Last Friday the Italian Culture Ministry moved to replace the board of directors at the Maxxi, the two-year-old contemporary art museum in Rome.
The government is apparently displeased with the board’s failure to approve a 2012 budget. More details from The New York Times:
Maxxi’s annual budget in 2011 was about $12 million, of which the museum was able to cover 59 percent through ticket sales and sponsorships, while the state contributed about $5 million. But budget cuts have drastically reduced state subsidies to museums. In the case of Maxxi, future state contributions are expected to be under 2 million euro, or $$2.6 million, a year, and the museum will be expected to make up the difference with private sponsors. The current board has so far been unable to raise that much, so the culture ministry decided to intervene to replace it.
In New York, of course, $12 million amounts to a fraction of our major museums’ budgets. A breakdown of the Museum of Modern Art’s $155 million annual operating budget for 2011 references an $11 million expenditure just for “Membership, Development, and Cultivation.”