In conversation with Max Hollein, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York.

In a recent conversation with Shifting Vision, the Met’s Director, Max Hollein, reflected on the challenges and multiple roles of the Museum both as a local and global institution.

‘During the last 12 months we have all become more local in everything that we have been doing and experiencing. Usually, people from around the world come to our museum but right now our visitors are 90 per cent from New York City.’

The local focus brings interesting opportunities, Hollein said. ‘A museum’s local audience is very important. It’s one you can engage with continuously. What has happened during the past 12 months is that people from New York realised how much they appreciate the Met, and how much they missed it if they hadn’t visited in a while. We want to build on that reconnection, to create more cohesion with that audience.’

Visitors viewing ‘George Washington Crossing the Delaware’ by Emanuel Leutze. Photo taken in 1910.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The challenge going forward is that at its core, the Met is not a local institution, it’s a global one. ‘The Met is not only about the world, it’s for the world. We are not a collection that came out of nationalistic ideals — our collection was built by citizens in the last 150 years, to show great work to the world. I don’t think it could have happened anywhere but New York, not only because of the philanthropy here, but also because New York was the logical intersection, with so many different people coming through,’ Hollein said.

The Met, The Charles Engelhard Court in The American Wing.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

‘Our challenge now, and our opportunity, is that we need to become more “hyper local” in other places. The museum has to become multi-centric in its outreach. That’s not necessarily through satellite institutions. It means being accessible and engaging in local places around the world. We want to be local internationally.’



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Shifting Vision

Shifting Vision is an art production studio. We bring our art and technology expertise to established artists to create new work and produce films about art.