Who Runs the Art World

What should the future of museums look like?

Data Visualization
Motion Graphics

In 2019, a Google spreadsheet titled “Art/Museum Salary Transparency” began circulating throughout the art world, asking employees to add their salaries to help provide wage transparency. By 2020, more than 3,300 people had shared theirs. Originally intended to provide members in the museum/art world with a resource to fight for wage transparency, this document ultimately revealed the pay inequality between leadership and staff positions. The coronavirus pandemic further exposed this pay gap by forcing museums to fire numerous staff members while their directors took minimal pay cuts. 

This project examines 30 museum executives in the New York City area in the hope of highlighting broader injustices within the art world.

Tenement Museum
Noguchi Museum
Museum of Art and Design
South Street Seaport Museum
Museum of Chinese in America
The Studio Museum in Harlem
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Museum of the Moving Image
American Folk Art Museum
Rubin Museum of Art
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of Jewish Heritage
International Center for Photography
New York Hall of Science
The Dia Art Foundation
The Jewish Museum
The Brooklyn Museum
9/11 Memorial and Museum
Morgan Library and Museum
New-York Historical Society
New Museum of Contemporary Art
The Frick Collection
Asia Society
Whitney Museum of American Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
American Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Modern Art

“We weren’t transgressing any HR rules or doing anything illegal, but we were actually empowering each other by being collegial, working in solidarity, and sharing knowledge that can help demystify the process of compensation within our field.”

Michelle Millar Fisher (currently at MFA Boston + formerly at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, MoMA, the Met, and the Guggenheim)

Utilizing the idea of wage transparency, a system of business cards was designed to visualize museum executives’ salaries. The increased radiating circle motif correlates directly to their annual salaries. 

©2023 Justin Yee