Not Your Momma’s MOMA


The Museum of Modern Art recently reopened amid fanfare, free admission (on opening day only, alas!), and, for many, a lot of digging around between the couch cushions to come up with the $20 admission. VOX POP ventured out to chat with patrons of the paint as they exited the Modern’s new home. In the future, it seems, students and seniors will reap the rewards of their IDs on a daily basis, “Free Friday Night” lines will be lengthy (as they always have been), and many will be more than willing to shell out so much money to see so much art.

We asked: What ticket price would ensure your return?

LINCOLN ALABASTER TV executive [Manhattan]

IAN INGRAM Sales [Bronx]

ORRIN INGRAM Fitness instructor [Bronx]

IA: I think $20 is fine. It’s 20 bucks; it’s a museum. You should have to pay to help support a museum.

OI: The price of a movie is almost $11 in the city; $10 more for artwork from all around the world. I think that’s fair.

LA: They put a lot into the renovation in order to improve what was offered. So, from a business perspective, you have to make that money back. Just from seeing what they have here, $20 isn’t unreasonable.

OI: Also, this is the Museum of Modern Art. It’s not classical art, which already has a different value inherent to the pieces because they’re already known. A lot of these pieces are fairly new, so it takes input from patrons, and there have to be ways to keep it afloat.

THERESA LUEN Journalist, historian [Manhattan]

I think that it is very expensive, and also the food is very expensive. And the museum is very big. It’s too big. Sometime, in the future, maybe I will feel comfortable, but I didn’t feel comfortable today, because it’s so big and there are few seats around. The museum is fabulous.

HANNAH RAPPLEY Student [Manhattan]

SAMUEL VELASQUEZ Student [Westchester]

HR: Like, I thought it was $20 when he invited me, and I said, “I don’t know, I can’t pay $20.” Then he said, “I’ll pay for half of it,” so I thought, Cool, I’ll go. But it was free when we got here —

SV: I’m from a state school, so my admission is free; so I thought, “I’ll pay half for her,” because I felt bad.

HR: — but since I go to the New School, I ended up getting in for free too! I see the purpose of having it set at $20, but I feel that the museum should be for the people, and not everyone can afford $20 to go see their favorite artist’s work.


SMA: We’re members. There are four of us, so it’s well worth it. Coming two times (at $20 per person) pays for the family membership ($150).

MA: $20 admission is not too high for what they have, though it obviously cuts a lot of people out of the opportunity of being able to come. But it certainly makes the membership a more attractive possibility.

SMA: It would be nice if there could be some organization or corporate sponsorship for people who couldn’t afford the $20. It is just delightful to see so much space and so much potential for the growth of modern art.

FILIP NOTERDAEME Director, the Homeless Museum/HoMu [Brooklyn Heights]

Today I carried out the civil action “Penniless at the Modern,” by paying the $20 fee entirely in pennies. By replacing a crisp bill with 12 and a half pounds of pennies, I hope to remind the Modern that its $20 ticket weighs heavily on the audience the museum promises to serve. I am hopeful that the Modern will eventually come up with a compromise, such as extending its free hours to one whole day.

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