O Director Where Art Thou?

The arts wires are buzzing with speculation on who will succeed the directorship of the Metropolitan Museum of Art… The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting article on the unusually high number of U.S. museums currently hunting directors (21), and the seismic shift in the role of the position since de Montebello took up his post in 1977. According to the WSJ:

Mr. Montebello’s decision comes at a time when the once-tweedy position of museum director is growing increasingly complicated. The industry as a whole is grappling with reduced federal and corporate funding of the arts, along with several years of flat attendance.

Museum directors have responded by boosting their fund-raising efforts and adding a slew of audience-friendly offerings like museum cafés, gift shops and curator-led vacations. But museum experts say the daunting job description — a mix of executive, lawyer and diplomat — has spooked some curators from signing up to direct; others have left for higher-paying jobs at auction houses.

Still, with the current director salary at $4.7 million and the kudos that comes with heading up one of the world’s finest art museums, there’s bound to be some interest! More also on this from the New York Magazine and an opinion from the WSJ