The Brooklyn Museum’s budget ax falls again.
Less than a week after announcing it was pulling back on its Friday night hours, the Prospect Heights institution quietly revealed that it is cancelling a major spring 2012 exhibition, “Art in the Streets,” a controversial show that chronicles the history of graffiti and street art.
“The cancellation became necessary due to the current financial climate,” said Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold Lehman in a statement released on Tuesday, one that echoed last week’s lament about the reduction in hours. “As with most arts organizations throughout the country, we have had to make several difficult choices since the beginning of the economic downturn three years ago.”
The show is currently on exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles through Aug. 8. It has come under fire for glorifying vandalism — and months before it was set to open on March 30, 2012 in Brooklyn, Councilman Peter Vallone (D–Queens) had called for the Museum to scrub it because public money “should not be used to encourage the destruction of taxpayers’ property.”
Lehman did not address that concern in his statement, saying only that the cancelation was due to the economy, not the controversial nature of the show.
The cancellation and the shrinking hours of operation come as the museum scrambles to attract — and keep — members as city budget priorities shift away from the arts. It also comes after the museum announced a bevy of “emergency measures,” including raising suggested fees from $8 to $10 on Saturdays, cutting staff and then offering wall space to the winner of Sarah Jessica Parker’s reality TV show, “Work of Art: The Next Great” — which surprised some museum-lovers.