Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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by Danny Danziger
     
 

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An 'intriguing' oral portrait of the people behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Entertainment Weekly)

Using more than fifty interviews, award-winning writer Danny Danziger creates a fascinating mosaic of the people behind New York's magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art. From the aristocratic, acerbic director of the museum, Philippe de

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Overview

An 'intriguing' oral portrait of the people behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Entertainment Weekly)

Using more than fifty interviews, award-winning writer Danny Danziger creates a fascinating mosaic of the people behind New York's magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art. From the aristocratic, acerbic director of the museum, Philippe de Montebello, to the curators who have a deep knowledge and passionate appreciation of their collections, from the security guards to the philanthropists who keep the museum's financial life blood flowing, Danziger brings to life this extraordinary world through the words of those who are devoted to making the Met the American institution it surely is.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With full cooperation from one of the world's greatest art museums, London-based journalist Danziger (The Year 1000) interviewed over 50 individuals who attend to everything from the museum's artwork to its cleanliness, security, flowers and food. The result is a riveting, insightful and often touching group portrait of those who run New York's premier tourist attraction. Because the chapters are organized alphabetically, the story of how an aspiring opera singer became a waitress in the Trustees Dining Room is followed by the curator of European paintings describing how the museum acquired Duccio's Madonna and Child in 2005. Such juxtapositions reflect the varied mosaic of personalities that make up the Met, yet also serve an implicit purpose: to demystify and personalize the institution. Danziger's own curiosity is broad-ranging and infectious, and while the picture that emerges of the Met is overwhelmingly positive, issues such as curatorial bias, racial and ethnic diversity among the museum's visitors and the commercialization of museums are raised. This book is unique, highly enjoyable and will appeal to anyone-from the generalist to the specialist-interested in an intimate and rare view of the Metropolitan. (June 25)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Atlantic
The genius of Danziger is to get to the heart of an institution through myriad personal interviews . . . from cleaner and waitress through curator, trustee, and CEO.
Library Journal

From its proposal in 1866 as a national institution and gallery of art, the Metropolitan Museum has been the pride of eminent Americans devoted to sharing their love of art with the public. In this work of oral history, Danziger (coauthor of The Year 1000and 1215: The Year of the Magna Carta) attempts to humanize one of New York City's premiere elitist institutions and by and large succeeds. He interviewed dozens connected with the Met-not just the museum's director, Philippe de Montebello, but its trustees, curators, benefactors, and employees in various departments (e.g., plumbing, cleaning, security, merchandising, and fire safety). After a brief preface, Danziger presents the respondents talking in first person without prompting or pause. This gives the text powerful impact, although in some cases one can almost hear Danziger's questions. What all 52 interviewees seem to have in common is a love of art, of the Metropolitan Museum, and of the privilege of being associated with the museum as well as the pleasure of sharing their love with the world. Recommended for libraries with a strong interest in art or New York.
—Ilene Skeen

Kirkus Reviews
An entertaining peek behind the curtains-and the security cameras, and the interpretive signage, and the archival cases and winding basements-of Manhattan's famed house of culture. Who knew that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is New York City's foremost tourist attraction, welcoming more than four-million visitors yearly? According to pop historian Danziger (1215: The Year of Magna Carta, 2004, etc.), each of the Met's thousands of employees does, so justifiably proud are they of the world's second-largest museum (after the Louvre). Danziger lets some 50 of those employees speak for themselves in a series of first-person monologues (democratically organized in alphabetical order) preceded by one-paragraph profiles. He begins, fittingly, with immigrant, Honduras-born custodian Juan Aranda, who reveals, "the ledges on the balcony above the Main Entrance are the most difficult places to clean because they are so hard to reach." Also hard to reach are some of the prices the international art market commands, admits Keith Christiansen, a curator specializing in the earliest stirrings of the Renaissance who was able to procure a rarest-of-the-rare Duccio by appealing to the vanity of the Met's director. "Tom Hoving had his Juan de Pareja," Christiansen told Philippe de Montebello. "I don't see why you shouldn't have this toward the end of your career." For his part, Montebello proclaims, "I am the Met," and contemplates his last walk through the galleries in "maximum zenithal light." From high and low, all the people of the Met gladly own their positions and take them with the utmost seriousness, providing here a primer on the care and feeding of a massive public institution that spends andearns millions upon hundreds of millions and houses some of the nation's and the world's greatest treasures. A delectable pleasure for Met devotees.
From the Publisher
“ The genius of Danziger is to get to the heart of an institution through myriad personal interviews . . . from cleaner and waitress through curator, trustee, and CEO.”—The Atlantic

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670038619
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
06/21/2007
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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