Met Surprises With Choice of New Director

Tapestries curator takes over America's top museum job
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2008 9:34 AM CDT
Thomas P. Campbell will take over the directorship of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Philippe de Montebello.   ((c) bluesmoon)
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(Newser) – The Metropolitan Museum in New York has chosen Thomas P. Campbell, its curator of European tapestries, as its new director, reports the New York Times. Campbell succeeds Philippe de Montebello, who transformed the Met during his 31 years at the helm. The selection of Campbell, an insider who did not overtly campaign for the job, was one of the most closely guarded secrets in the art world.

Campbell, a 46-year-old Brit, wowed New York with his 2002 exhibition of Baroque tapestries, which brought in twice as many visitors as anticipated. As director he will face not only fundraising challenges, but also the task of keeping the Met relevant in a moment dominated by contemporary art. Yet while Campbell has focused on works from the 17th century, de Montebello praised him as "the most modern of us all."