Is the Met Gala Protest-Proof?

If ever a Met Gala seemed primed to clash with its political moment, it was the 2024 Met.

On the one hand, there was the event: the most opulent, extravagant, expensive party of the year, where a single ticket cost a whopping $75,000 — 50 percent more than last year’s ticket and more than $15,000 more than the average American salary.

On the other hand, there was a city roiled by student protests over the war in Gaza and rived by the country’s first criminal trial of a former president, and a sponsor (Condé Nast) in a fight with its employees over their union.

Even the evening’s dress code seemed to acknowledge the dichotomy: “The Garden of Time,” the title of a J.G. Ballard short story about an aristocratic couple isolated in their mansion as an unruly mob draws ever closer, brandishing sticks and tools and a threat to their way of life.

“It’s oddly prescient,” Andrew Bolton, the curator in charge of the Met’s Costume Institute and the man who chose the theme, acknowledged the day before the gala — even though he said he had been thinking mostly about the garden idea when he chose it (and it was unclear whether many of the celebrities who attended had read the allegorical tale).

As the party began on Monday night, word came that a crowd was amassing, planning to march on Fifth Avenue in support of Palestine. Police officers were said to be assembling barricades after another large protest at Hunter College. There were calls, online, for everyone to join in a “primal scream” every hour from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., under the hashtag #DisruptTheMet.

Protesters marching on Fifth Avenue near East 76th Street during the Met Gala on Monday.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times
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