The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Shark in the Room

How will a change in leadership at the Metropolitan Museum of Art shift the museum's direction?
Todd Jick  | Spring 2010
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In 2008, Philippe de Montebello, who had served as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than 30 years, announced his retirement. De Montebello was a revered figure with a flair for working with the board of trustees and for creating blockbuster exhibitions. He had also weathered a controversial exhibit, arranged by the museum's curator of modern art, of Damien Hirst's so-called "shark" sculpture, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. Not long after the shark's installation, de Montello was succeeded by Thomas Campbell, a long-time curator at the Met with a specialty in European tapestry. At a time of financial instability and shifts in museum goers tastes, this appointment appeared a commitment to the status quo. In this case, students explore how this new leader will change the museum's direction.

Case ID: 100404

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