Jed Perl isn’t an easy critic to please. But that’s what critics are supposed to do. They challenge, provoke and explain often using tiny clues to tease out much larger meanings. But here Perl gets a little carried away with the contents of a New York Times photo that just happens to have a very large Warhol Mao painting quite a distance in the background
The strange thing about Campbell is that he never would have been hired as director of the Met had he not, as a curator at the museum who mounted landmark exhibitions of Renaissance and Baroque tapestry, proven that intellectually and artistically demanding material can be embraced by a large, heterogeneous museumgoing public. The man seems to be running away from his own experience. So here we have Campbell, in an article by Randy Kennedy published a few weeks ago in the New York Times, posing in the Met’s modern and contemporary galleries, with an Andy Warhol portrait of Chairman Mao looming behind him. Why is he posing with Warhol, when the essential wonders of the Metropolitan include paintings by Rembrandt, Bruegel, and Duccio, spectacular medieval ivories, and eighteenth-century period rooms?
My worry is that Campbell now believes Warhol is what the public—the public that doesn’t “know much about art”—wants to see. Isn’t this a form of condescension?
Campbell Meets Warhol (The New Republic)