Since it opened almost a month ago, the Met's Alexander McQueen retrospective, Savage Beauty, has drawn over 180,000 visitors. To meet the demand the museum announced yesterday that the exhibition has been extended by a week (through August 7) and that it will open the Costume Institute galleries on Mondays between 9:30am and 2:30pm (starting June 6), when the rest of the museum is closed, for desperate suckers willing to pay $50 to see the show.
The Met, as you may know, ordinarily charges a recommended admission rate of $20, which makes this opportunity to pay a non-recommended 250 percent more for an off-hours visit seem savage. And sure, the exhibition will be less crowded, but it's not like the museum is empty on Mondays. School groups, certain types of members, all kinds of staff and maintenance crew, and even—gulp—press are often milling about the Met while tourists are being turned away at the front gate.
Depending on this initiative's success, maybe we'll see other museums follow suit for their blockbuster exhibitions. High-priced off-hours visits could turn out to be the 3D IMAX of the museum industry.