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Oral History of Met Revised

Open up and say, Ummm…

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Pick up a copy of Museum, an oral history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and you’ll learn how many colors it uses for its admission buttons (sixteen) and you’ll read about Met director Philippe de Montebello’s calling his predecessor Thomas Hoving “narcissistic and megalomaniacal” two pages before he announces, “I am the Met, the Met is me.” But you won’t be reading some other things that were prominent in the first galleys of the book—which author Danny Danziger circulated among all 50 interviewees. The result? Uproar at 1000 Fifth Avenue, a month’s delay in the publication date (now set for June 25), and a scissors job. Trustee Jayne Wrightsman’s remembrance was completely excised. De Montebello is no longer characterized by his French zealousness by the chairman of the board, James R. Houghton. And suddenly trustees Annette de la Renta and Henry Kravis became a lot more guarded in their opinions. A spokesman for Viking calls the modifications “run-of-the-mill editorial changes.” The Met spokesman says, “It was a matter of fact-checking—there was no wild-eyed running around to get things changed.”

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