Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



As government subsidies to art institutions continue to decline annually, the international art community finds itself increasingly dependent on alternate sources of revenue such as corporate sponsorships and private donations. The Louvre in Paris, for example, was forced to restructure their organization to become more involved in fund-raising and campaigning activities when the French government began cutting cultural spending in 1993. Currently, the United States government accounts for approximately 28% of a museum’s annual operational expenses. The remaining funds necessary to pursue acquisitions, sustain educational programs and promote scholarly research as well as to perform basic functions such as facility maintenance and staff support are left to the individual organization. Thomas Krens, the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, proposes that the survival of the museum as a viable cultural institution into the twenty-first century is dependent upon that particular entity’s level of participation in financial and economic trends. He pioneers a controversial style of museum management that includes the licensing and franchising of the Guggenheim identity in an attempt to maintain the basic museum mission of allowing the public access to experience art. This thesis identifies the Guggenheim museum under Krens as the first art organization to break with traditional modes of museum operation. It provides a context to discuss the relevancy of his tactics given the current financial dilemma of museums and explores the much-debated issues of public trust and globalization. Through a thorough examination of the aforementioned, this thesis isolates future trends in both the operations and the ethics of cultural institutions on a global scale.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Darius A. Spieth