and tax-free housing in a $6 million condo above the museum.

Other arts professionals (performance and music) with ridiculous incomes:

  • The senior stagehand at Carnegie Hall had an annual pay of $465,000. Why?
  • Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall executive and artistic director, made $1.1 million.
  • Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met Opera, made $1.4 million.
  • Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, also made $1.4 million.
  • Yannick Nezet-Seguin, music director of the Philadelphians, made $1.5 million.
  • David Gockley, San Francisco opera manager, made $1.5 million for staging well fewer productions than the met, plus a $1 million bonus when he left the Houston Grand Opera in 2005.
  • Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, made $7000 each weekday, which comes out to about $1.8 million/
  • Here’s the real kicker: Michael Tilson Thomas, music director at the San Francisco Symphony, makes $2.4 million. That’s more than two Thomas Campbells!

I can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable when I see the price tags on these big name executives. It looks like a lot of profit for not-for-profits.

{ 1 comment }

Douglas Paker October 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Those stage hands are working crazy hours – often over 60 hours a week, safely rigging lighting and draping so that musicians aren’t crushed to death on stage. I’m certain professional musicians prefer to be taken care of by other seasoned artisans. That’s why.

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