Archive for January, 2010

Those eyes! Those lips!

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One of my favorite profile subjects, the eternally boyish, though now-retired, fashion designer Calvin Klein, may not be working but seems to have had some boyish-making work done, says Cityfile.

Bad Times

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In its latest genuflection before the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Arts section of The New York Times has ignored the newspaper’s history as well as the museum’s. In today’s lead article on repairs to damaged art, reporter Randy Kennedy writes that such restorations are conducted in “a kind of seclusion unusual for the museum.” The italic emphasis is mine, for in truth, operating in seclusion is business as usual there — as any Times reporter or editor with access to its archives should know. The Met’s long history of willful obfuscation, opacity and disingenuousness verging on mendacity emerged as … Continue reading

Who’s Next?

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Last night, I attended a Fifth Avenue book club that had read Rogues’ Gallery, and I was asked about the future leadership of the Metropolitan Museum. A good question. Jamie Houghton, the museum’s chairman, shed his second most important title last month when the 74-year old confirmed he would step down as the senior fellow and longest serving member of the governing board of the Harvard Corporation in June (a resident of Corning, New York, Houghton sold his apartment at the Majestic in February 2008 and no longer maintains a home in New York City). His vice chairmen are Henry … Continue reading

Fifth on Fifth

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While Gripebox was taking its recent break, Judith Dobrzynski‘s Real Clear Arts blog reported the likelihood that the Metropolitan Museum of Art will rank only fifth among the world’s top museums in total visitors in 2009 with 4.8 million art-lovers passing through its turnstiles compared to 8.5 million at the Louvre in Paris, 5.6 million at London’s British Musem, and about 4.9 million at both its great rival, the National Gallery in Washington, and the Tate Modern, also in London. With budget cuts limiting his options and ability to mount the blockbusters that draw crowds and revenue, this puts new … Continue reading

A Vrai Rogue

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Last fall, I spoke at a literary lunch at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, where I was photographed (above) with a flamboyant bottle blonde character who called himself Mordan and ran a magazine and web site called SFR (for Social and Financial Responsibility) International that wrote up the event. This weekend, I learned that the not-so-responsible Mordan is in jail, revealed as an ex-convict and alleged to be a swindler. The D Magazine’s Sweet Charity philanthropy blog has been all over the story, noting the irony of this rogue’s appearance at a Rogues’ Gallery event. Blogger Jeanne Prejean was kind … Continue reading

Gotta Getaway

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Gripebox is taking a week off.

“Brutally detailed… a very rare read.”

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Lisa Feldmann, the editor-in-chief of the German magazine Annabelle, which ran the review of Rogues’ Gallery mentioned below, tells me it reads as follows: “Brutally detailed… A very rare read about the impudent team mentality, the elbow manoeuvres and the impertinence of the American High Society which is at its most impressive when egomania and the will to unconditional power camouflages itself with cultural assiduousness. I am very much looking forward to my next trip to New York – and a visit to the museum. I will have a look now from a very different perspective!”

Some Mercy for Marshall

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As predicted here, Anthony Marshall, the ailing 85-year-old only child of Brooke Astor, recently convicted of swindling his mother on her death-bed, isn’t going to prison so soon. An appeals court judge has ruled that the former Metropolitan Museum trustee, ambassador and war hero (and his co-defendent Francis X. Morrisey) can each stay free on a $5,000 bond pending appeals of their convictions, which could take years. The courts have thus shown Marshall — whose lawyers presented no defense at his trial (one was fired as a result) — more mercy than his mother and several fathers, his children, New … Continue reading

Wolff in the Doghouse?

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On his blog today, the dyspeptic Michael Wolff calls out the New York Times for omitting his name and book title from an anecdote about Rupert Murdoch that appears to be about him in its recent front pager on Fox News honcho Roger Ailes. A clever one, that Wolff, he manages to get a column out of the contretemps. So I figure hey, why not me, too? Wolff is certainly right that the Times, its “who, me?” protests notwithstanding plays favorites — and hardball, too. But Wolff is also being more than a little disingenuous. Not only did the Times … Continue reading

Sprechen sie deutsche?

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Another German fashion magazine has weighed in on Rogues’ Gallery. And again, I don’t know what it says, though Google Translate makes me pretty sure it’s highly complimentary, indicating that the item calls the book “brutal in its attention to detail when it comes to exposing the bottomless machinations of the cultural temple. Seldom have you read so much about the brazen Movers’ mentality and their insolent elbowing maneuvers in the High Society of America.” Or words to that effect. So thank you to the blog Backstage at Annabelle magazine. All translations welcome.

Mohammed’s Radio Silence

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In a story titled “Jihad Jitters” today, The New York Post reports that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is likely to keep artwork that it owns depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammed locked in its capacious basement when its new Islamic galleries open next year. This would be only the latest of many attempts by the museum to avoid geo-political controversy. In 1982, Mayor Ed Koch threatened the end the museum’s public funding when it cancelled a planned show of archaeological artifacts from the West Bank on the advice of trustee Henry Kissinger. Then-museum director Philippe de Montebello cited fears of … Continue reading

All the News That’s Fit to Paper Over

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It took two members of the eminent art journalism squad at the New York Times to write today’s story on the sudden and as-yet-unexplained resignation of Getty museum director Michael Brand. Toward the end, they veer into a brief review of power struggles at museums like the Getty where leadership is split between directors (in charge of art) and administrators (in charge of everything else). That veers quite close to inaccuracy — or to be more polite, a typical Times gloss on the true history of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, which the paper’s culture editors apparently find too messy to … Continue reading

Rogues’ Gallery is in Vogue

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But alas… it’s in German. Wish I knew what I said.

Reality TV, Russian-Style

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RT, the English-language Russian television-and-Internet network, began broadcasting this interview today.