MOMA director Lowry has received much attention for his vocal (and theatrical) opposition to the strike. An article in The New York Observer ("Hey! What's the Big Deal at MOMA?" by Andrew Goldman) revealed a scene in which Lowry taunted picketers with a make-believe baton, pretending to conduct their catcalls. Lowry still wears red socks, according to a current MOMA staffer, as a "protest" against the strikers.
An ambitious fundraiser and marketer, Lowry is also known for his willingness to slash staff. During his tenure at the Art Gallery of Ontario, he cut half of the museum's 400 employees during a fiscal crunch and later fired four curators, according to a 1995 story in ARTnews by David D'Arcy.
This time, the layoffs may be coming at the expense of an invaluable resource. "I can't believe that the great minds at MOMA would do this unless there were ulterior motives," says Corliss, who has the right to return to her job if the Film Stills Archive reopens. "But to think they would sacrifice such a beautiful collection? That's an outrageous act."