After its celebrated reopening on November 20th, 2004, following a renovation project that cost $858 million, the Museum of Modern Art will begin charging visitors $20 for admission. The cost represents a 67% increase from the previous fee of $12, and makes MoMA one of the most expensive urban museums in the world.
The works of art housed in the Museum of Modern Art belong to everyone. A museum is only a custodian of our collective cultural heritance, and has a responsibility to make its holdings available to everyone. The $858 million dollars that MoMA has spent in its renovation serves only its own vainglory. That sum could have provided the old MoMA's 1.8 million annual visitors with free admission for forty years. Instead, the museum will jealously horde its collection, allowing only the wealthiest elites access to our collective cultural treasures.