Art Galleries Face Pressure to Fund Museum Shows

Galleries have always provided scholarly support for museums exhibiting their artists’ work.  Now they’re expected to provide money, too.

In today’s exploding art market, amid diminishing corporate donations and mounting exhibition costs, nonprofit museums have been leaning more heavily on commercial galleries for larger amounts of money — anywhere from $5,000 to $200,000 each time — to help pay for shows featuring work by artists the galleries represent.

The increasingly common arrangement has stoked concerns about conflicts of interest and the dilution of a museum’s mission to present art for art’s sake. Such cozy situations raise the specter of a pay-to-play model and could give galleries undue influence over what the public sees.

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