Michael Gross, author of the revisionist history of the Metropolitan Museum called Rogue’s Gallery, takes the occasion of the New Yorker’s profile of Met director Tom Campbell’s profile to explain the relationship:
It’s been almost eleven months since the Metropolitan Museum named Thomas Campbell, a British tapestries expert, its new director. Since then, he’s given only a few interviews, none of them particularly revealing of either his personality (shy but graceful) or his plans for the museum (spend less, update the web site). But his — or more likely, the Met’s press office — choice of outlets for those interviews says quite a bit more. The museum is only interested in publicity it can control.
Campbell’s first tentative conversations were with the New York Times, which has functioned as the Met’s in-house newsletter ever since its former chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger took the same title at the museum, and British newspapers. More recently, he’s spoken to two glossy magazines — both arms of Conde Nast, the famously Anglophile publishing house — Vogue and The New Yorker; at the latter, his interlocutor was even a British-born writer. Considering that the Met was born from the desire of 19th Century New Yorkers to demonstrate that Americans were the equals of Europeans in things cultural, these choices send a curious message. A more practical explanation may be found in Conde Nast’s longtime financial support of the museum, funneled through its Costume Institute, the fashion and fundraising venture behind the museum’s image-enhancing Party of the Year.
The Art of Backscratching (Huffington Post)