Saturday, December 12, 2009

RIP: Thomas Hoving 1931-2009

In his decade long tenure as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas Hoving effectively changed how every museum in the world operates. He had his critics but MC isn't among them. Hoving sought to keep museums alive and (that dreaded word) relevant. For the most part he succeeded even if lesser lights took his example to mean that fluff and nonsense should be part of the museum experience. It shouldn't but he can hardly be held accountable.
Click on the title of this post to read his obituary in the NYTimes. From the article:

Philippe de Montebello, who worked for many years under Mr. Hoving and succeeded him as director, said on Thursday: “People criticized him for his excesses, but you have to remember that it is not the timorous who climb life’s peaks. He has left us with a changed museum world.”

. . . . .

“Great art should be shown with great excitement,” he once said, citing an observation by a previous Met director that the museum is the “midwife of democracy.”

“And damn it, it is!” he said.

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