Extending a Lifeline to Museums

Ginanne Brownell, The New York Times, June 18, 2020

The Masterpiece London fair, online this year, has found a way to raise money for art museums forced to close in the coronavirus pandemic.

 

LONDON — The global pandemic has struck hard at countless institutions, among them most of the world’s museums. Forced to close their doors to visitors, a major source of revenue, and to cancel or postpone exhibitions, they have struggled to stay alive.

 

But some help is coming soon, from a perhaps unlikely source. This year, Masterpiece Online, taking the place of the now-canceled Masterpiece London 2020 art fair, has a philanthropic bent, one that is knocking down an old wall between two spheres of the art world.

 

A number of other arts groups are also offering support. Art Fund, which supports museums in Britain, announced earlier this month that it would make more than £2 million available in grants and new partnerships to help serve as a stopgap for struggling British institutions.

 

 

And Mariane Ibrahim, a gallerist in Chicago, helped develop an idea for an online auction to aid the Museum of the African Diaspora, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, in San Francisco. The auction, run by Artsy, an online art platform, raised over $450,000.