Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Philippe de Montebello on how the Metropolitan Museum of Art can reclaim its glory

By Andrew Goldstein
Philippe de Montebello. Courtesy of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library.
A grandee in the annals of American museum history, Philippe de Montebello is, at 81, an institution in his own right—as venerable and encyclopedic as would befit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which he led for three decades. Even though he retired in 2008, his name remains synonymous with the museum. Now the chairman of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, which he is leading through a multiyear renovation, de Montebello has been watching the recent turmoil at the Met—culminating in the ouster of director Thomas Campbell in February, and the ascension of Daniel Weiss as both interim director and president and CEO—with barely contained exasperation. Led astray by Campbell’s headlong embrace of the digital and contemporary art, the Met, de Montebello feels, is in need of a renaissance, and a return to its greatest strength: its collections. [More]