Awards In Italian Culture 2014
American Award to Thomas P. Campbell
Thomas P. Campbell became the ninth Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on January 1, 2009. Since he began, Campbell has pursued an agenda for the Met that focuses on scholarship and accessibility. These priorities maintain the Museum’s excellence in its exhibitions, publications, acquisitions and permanent collection, while encouraging new thinking about the visitor experience. Further initiatives include exploring the judicious use of technology in the Museum and fully integrating education into all the Met’s activities.
Under Campbell’s leadership, the Met has just completed one of the most dynamic six-year periods in its history. The main building was transformed by new galleries for Islamic and American art, The Costume Institute, and European Paintings, while the plaza renovation reinvigorated the Met’s exterior. The Museum signed an eight-year agreement to program the Whitney’s landmark Marcel Breuer Building beginning in September 2015. Major acquisitions were led by the 2013 promised gift of the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection. Groundbreaking exhibitions and publications upheld a tradition of scholarship and exploration, while Concerts & Lectures demonstrated a whole new approach to performance at the Met, allowing artists of all kinds to respond to and reflect on the collections.
Beyond the galleries, innovative web features thrive with content unique to the Met, while a new app and the use of social media have pioneered a new interface between the public, the staff, and the collection. The Museum has connected—across the Met and around the globe—to colleagues, thought leaders, and partners of all kinds, and has increased its attendance from 4.5 million to 6.2 million, all while building an online audience of over 40 million visits—more than six times as large as its on-site museum visitation.
Before becoming Director and CEO, Campbell worked in the Met's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts for fourteen years, rising steadily through the curatorial ranks as Assistant Curator (1995-97), Associate Curator (1997-2003), and Curator (2003 to December 2008). During this time, he conceived and organized the major exhibitions Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002) and Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (New York, 2007; Palacio Real, Madrid, spring 2008), both of which incorporated drawings, paintings, and prints, as well as tapestries, and received widespread acclaim. The 2002 exhibition was named "Exhibition of the Year" by Apollo Magazine and its catalogue won the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award (College Art Association) for distinguished exhibition catalogue in the history of art (2003). Since shortly after his arrival at the Museum, he also served as Supervising Curator of The Antonio Ratti Textile Center, which houses the Museum's encyclopedic collection of 36,000 textiles and is one of the preeminent centers of textile studies in the world.
Campbell has lectured and taught extensively on European court patronage and the relation of tapestries to the other arts, both to scholars and the general public, at institutions and museums in the United States and abroad. He has also published extensively on the subject of historic European textiles and their relationship to other art forms of their periods. His most recent book is Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court (Yale University Press, 2007), and his articles have appeared in leading scholarly journals such as Burlington Magazine, Apollo Magazine, Studies in the Decorative Arts, and Gazette des Beaux-Arts. He has been the recipient of awards and fellowships, including the Iris Foundation Award (Bard Graduate Center) for a scholar in mid-career deserving of recognition for outstanding contributions to the study of the decorative arts (2003).
Born in Singapore and raised in Cambridge, England, where he attended The Perse School, Campbell received his B.A. in English language and literature from the University of Oxford in 1984, followed by a Diploma from Christie’s Fine and Decorative Arts course, London, in 1985. While studying for his Master’s degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1987), he discovered the extent to which mainstream art history had overlooked the major role that the tapestry medium played in European art and propaganda. During the following years, he worked to rectify this by creating the Franses Tapestry Archive in London (1987-94), which, with more than 120,000 images, is the largest and most up-to-date information resource on European tapestries and figurative textiles in the world. His early research culminated in several groundbreaking research articles and a Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute (1999) on the art and culture of King Henry VIII’s court.