Former Met Director Thomas Hoving Passes Away


Starting the day off with a sad announcement. The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s former director, Thomas Hoving, passed away late last week at the age of 78. Hoving ran the Met for a decade, following a very successful, but brief stint as New York City’s Parks Commissioner in the mid-60s, something fondly remembered here in this post by both retired NY Times reporter Ralph Blumenthal and one from author George Prochnik. His entire career was chronicled in his own trouble-making, Met-despised memoir, Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in Michael Gross‘ wonderful, secret history of the (in)famous museum and its people, Rogues Gallery. The Times has a nice obituary covering his life, as does the Washington Post and in this entry on New York‘s Vulture blog. Gross, who had spent lots of time with Hoving over the past couple of years in putting together Rogues, has a great entry on his own blog, sharing both his thoughts, some notes he’s received from the people who knew him, and even some words from Hoving himself. And helpful when you’re reading glowing quotes from people like also-former-Met-director Philippe de Montebello, here’s a quote Gross gave in the aforementioned New York story:

He was a lot more honest than the Met’s more recent leaders would have you believe, and far more real than the bearhugs he’s now getting in death from a museum mafia
that disdained him for the last thirty years of his life.

As our recommended tribute to Hoving, we think you should spend the next couple of minutes going back to his 2006 appearance on Studio 360, talking about fraudulent art.