Archive for October, 2009

Juice!

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UnBeige, the design web site, calls Rogues’ Gallery a “wonderfully juicy tell-all about the Metropolitan Museum… highly recommended if you like reading about how major museums and/or rich people operate.” The book-that-must-not-be-mentioned aka the book-that-won’t-go-away also returned to the Bestseller List at Book Soup in LA this week at #9, so apparently some people do like that (the author noted gratefully).

Mehle Culpa

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The Metropolitan Museum has still not come forward with a response to my request that they identify alleged misinformation in Rogues’ Gallery, but last night at a party, the legendary gossip-and-society columnist Aileen “Suzy” Mehle pointed an error out to me — so again, I’m correcting it (here and in subsequent editions of the book). On page 402, I inadvertently identified a husband of the late supermodel Dorian Leigh as Suzy’s son. In fact, Dorian Leigh married Admiral Roger W. Mehle after he and Suzy were divorced and the model became the stepmother of Roger W. Mehle Jr. “You mixed … Continue reading

Rogues’ Gallery LIVE at NYPL

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Sometimes, things change for the better. This is one of them times. I will be speaking about Rogues’ Gallery at 5PM tomorrow (Wednesday) at the new Grand Central branch of the New York Public Library — yes, the New York Public Library. Howzabout that? It’s at 135 East 46th St. (between Third and Lex) on the second floor. There will be a special screened-off area for Metropolitan Museum staff and trustees. (Just kidding.) Annette de la Renta, Tom Campbelland Emily Rafferty will also attend. (Kidding, again. But they’re welcome to come and take up my challenge to point out any … Continue reading

See You On The Radio

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Travel Detective Peter Greenberg‘s SSI Radio show Worldwide just broadcast an interview about what Greenberg calls “the really controversial, must-read” Rogues’ Gallery. Author Michael Gross “is legendary for being the author who peels back all the layers of society and tells you what really goes on behind closed doors,” Greenberg says. Listen to it here.

Liz Smith: The Last(?) Last Word on the Last Mrs. Astor

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It’s too bad Liz Smith‘s column no longer appears in a New York newspaper. Her pillar in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune was a direct hit on the last nail in Brooke Astor’s coffin. “Mrs. Astor would have given up all she owned not to have had this blot on her escutcheon,” Smith says. “It’s true, Brooke disapproved of Tony [Marshall]‘s wife, Charlene; still, I think she’d have moved heaven and earth to keep this sordid story out of the courts and the newspapers. Brooke indeed might have been offended had she known of accusations against her only son; but she’d never … Continue reading

R.I.P. Dietrich von Bothmer

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Dietrich von Bothmer, the curator emeritus of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rhodes scholar and Bronze Star recipient for bravery in the South Pacific in World War II, died on Monday at Lenox Hill Hospital. He was 91 years old and had been in failing health for some time. Bothmer was responsible for some the most controversial acqusitions in the Museum’s recent history, including the famous Hot Pot aka the Sarpedon or Eupheronios krater, the Morgantina Silver and the Lydian hoard — all of which were later returned to the countries they’d been taken from. … Continue reading

“Delicious dish” delights Miss Rosen

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Sara Rosen, the powerhouse downtown publishing diva, has just posted an interview with me about Rogues’ Gallery, which she deems “magnificent,” on her new blog, Miss Rosen.

The Last Word on the Last Mrs. Astor

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As he has done before, David Patrick Columbia has come to some contrarian conclusions today on New York Social Diary about the close of the trial of Brooke Astor’s only child Anthony Marshall. Readers of this blog likely already know that I agree with him. “This was a household, a life, which was about the money,” Columbia writes. “It was about the money for the lady and about the money for everyone around her, including her staff, her son, naturally, and at least one of her grandsons, not to mention the Metropolitan Museum and The New York Public Library. It … Continue reading

“Enlightening… persuasive,” says The Economist’s More Intelligent Life

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Art historian Avis Berman, author of Rebels on Eighth Street, reviews Rogues’ Gallery today in “Art Museum Confidential”, on The Economist’s More Intelligent Life web site. Calling the book “enlightening” and “persuasive,”, she adds, “Gross is to be congratulated for the ingenuity of his research… Gross gets it right. After 140 years in existence, the Met was due for an exposé. Yet its gravitas and gorgeous objects have ensured the museum a position that no scandal is likely to destroy.”

Book Soup Will Survive

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The Los Angeles Times reports that a buyer has been found for Book Soup in West Hollywood, one of the greatest independent bookstores still standing. In a word: Huzzah!

The Rogues of Sag Harbor

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The John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, Long Island, has hit upon a unique way to raise funds — selling tickets to dinners organized around new books chosen by the dinner hosts. For the last night of its fourth annual One for the Books dinner, October 24th, it has included Rogues’ Gallery in its gallery of choices. Buy a ticket here.

“Money Makes Money…

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… and the money money makes makes more money,” Benjamin Franklin once said. That’s certainly true of Steven Mnuchin, the banking son of a Goldman Sachs banker, who has put his A-Line apartment at 740 Park on the market — sort of, it’s not on his broker’s web site — for $37.5 million and inspired the New York Times to dip into 740 Park again for accurate background on the building and Mnuchin’s family, which has kept the grand apartment in its clutches since 1963. Mnuchin and wife Heather, a descendent of a pre-Revolutionary War-era family, are moving west to … Continue reading

Astor Trial Ends: Guilty As Charged

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A jury just found Brooke Astor’s only child, Anthony Marshall, guilty on most counts of the indictment against him for looting his mother’s estate. But the story is far from over. An appeal is likely, my sources say, and a Westchester court still has to sort out competing claims regarding the late philanthropist’s estate. So the 85-year-old Marshall’s trials are far from over. Marshall inherited his mother’s seat on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees but, in an unprecedented action, was kicked out of that exclusive club when his misdeeds toward his mother — now confirmed by the … Continue reading

PEN vs. Libel Sword

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The British chapter of P.E.N. has issued a strong condemnation of that nation’s Draconian libel laws — pointing out that because of them, many important books are simply not being published there. “The real victims here are authors and readers, who are missing out on important non-fiction stories about global finance and corruption in high places as a result of these legal failings,” Jonathan Heawood, director of English PEN, tells The Bookseller.com. One London bookstore went so far as to call me, trying to fulfill customer requests for Rogues’ Gallery, which has been kept out of England for fear of … Continue reading