Thomas P. Campbell
Thomas P. Campbell, PhD (born 1962), is the ninth director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere. After fourteen years as a curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, specialising in tapestries, he was elected Director and CEO on 9 September 2008.
Campbell has pursued an agenda for the Met that focuses on both scholarship and accessibility. These priorities maintain the museum's focus on exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and permanent collections, while encouraging new thinking about the visitor experience. Further initiatives have included exploring the judicious use of technology in the Museum and fully integrating education into all the Met's activities.
The Fiscal 1 July 2011 – June 30, 2012 saw the Met's highest attendance in 40 years, rising to 6.28 million. During that year the Museum also opened extensive new galleries for both its Islamic and American art and launched a redesigned website that now attracts more than 44 million visits per year. The Museum is currently working on plans to renovate The Costume Institute and a project to redesign the Museum's Fifth Avenue plaza and fountains. Also on the horizon is a collaboration with the Whitney Museum in which the Met will program its landmark Breuer Building on Madison Avenue and 75th Street starting in 2015.
Born in Singapore and raised in Cambridge, England, where he attended The Perse School, Campbell received his BA in English language and literature at New College, Oxford in 1984, followed by a Diploma from Christie's Fine and Decorative Arts course, London, in 1985. While studying for his master's degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1987), he discovered the extent to which mainstream art history had overlooked the major role that the tapestry medium played in European art and propaganda. During the following years, he worked to rectify this by creating the Franses Tapestry Archive in London (1987–94), which, with more than 120,000 images, is the largest and most up-to-date information resource on European tapestries and figurative textiles in the world. His early research culminated in several groundbreaking research articles and a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (1999) on the art and culture of King Henry VIII's court.
Campbell had worked in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts for fourteen years, rising steadily through the curatorial ranks as Assistant Curator (1995–97), Associate Curator (1997–2003), and Curator (2003 to December 2008). During this time, he conceived and organised the major exhibitions Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002) and Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (New York, 2007; Palacio Real, Madrid, spring 2008), both of which incorporated drawings, paintings, and prints, as well as tapestries, and received widespread acclaim. The 2002 exhibition was named "Exhibition of the Year" by Apollo magazine and its catalogue won the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award (College Art Association) for distinguished exhibition catalogue in the history of art (2003) Since shortly after his arrival at the Museum, he also served as Supervising Curator of The Antonio Ratti Textile Center, which houses the Museum's encyclopaedic collection of 36,000 textiles and is one of the preeminent centres of textile studies in the world.
Campbell has lectured and taught extensively on European court patronage and the relation of tapestries to the other arts, both to scholars and the general public, at institutions and museums in the United States and abroad. He has also published extensively on the subject of historic European textiles and their relationship to other art forms of their periods. He authored the book Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court (Yale University Press, 2007) and his articles have appeared in leading scholarly journals such as Burlington Magazine, Apollo Magazine, Studies in the Decorative Arts, and Gazette des Beaux-Arts. He has been the recipient of awards and fellowships, including the Iris Foundation Award (Bard Graduate Center) for a scholar in mid-career deserving of recognition for outstanding contributions to the study of the decorative arts (2003).
Dr. Campbell is married and lives in New York City. He and his wife Phoebe have a son and daughter.
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Philippe de Montebello
Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art