The Wall Street Journal trots out interim Chief Executive Daniel Weiss to soothe fears about the Met’s leadership provoked by the former director’s ouster and Vanity Fair’s recap of the internal strife that led to it. Weiss pounds his chest a little here:
“This ship was going a little too fast and turned a little too quickly,” Mr. Weiss said, sitting in his airy office that overlooks Manhattan’s Central Park and is decorated with a wintry scene by Alfred Sisley. “I don’t lose sleep over our ability to manage it.”
As implied in the metaphor, Weiss is re-committing to the board’s course. He simply wants to reassure everyone that the institution will go a bit slower to save money. To wit, the museum is now scheduling a series of renovations estimated at $225m to run sequentially rather than overlapping. Budgets have been cut and everyone is being asked to help make up the losses without more layoffs.
The big push into building a new wing for Contemporary art has been muffled. It will be interesting to see if and when it re-emerges. With that, there’s actually some big news in the fact that Weiss is also aiming to triple revenue from the museum’s gift shops and get the restaurants to contribute more too:
Will Manzer, the former president of Perry Ellis’s menswear division, has been hired to overhaul the Met’s eight gift stores, in part by manufacturing new product lines. (Hint: Expect more items for men, like Met-branded cuff links and watches.) Mr. Manzer said the gift shops bring in around $50 million, or roughly $7 a visitor, but he said he’s trying to triple those sales.