‘The ultimate status symbol’: Adams names nightclub owner to Metropolitan Museum board


“It’s obviously an incredible honor, but it’s also something with serious bragging rights,” said art dealer Eli Klein, who runs the Eli Klein Gallery in the West Village.

“It of course gives you a lot of credibility in the art world and beyond,” Klein said in an interview.

According to a museum spokesperson, elected officials, including the mayor, city council president and comptroller, are ex-officio trustees and appoint representatives to be their “eyes and ears” on the board. They attend meetings and sit on committees. The position is unpaid.

“The mayor was looking for a New Yorker who could bring a fresh perspective, as well as a wealth of energy and passion for the role,” Adams publicist Fabien Levy told POLITICO.

“He can’t wait to see what Scott and the rest of the board can do for the Met and for the people of New York.”

Sartiano called his appointment an “honour”.

“When I served on the Arts and Institutions Committee of Community Board 2, I helped support several arts and museum projects. I have been passionate about the arts all my life and pledge to serve this city and the council with the utmost respect,” he said in a statement.

Adams, who eagerly attended the Met Gala on Monday night in a tailored jacket with designer Laolu Senbanjo’s “End Gun Violence” message, also brings new enthusiasm for the institution in the wake of former mayor Bill de Blasio. , who initially declined to attend the museum premiere. event because he was not an “elite guy”.

A museum spokesperson called Adams’ attendance at the gala a “strong and wonderful message,” in line with his belief that the city’s cultural institutions will play an important role in his return from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sartiano, who is best known for dating celebrities in addition to his career as a club and restaurant owner, is a departure from the former representatives.

Ken Sunshine, a prominent publicist after a career in politics for the late Governor Mario Cuomo, presidential candidate Ted Kennedy and Mayor David Dinkins, was named by the Met de Blasio. De Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, named socialite philanthropist Gail Hilson – who raised money for the Central Park Conservancy and launched with Evelyn Lauder – to the board.

Although Sartiano is not familiar with the machinery of government or society, what matters most are his ties to Adams, according to Sid Davidoff, a lawyer and lobbyist who was an aide to former Mayor John Lindsay.

“I don’t know anything about Scott. All I know is if he has the mayor’s ear on any issue, then they had a good date. When the Met has a problem the city needs to solve, he’s the one who takes it to the mayor,” said Davidoff, who served as Adams and de Blasio’s representative on the board of the Wildlife Conservation Society which runs local zoos and aquarium.

Adams is a regular at the Bond Street club in Sartiano where he hosted an election after party attended by actor Forest Whitaker and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The mayor is not a member of the $4,000-a-year club, but visits the hotspot as a guest of others who are part of it and shares a meal with San Francisco Mayor London Breed in February .

Most of the members of the Met’s board of trustees are major art collectors and donors – who give $10 million to the museum in exchange for the privilege of becoming a trustee, according to The New York Times.

“The Met’s board of directors is the ultimate status symbol in old New York,” said a former member who was granted anonymity to speak openly about the issue.

The former member called Sartiano “a bit of an odd choice [because] he’s not from society, he’s a club owner and restaurant owner.

“But, I don’t know,” he added, “Everything Eric does is a little bit different.”

Sartiano joins the ranks of an approximately 100-member board that includes current directors like Merryl Tisch and Anna Wintour and former directors like Cornelius Vanderbilt and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger.

A Met spokesperson said in an interview that the mayor’s appointee was “the mayor’s very helpful eyes and ears – both ways.” The appointee shares the mayor’s interests with the museum, and the Met informs the mayor’s representative of its own goals.

“The mayor’s rep is an important way for the museum and the city to align on priorities – and the nomination came quickly, and Scott jumped in,” Met spokesman Kenneth Weine added in a statement. a statement.

Under previous administrations, the mayor’s liaison had to deal with issues related to a lawsuit over the Met’s $25 admission fee, construction noise disturbing neighbors, and budget cuts.

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