“I have been forced to take this action as a result of the hostile work environment and the culture of abusive behavior that pervades the museum, and the lack of resources and authority provided to achieve the set goals,” said Mr. Walker, who moved from Miami to become a director of development wrote in 2016. “The situation I described to you is unbearable. “.
Several former employees say they would have been happy to have built jobs there, had conditions been different.
“The management seems to feel that the rate of change is good, and that they are giving people a head start in the art world,” said Lily Bartle, a museum editor, who helped organize the union and was laid off in April after less than two years there. But the truth is, people are trapped in low-paying positions and have to come and go quickly. You’d be emailing someone and realize they left weeks ago. I think I’ve got about 13 new phone listings in just the last six months of working there. “
The museum said it does not have a high turnover rate – and that its attrition rate is normal for a museum of its size: “Of the 68 full-time employees, 25 have been in the new museum for more than eight years and 10 others for more than five years.”
Ms Phillips is still held in high esteem by many artists and art professionals.
“I’ve known Lisa for more than three decades, and I think she’s one of the best directors of her generation,” said Adam Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where Ms. Phillips spent 23 years. “It always puts artists and art first. I know former and current employees who only have good things to say.”
Some employees, such as Karen Wong, deputy director, and Reagan L. Grossi, vice president of strategic partnerships, have come forward to express their support for Ms. Phillips. In an interview, Jennifer Heslin, former retail director at the New Museum, described a very positive experience. Margot Norton, the curator of the exhibition for nine years, said in an email that she has “fantastic opportunities” that “were made possible by the guidance and support of Lisa Phillips and Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director.”