Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Story of J. Carter Brown and the Museum Revival

“Treasures of Tutankhamun” (1976-77) was the first exhibition to be deemed a “blockbuster,” and its arrival at the National Gallery was a stunning proclamation that a new day had arrived in museum life. It was also a signal to other high-on-the-radar museums that the National Gallery was now a significant cultural force. That it beat out Thomas Hoving’s Metropolitan Museum for the Tut extravaganza speaks to Brown’s ability as a cultural diplomat—he involved both President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in landing the exhibition—and his fierce ambition. Brown happily admitted that he loved “the chase” as well as the spectacle, and Hoving later confessed that he had “watched, grinding my teeth, as Carter Brown plucked show after show away from me.” 

Read the rest of The Weekly Standard review of Capital Culture.

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