Archive for May, 2010

Who Kidnapped Brooke Astor? (NEWS FLASH: She’s Been Found!)

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The Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute has a new-ish show, “American Woman,” exploring the modern woman through dress —a very original way to look at women, no? But that’s not what interests me most here. At the very end of the show, there’s a gallery where still images of 200 iconic American women are projected onto the wall as living symbols of female emancipation, and their physical and intellectual liberation. I just got a list of those women and some are very worthy, but it’s a missing name — the late Brooke Astor’s — that intrigues me most. Admittedly, she was … Continue reading

I Can’t Get No WSJ-atisfaction

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Do squeaky wheel get oiled? When I was at the New York Times I was taught that when someone called demanding a correction, I should always try to talk them out of it first. Today, blogger Scott Rosenberg reports how he recently bullied the Wall Street Journal into fixing a mistake. Which sent FishbowlNY digging into the archives of Gripebox to find my post of last fall about a still-uncorrected (and this has just got to be a record) five mistakes in one twenty-word WSJ sentence about 740 Park. That, at least, is satisfying.

The Circle Game: The Whitney and the Metropolitan

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Art + Auction’s In the Air column revealed a few days ago that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is talking to the Whitney about taking over its Madison Avenue headquarters when and if the smaller institution moves to MePa. Rogues’ Gallery tells the whole saga of the pas de deux between the two museums, including the hilarious tale of how a merger was discussed for nearly twenty years and a Whitney Wing designed to be added to the Met, only to have the whole thing blow up over issues of curatorial arrogance and donor ambition (the two main subjects of … Continue reading

“Greed is good… material”

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Bedford-Katonah Patch’s Jessica Schneidman reports on last week’s CrossTalk benefit in the Katona Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden which paired a certain author with the actress Patricia Clarkson (above right). “In addition to their keen senses of humor, as one audience member remarked, both guests seemed focused on ‘authenticity’ and the exposition of greed, corporate and otherwise,” she writes. Speaking of greed and good material, today’s New York Post highlights administrator salaries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a story titled “Culture vultures.” Suzanne Brenner, the Met’s chief investment officer, made $1.28 million as she watched the value of … Continue reading

Patricia Clarkson and Me? Wheee!

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Oscar-nominated actresss Patricia Clarkson (above lower right in the SNL short Motherlover) and I appear together and separately tomorrow night at Crosstalk, a benefit for The Katonah Museum of Art and the Katonah Village Library. It starts with a reception at 6:30 PM at the museum at 134 Jay Street in Katonah, NY. “It’s usually the literati who show up here and not the glitterati,” Clarkson told a local newpspaer. “I do have to share a stage with Michael Gross, which is intimidating, but I will try to hold my own. I’ll be wearing a very short skirt.” In response, … Continue reading

The Mob=The Met?

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The Art Newspaper, the foremost international source of art news, asks today if the Metropolitan Museum of Art is behaving like the Cosa Nostra. “Omertà and oral history might seem a contradiction in terms, but great museums move in mysterious, some might say Sicilian ways as the writer Michael Gross discovered,” it observes. In writing anything at all about The Book That Must Not Be Mentioned, The Art Newspaper is breaking the ring of silence that has surrounded Rogues’ Gallery since it was first pubished last year. Some dare call it news. For much of the art press, however, the … Continue reading

Pub Day: “An amazing tale of intrigue”

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Rogues’ Gallery (the paperback) is in stores today. Tonight at 7:30 PM, I’ll be giving the annual Endowment Fund Lecture for the Rockville Centre Public Library at my alma mater, the South Side Middle School (67 Hillside Avenue). Check the link for further details and to buy tickets. Thursday night, I’m speaking about the book at the Association of the Bar of New York (42 West 44th Street 6-8PM) as part of its Books at the Bar program (free and open to the public). Presumably any new threats of litigation against it will be dealt with on the spot.

Quote(s) of the day

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Today’s Page Six quotes my recent blog post on last week’s so-called Party of the Year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And responding to my Huffington Post post, Oral-Gate (reprinted just below), on the Smithsonian refusing to keep the Metropolitan’s secrets, Jesse Kornbluth at headbutler wonders, “When is the Met going to grow up?” C’mon Jesse, the museum isn’t even 150 yet!

Oral-gate: More Secrets at the Metropolitan Museum

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When I began researching Rogues Gallery, my “social” history of the leaders and benefactors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I discovered that although the institution celebrates the history of human creation, the Met’s keepers were profoundly anti-historical when it came to their own story. “If we say we won’t cooperate, will you go away?” was the first response of the Met’s chief flack who, ironically, moonlights writing history books himself. Little did I know that another great American museum — The Smithsonian Institution — would not only agree with me, but would, when push came to shove, refuse to … Continue reading

I have seen the scat future and it is Nikki Yanofsky

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The sweet sixteen sensation live on May 4th 2010 at Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Club, Columbus Circle

History made “palatable”

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The annual Vogue magazine corporate promotion party… oh, sorry, the Metropolitan Museum’s annual Party of the Year for its Costume Institute… was held last night and inspired the usual outpouring of uncritical praise from press folk who probably did not pay the $15,000-per-plate price of admission. Once the exclusive social event of the year, the party is now a paparazzi photo-op for movie and TV stars, a fashion marketing vehicle and a staging ground for six months of features for Vogue. Once the exclusive province of society demi-Goddeses like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Marella Agnella, Babe Paley and Pat Buckley, it … Continue reading

Father of Mine

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Cindy Adams takes off after New York’s new bike Nazis at the end of an hysterical rant-romp on urban manners in today’s New York Post. Though her real target is “our revered, beloved, adored Emperor Bloomberg” for the “imbecilic, idiotic, vehicular ruling” that “turned Broadway into Rockaway… The Street of Dreams, the most famous area on this planet, into a nightmare” — a pedestrian plaza — she reserves special scorn for Bloomberg’s “whacked-out” transportation commissioner: “this unknown whack-job with the three names — Janette Sadik-Something… whom nobody, not one soul, not even her family, ever heard of — and who … Continue reading