The MoMA members night party and the economy of access as identity
Last night I attended the members night party at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
The “party” was, as most “parties” in the USA: drinks, and people. That
s basically it. The music was soft enough that it was barely perceivable (unlike the New Museums party, where DJs try to make it impossible to talk to the person next to you).
So, why all the fuss? Why go to a “party” that has basically nothing to offer in terms of “fun”? Easy answer: to see and be seen.
Only members (and their guests) could access. So everyone who was there was a member. Community, identity, belonging, exclusivity, power, networking… all through a simple mechanism: the artificial (up to a point) scarcity of access. And where there is scarcity, there is economic potential in a capitalist-consumerist economy (society).
The sad part is, I am afraid many of those people never visit the museum or even care about the works displayed. Some did not even take the opportunity to visit the open galleries. But they chatted, mingled, showed off (wether it be some gold watch or absurdly high heels), and pretended to be “at home with culture” while feeling part of the elite.