September 19, 2004
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028-0198
Dear Mr. de Montebello:
It is with a heavy heart and not without some bitterness that I hereby renounce my membership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, effective immediately. I hope that this letter detailing my reasons for this action will help instigate some obviously needed changes in your organization.
Like most relationships, my association with the Met began in happiness before deteriorating into disappointment and rancor. I was thrilled to receive the membership as a birthday gift from my siblings earlier this month. Other than fairly non-exclusive classifications such as homo sapiens or U.S. citizen I had really not been a member of anything since my high school days on the Mathletics team, so to suddenly be a part of something as lofty and prestigious as the Met was truly humbling and I was just hoping to live up to my end of the deal.
As I mentioned, things started off great. The day after my birthday, membership card in hand, I entered your museum, strode up to the counter, and received my admission pin from the smiling cashier. Those were six happy and fulfilling art-viewing hours that day, I can tell you. As it turns out, the very next afternoon I found myself on the Upper East Side with a certain urgent and embarrassing biological need. When I showed the nice woman at the counter my card and told her that I only needed to use the facilities and wouldn't be looking at any of the art, she laughed away my concerns and said that I could use the facilities, look at the art, whatever I wanted. I was a Metropolitan Museum member, part of the Met family.
Well, the events of the last two weeks have proved those to be empty words.
- When I suggested to a guard that rotating Rodin's Burghers of Calais 180 degrees might allow it to better catch the light in the sculpture hall, I was at first ignored and then rudely rebuffed, even after offering to help him move it.
- It seems that a "Valued Member" (as you put it in your introductory letter) should be able to ask guards to clear the riff-raff off the Roof Garden so I could enjoy some quality contemplative time. At the very least, they should have asked all non-members to head downstairs and leave us alone, so as not to intrude on our generosity.
- As I attempted to explain to the not-at-all-helpful staffperson at the front desk, I had invited a woman I met at the post office over for dinner last Friday night, and needed to borrow Jules Bastien-Lepage's Joan of Arc (my guest resembled Joan a little, though not as crazy-eyed) for the living room, thinking it would be a nice gesture on my part and a good conversation piece. I said I would have everything back first thing Saturday morning, but Miss Grumpy at the desk (what do you pay these people?) wouldn't even let me talk to her supervisor. And big shocker, the date did not go well at all, when with a little help from the Met I definitely could have scored some serious second-base action.
- I thought we were part of the same team, but I guess that only applies when somebody's sending in a check, and not when that somebody needs to put his model airplanes on display in order to impress his parents who are visiting for the weekend. Maybe I'll change my name to Lila Acheson Wallace and give you a few bucks and see if then you'll help a guy out.
- Phil, if you were drunk in Jersey City one night and needed a place to crash, my couch would be open to you. Yet when I found myself in the same situation in Manhattan, and with your place being way bigger than mine, your doors were shut tight and I ended up passing out in some Central Park bushes. It's a miracle I'm alive, not that you care, since you already have my membership cash.
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]