Thomas P. Campbell Named Director of the Met — But Is He Snooty Enough?

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Campbell (left) with outgoing director Philippe de Montebello. Photo: Don Pollard

Yesterday, following an intense eight-month search, the Metropolitan Museum of Art named Thomas P. Campbell its new director, a post soon to be vacated by the retiring Philippe de Montebello, who's been the Met's chief executive for a record 31 years. Campbell, the museum's tapestry curator since 1995, beat out a host of other qualified finalists including several more-senior Met curators (previous odds-on favorite Gary Tinterow among them). But, while certainly no one doubts his impeccable credentials — holding degrees from Oxford and London's Courtand Courtauld Institute of Art, he's been responsible for groundbreaking research on the long-overlooked influence of tapestry on European art and propaganda — the question on everyone's mind this morning is, Is he snooty enough?

Since we know virtually nothing about the practical realities of running an art museum — only that Montebello's patrician air and impressive command over six languages made him an ideal director — we only hope that Campbell can live up to his predecessor's aristocratic disposition. But how to measure such a thing? Luckily, Vulture has exactly the right tool: our Snootometer, which accurately gauges the snootiness of any person on a scale of zero (John Goodman) to ten (the maître d' from Ferris Bueller's Day Off), based not on their actual qualifications, but solely their résumé and photo.

We suppose we can overlook — for now — the fact that he's smiling in both of his pictures; he was just named the new director of the Met, after all. Also, the Times says he's "well liked" at the museum, which we'd typically deduct points for, but we suspect it could just be that everyone is trying to suck up to the new boss. Campbell's glasses, suit, and probable British accent (he was born in Cambridge, England), along with the title of his book, Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty: Tapestries at the Tudor Court, all bode extremely well for his snootiness. Also, look at that thing he's doing with his hands in the top photo: très snooty! We guess he'll do.
SNOOTOMETER RATING: 8.0




Met Chooses Tapestries Curator to Lead Museum [NYT]