New Museum Plans Sept. 15 Reopening; Union Files Labor Complaint

new museum

In the past week, the New Museum announced that it will be reopening, with limited capacity, on Sept. 15.

In accordance with city and state COVID-19 reopening regulations, the Lower East Side museum will be required to stay below 25% capacity, plus everyone entering the building must wear  masks. You’ll need to reserve your tickets in advance. The museum has been closed for the past six months as New York battled the pandemic.

The museum, located at 235 Bowery, will be open Wednesday-Sunday noon-6 p.m. (there are late hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays). Admission will be free to all visitors until Sept. 27. You can reserve your timed entry tickets here. Exhibitions, staying up until the end the year, include: “Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment,” “Jordan Casteel: Within Reach,” and “Daiga Grantina: What Eats Around Itself,”

The New Museum’s union has some major issues with management’s handling of the temporary closure and reopening plan. It’s filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The union argues that the museum behaved in a “discriminatory and retaliatory” manner during two rounds of layoffs and furloughs. More from an Aug. 11 story in Artforum:

Represented by UAW Local 2110, the New Museum Union contends that the dismissals violated the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, which gives private employees the right to organize and to bargain. The union additionally maintains that the New Museum withheld information about its reopening, inhibiting the group’s ability to bargain, and that it has harassed union members for personal Instagram posts.

Some of the staffers were brought back this month in preparation for the reopening. In a statement to Hyperallergic, a museum spokesperson addressed the charges in the NLRB complaint, “We don’t believe this charge has merit… Since our closure, we have suffered a devastating loss of income as have most museums around the country, forcing a dramatic and painful downsizing of programs and staffing.”

Just the other day. in a story on high director salaries, the New York Times noted that the New Museum’s Lisa Phillips was paid $768,000 in 2019. The Times reported that a New Museum board member quit when Phillips was previously attempting to negotiate a higher compensation package. The museum says Phillips agreed to take a 30% pay cut from April 1 through June of 2021 and she has not received a raise since 2015.