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Archive for June, 2007

(Kill the) Chill Bill

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The following letter came from The Author’s Guild yesterday. My response to it follows. There’s been a sudden and alarming push in the New York State Legislature to pass a bill that would create a posthumous “right of publicity” for anyone who died since Jan. 1, 1938. The bills would give heirs the right to control the use of the “name, portrait, voice, signature or picture” of anyone who died within the last 70 years for “advertising purposes or for purposes of trade.” The legislation provides for criminal penalties for unauthorized uses and gives heirs a right to sue for … Continue reading

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course, Of Course

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I just heard about an article called “Literary Censorship at the Met?”, which apparently ran last week in Publishers Weekly. It is the most pointed piece yet on the contretemps that resulted from the brief banning of Nicholas Fox Weber‘s The Clarks of Cooperstown(which was written to coincide with an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) from the museum’s bookstore. In the course of reporting that story, a number of newspapers and magazines discovered that Weber’s book wasn’t alone. From them, I learned that Patricia Bosworth‘s Diane Arbus: A Biography was removed during the Met’s Arbus show, and my … Continue reading

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

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The Blackstone Group’s planned sale of shares to the public has raised a predictable hue and cry focusing on the likely multi-billion-dollar reward its founders, Steve Schwarzman and Pete Peterson, will walk away with. As I learned last week, when several newspapers tracked me down in the Caribbean to interview me about him, most of the focus is on Schwarzman, owner of the former Rockefeller-Steinberg apartment at 740 Park, likely a result of his assiduous cultivation of a very public profile in recent years. Now, the New York Times and New York Post are both reporting an unintended consequence of … Continue reading

Making the Mummies Cringe, Pt. III

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The New York Sun says that a certain book called 740 Park was removed from the shelves of the Metropolitan Museum of Art bookstore when its author decided to write his next book about… the Met. Say it ain’t so, M. de Montebello!


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Though Philippe de Montebello, 71, has made his intention to remain in his job as director of the Metropolitan Museum abundantly clear (even boasting to author Danny Danziger that “I’m the institution to a level I’m not sure is healthy; the institution and I have totally merged”), the art world buzzes nonetheless with speculation about who will succeed him. The latest candidate touted for the job-unopening was Timothy Potts, director of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, until his abrupt resignation a few days ago. But Potts isn’t heading to 1000 Fifth Ave. —at least not yet. Instead, … Continue reading

Making the Mummies Cringe, Pt. II

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Today’s New York Times reports that the Metropolitan Museum of Art bookstore may have banned a book, The Clarks of Cooperstown by Nicholas Fox Weber, about the notable and notably interesting art-collecting family. The article hints that the book ban resulted from its discussion of homosexuality in the Clark clan. Museum spokesman Harold Holzer, who (curiously enough) moonlights as an author himself, begs to differ, claiming it’s all about the Benjamins, baby, i.e. the museum’s desire to goose sales of the catalog for its current — and terrific, by the way — Clark collection exhibit. But granted that this news … Continue reading