Past, Present and Future of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Tarika Agarwal attends a talk by Dr. Thomas P. Campbell, Director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, in Mumbai

Thomas Campbell Talk in MumbaiMumbai: On March 29, Jnanapravaha hosted a talk by Dr. Thomas P. Campbell, the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in Mumbai. Dr. Campbell is the ninth Director of the Metropolitan Museum. Before becoming Director in 2009,  he worked at the Met’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts for fourteen years, rising steadily through various curatorial ranks.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Dr. Campbell spoke about the beginnings of this iconic institution, its history, current program and future plans. An idea, that’s how the Metropolitan Museum started out. They owned nothing and all they had was a basic social and moral premise that the world should have access to great art. They believed that anyone that came to the Met should leave with a heightened sense of thought and as the world developed so would the Met. The story of the museum is a tale of determination, civic responsibility and profound generosity. What was perhaps a wildly ambitious concept in 1870, in 143 years it has grown into the greatest encyclopedic museum in the world today. The Met’s concept was to collect, preserve, study, exhibit and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1870

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1870

Some of the phenomenal achievements the museum has had over the years include acquiring J.P. Morgan’s collection in 1914, the Mona Lisa exhibition in 1963, which attracted over a million visitors during its course, and a Picasso Show in 2010 which was entirely drawn from a personal collection. The Met also has a comprehensive collection of art from the Indian sub-continent, collected since 1891, from the early beginnings of the museum. The holdings include sculpture, painting, textiles, and various other media that span from about 2500 B.C. to modern times. A small part of this collection is exhibited in the Herbert and Florence Irving Galleries of South and Southeast Asian Art as well as the new Islamic wing titled Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. Click here to learn more about this wing.

Dr. Campbell was in India to facilitate a path breaking partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Last week, the Met Museum and the Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding expressing mutual willingness to establish a long-term relationship of cooperation. This cooperation will extend in the areas of conservation, exhibition, academic research, sharing of information and published resources, public education, promotion, publications, museum management, and short- and long-term loans. Read more about this partnership here.

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