Years ago when I worked in the corporate world, I experienced first hand what it meant to squeeze blood from a turnip. Lowering overhead--including labor costs--and increasing revenue becomes the core mission, and the business' primary service or product gets relegated to secondary role.J. Paul Getty
Earlier this year James Wood terminated over a hundred employees of the Getty as well as reducing expenditures (for building maintenance and the like) in the interest of focusing on the Getty's "core programs." According to the Foundation Center, the Getty is the third largest foundation in the United States, with over ten billion is assets. So what does this money contribute to their mission of exhibiting art to the public? Apparently less and less.
Starting September 9th, the museum will be closing a half an hour earlier on all days, and evening hours will be eliminated on Friday (when the museum will close 3 1/2 hours earlier). In addition, parking rates will increase to $10 per car.
I also thought that maintianing access to the library at the Getty Research Institute was part of their core mission too, but they now charge stack readers for parking, which used to be free. This smacks of a decision made by someone who's salary and allowances amount to over a million bucks a year. Let them eat cake!
I expect that one of the issues around closing the museum early takes into account the number of visitors. Popular events like Fridays Off the 405, probably bring in additional revenue in overpriced food and alcohol sales, with a scant number of patrons wandering through the open galleries (which requires paying the guards). In an earlier conversation with Glenn Phillips, he said that fewer than half the visitors to the Getty ever go inside the building, prefering to wander about the architecture and gardens, and take in the view.
Focusing on "core values" by making adjustments to expeditures (hours, staffing, maintenance) and revenue (parking, food and gift shop sales) inherently makes the bottom line a prime core value. The only question left is when does the influence of the bottom line become a consideration in what art to show and buy? If Bernini busts don't generate foot traffic, will we evenutally be condemned to view the revenue stalwarts like Mummies, Motorcycles, and Monets?