Naming Museum Wings
Price: $28 million
All rich people consider themselves philanthropists. They want you to believe that they make the world a better place through sizable donations. More importantly, they crave the attention that people pay to their name on university buildings, hospitals and museum wings. But, just because the rich lack a sense of humour doesn’t mean museum names have to; the Wing Luke could host a great Star Wars exhibit and the Cockburn or Cummer Museum would…I think you get where I’m going.
Museum wings herald to the city, state and country that their benefactors are wealthy, tasteful, highly cultured and clearly connected to the right people. Why do donors fund a museum’s major construction costs when even in a no-name US city costs run upwards of $12 million? To the rich, naming makes a lovely gift, a lasting monument to themselves, a permanent place on the A-list, makes up for years of greedy indiscretions and ensures a table at the best restaurants…the Guggenheims never wait at Per Se or Le Bernardin.
If you want to make wealthy friends, dote on the upper class at any opportunity. Make constant references to their philanthropic efforts, regardless of the size of the gift. You’ll walk a fine line between sycophantic pandering and outright ass kissing, but the right level of recognition to their cries for attention will pay healthy dividends. Wooing the rich is easy but there are rules. First, do not ask how much they gave to the Met or MoMA…they are itching to tell you anyway. Next, mention that the use of an initial in their name conveyed tremendous sophistication. Finally, don’t talk about the art housed in their wing as they likely will have no idea that there are balloon animals and lava lamps masquerading as art under their silver plated nameplate. Natrally, knowing the difference between Monet or Manet is critical and it may land you invites to socialite galas chatting with beautiful women in Marc Bouwers and Jimmy Choos…now that’s art!