Sleek vs. stately : a comparison of the commercial practices employed by the metropolitan and Guggenheim museums
Jackson, Kathleen Natalie.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. The commercialization of non-profit organizations through marketing mechanisms has recently taken center stage as one of the pivotal policy issues facing this sector in the United States. American museums have long been at the forefront of this trend with the operation of retail activities in the form of stores, catalogs and franchised satellite museums. As two of the most prominent museums in the New York art world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim (The Guggenheim) are routinely described as possessing distinct and opposing marketing models as they relate to commercial practices. The Met insists on the need to demonstrate clear and discernable differences between art and entertainment, and a sharper contrast between the role of the museum and the commercial world.; Conversely, the Guggenheim has consistently straddled the line between art and commerce, offering spectacles like Art of the Motorcycle and Jazz Fridays which frequently draw larger crowds than many scholarly exhibitions. Both of these models demonstrate an attempt on the part of each museum to build a relationship between the museum and the public.; The primary purpose of this thesis is to investigate, using the Met and the Guggenheim as comparators, the costs and benefits of commercialism in contemporary museum marketing operations, and whether or not there is evidence to suggest the public trust is weakened by increased marketing, advertising, and promotional practices. A secondary goal of this thesis is to survey the theoretical research on this topic to learn whether art and commerce are compatible, and whether there is reason to believe the public would derive greater benefit from museums without shops, restaurants, and blockbuster art exhibitions, or if to the contrary, they are now crucial ingredients to the museum experience.
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