Entangled relations: Signs and consequences of conflated patronage at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila from 1976-1986
Cruz, May Lyn L.
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This thesis asserts that in its first ten years (1976-1986), the Metropolitan Museum of Manila dealt with a conflated patronage wherein state support and the private art patron fused in one person. In this kind of patronage, state motives and private interests overlap, align and are pursued simultaneously. Likewise, the resources of both state and the private patron consolidate in a conflated patronage, creating immense power and influence. This conflated patronage is personified in the Met Museum's founding president and chairman, First Lady Imelda Marcos, who embodied the state authority, dilettante and art collector all at the same time. She controlled immense resources as a representative of the state, but acted as a private patron unconstrained by bureaucratic prescriptions. Her power and authority in the museums is unequalled and uncontested. Through her support, the museum became a model modern museum, but often at the cost of ethical and professional transgressions in order to accommodate the state and private agendas she espoused. Heavily dependent on her patronage, the museum behaved as an art institution, a state instrument, and a personal gallery. This thesis argues that conflated patronage worked on and through the museum's administration and governance, exhibition programming and collections management. These critical fields reveal a mingling of state motives of power legitimation and social control with personal motives of elite distinction and wealth accumulation amidst the museum's own pursuit to professionalize and standardize its operations.