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The 1963 American exhibition of the Mona Lisa in New York City and Washington, D.C., was America's first blockbuster art show, and Davis recounts in numbing detail the negotiations, preparations, flummoxes and successes of the exhibit. The exhibition was masterminded by the diplomatically savvy Mrs. Kennedy, whose personal relationships with French cultural minister André Malraux and National Gallery director John Walker overcame negative French press and concerns over subjecting a fragile artwork to a transatlantic journey. Heavily guarded and packed in a custom strong box, the Mona Lisa traveled in a first-class cabin on the USS France. Though Walker planned the exhibit with military precision, the opening ceremony was chaotic, and the painting was badly hung and poorly lit. Although Davis's (Rivers in the Desert) tale of the inner workings of a major art exhibition has its moments, it's undermined by padding (like the text of an imagined interview of LaGioconda by a "newspaper reporter with nothing to report") and the author's fawning over "Jackie." 16 pages of b&w photos. (Nov. 15)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.