Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Met, offered an explanation for the museum’s new direction. It just wasn’t a sustainable business model, he said, referring to displays of art created by artists.
We learned our lesson. We’ve done art shows and we’ve done fashion shows, and guess which side won? And there we were trying to offer actual art to the masseshell, most of them have never seen the stuff [art] before, and wouldn’t know it if they tripped over it at baggage claim on their way back to Iowaor wherever these people come from.
Therefore, the museum will continue to offer more displays such as last year’s wildly popular Alexander McQueen exhibit and this year’s Charles James show. Asked how the museum selected James for this year’s display Mr. Campbell said,
I have no idea. Don’t know who the guy is. Look, I’m an art guy and don’t know much about blouses, or scarves, or whatever that guy does, but you have to put asses in the seats, and pretty dresses do the trick. If you want to get people in the door you need to show them schlock that they can buy at Saks, I guess.
The museum will be removing its displays of Renaissance and modernist art in order to make room for more commercially popular shows, including one dedicated to popular t-shirts of the 1980’s which like the other fashion shows will be hosted by the ‘Costume Institute.’ (Mr. Campbell noted,Hey, Costume Institute sounds more respectable than ‘Shiny gowns worn by celebrities’, right? You gotta give me something.) In related changes, the Museum will also be clearing the Egyptian wing in order to mount an American muscle car show which, like the fashion shows, will focus on the work of one designerthe first one will be 1970’s Plymouth design head and noted Toledo, Ohio bowling league participant Joseph Grebowski. The museum hopes this display will appeal to a more diverse audience than the fashion shows have attracted, which to this point has been almost exclusively shopping-obsessed women and middle-aged gay men.
Mr. Campbell admitted that the museum is currently searching for a new directorpreferably one unhindered by a degree in art or a background as a museum director. Mario Lopez, host of the TMZ celebrity gossip TV show, is a leading candidate whom the museum hopes will be able to curate next year’s fashion display, which has the working title of V. Stiviano’s Clothing: A Headwear and Flip-Flop Retrospective. Following the first pre-sale there is already a six month wait list for admission tickets.
Metropolitan Museum of Art to End Art Exhibits; Only Clothing and Other Crass Displays of Commercialism in the Future