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Backbeat: Hedge funds with art
Museums play bank to enterprising landlords. Trustees get paid.
Part two of A Generous Grift is up now.
Museum workers, like anyone with nothing to sell but their labor, rely on the exploitative social relation of the wage for the means to reproduce themselves. Endowments add more dimensions to this fundamental antagonism. When wages rely on endowment returns, and endowment returns rely on rising rent, museum workers rely on their domination as tenants to survive. In other words, as a primary revenue source, endowments condition institutional growth on the stability of financial markets driving ecocide and housing costs. Before returning to the implications for arts organizing (the subject of the next installment, “The Balance of Power”), I want to continue describing the atmosphere of bourgeois relations among collector-trustees. [More]