Jul 8, 2020
News

Major galleries, museums, and artists received millions in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.

Jeff Koons posing next to his artwork during a photo call ahead of his exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images.

Jeff Koons posing next to his artwork during a photo call ahead of his exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images.

Major museums, high-profile artists, and blue-chip galleries were among the beneficiaries of the United States government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to new federal data from the Small Business Administration. The Art Newspaper reported that Pace, Gagosian, and David Zwirner all received loans of between $2 million and $5 million from the program, while studios for artists such as Jeff Koons, Robert Longo, and Julie Mehretu received loans ranging from $150,000 to $2 million. ARTnews reported that major museums such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art each received $5 to $10 million in loans.
The PPP, which was enacted in March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is meant to help small businesses avoid layoffs and continue paying employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The program has come under fire lately for the high volume of publicly-traded or otherwise high-capital businesses that have received loans, as well as some recipients’ continued layoffs despite receiving funds. Zwirner, which received between $1 and $2 million in aid, laid off roughly 20 percent of staff last week, while in April the Guggenheim Museum furloughed 92 employees and the Whitney laid off 76.
Despite some high-capital outliers, the majority of galleries and institutions who received PPP funds received $1 million or less. Jack Shainman Gallery, Kasmin, Lisson Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland all received loans ranging from $350,000 to $1 million, while the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Metro Pictures, and Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago received between $150,000 and $350,000.

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