web site hit counter Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Availability: Ready to download

No museum in the world is like the Metropolitan Museum of Art - and no man has ever run it, or revolutionized it, quite like Thomas Hoving. In a decade, Hoving changed almost everything people had grown accustomed to from the Met, shaking the institution out of royal repose and transforming it into the most vital cultural presence in the country. Now, the irrepressible for No museum in the world is like the Metropolitan Museum of Art - and no man has ever run it, or revolutionized it, quite like Thomas Hoving. In a decade, Hoving changed almost everything people had grown accustomed to from the Met, shaking the institution out of royal repose and transforming it into the most vital cultural presence in the country. Now, the irrepressible former director delivers a fearless account of his life at the pinnacle of the art world - a modern Vanity Fair, a true story of masterpieces and money, society and scandal, intrigue and international theft. The Met is more than a dazzling art showplace. The museum is a vibrant if quietly influential community, inhabited and run by singular sorts of people: trustees and curators, connoisseurs and conservators. It is steeped in history and tradition and seems to move in a serene and elegant world of impeccable manners and the finest taste. Behind the proper social veneers and pristine marble galleries, Hoving reveals the cutthroat precincts where the real business of the Met is carried out. From seducing important patrons like Robert Lehman, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Annenberg, and Brooke Astor to spiriting ancient treasures across international borders; from striking secret agreements with the world's most powerful dealers to sidestepping rivals; from securing blockbuster exhibitions, like "Tut" and "The Glory of Russian Costume," to seizing the most phenomenal Velazquez portrait, Hoving shares not only the nimbleness and brashness that made him so effective, but also the zeal and passion that made the Met so exciting. Making the Mummies Dance is told in the head-on, even naughty, way that is trademark Hoving. This is an important, shocking museum story and more - an unforgettable tale of power struggles and one-upmanship, fame, big money, and, of course, great art.


Compare

No museum in the world is like the Metropolitan Museum of Art - and no man has ever run it, or revolutionized it, quite like Thomas Hoving. In a decade, Hoving changed almost everything people had grown accustomed to from the Met, shaking the institution out of royal repose and transforming it into the most vital cultural presence in the country. Now, the irrepressible for No museum in the world is like the Metropolitan Museum of Art - and no man has ever run it, or revolutionized it, quite like Thomas Hoving. In a decade, Hoving changed almost everything people had grown accustomed to from the Met, shaking the institution out of royal repose and transforming it into the most vital cultural presence in the country. Now, the irrepressible former director delivers a fearless account of his life at the pinnacle of the art world - a modern Vanity Fair, a true story of masterpieces and money, society and scandal, intrigue and international theft. The Met is more than a dazzling art showplace. The museum is a vibrant if quietly influential community, inhabited and run by singular sorts of people: trustees and curators, connoisseurs and conservators. It is steeped in history and tradition and seems to move in a serene and elegant world of impeccable manners and the finest taste. Behind the proper social veneers and pristine marble galleries, Hoving reveals the cutthroat precincts where the real business of the Met is carried out. From seducing important patrons like Robert Lehman, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Annenberg, and Brooke Astor to spiriting ancient treasures across international borders; from striking secret agreements with the world's most powerful dealers to sidestepping rivals; from securing blockbuster exhibitions, like "Tut" and "The Glory of Russian Costume," to seizing the most phenomenal Velazquez portrait, Hoving shares not only the nimbleness and brashness that made him so effective, but also the zeal and passion that made the Met so exciting. Making the Mummies Dance is told in the head-on, even naughty, way that is trademark Hoving. This is an important, shocking museum story and more - an unforgettable tale of power struggles and one-upmanship, fame, big money, and, of course, great art.

30 review for Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Thomas Hoving served as the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1967-1977 and was responsible for helping create the era of the blockbuster exhibition. He saw his mission as acquiring the greatest works of art that would come on the market, even if it meant deaccessioning large groups of lesser works. Under his leadership the Met bought the Euphronios Krater, created around 515 B.C. and considered one of the finest ancient Greek vases in existence (it was repatriated to Italy in 2008 Thomas Hoving served as the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1967-1977 and was responsible for helping create the era of the blockbuster exhibition. He saw his mission as acquiring the greatest works of art that would come on the market, even if it meant deaccessioning large groups of lesser works. Under his leadership the Met bought the Euphronios Krater, created around 515 B.C. and considered one of the finest ancient Greek vases in existence (it was repatriated to Italy in 2008 since it had originally been stolen by tomb raiders), and Diego Velázquez's Portrait of Juan de Pareja, which cost $5.4 million in 1971 (about $34.3 million in 2020 dollars, which doesn't even sound that outrageous given the prices Van Goghs and even Basquiats are going for). Euphronios Krater Portrait of Juan de Pareja Hoving depicts himself as a swashbuckler, easily bored, quick to anger (he was kicked out of Phillips Exeter after six months for punching a Latin teacher). He admits to being a "womanizer," hiring "pricey call girls" while on business trips in Europe, a sex tourist in Vienna. Most of all, he is a man deeply impressed by his own wiliness and subterfuges in the pursuit of getting what he wanted, and by the end of the memoir I was relieved to stop reading things like: "I tried to look innocent." "I smiled benignly.... I nodded my head in agreement. Then gently, I retaliated." "I sat looking glum, wanting to make them think I had decided against." "I had tricked Heckscher and the city government... It worked. No one figured it out." "I sneaked up to the door of the room where he was phoning and listened." "After my unwise enthusiasm with Hecht I chose a different tack. I ignored him completely. He began to waver." "And, amusingly enough, neither he, nor Rousseau, nor Bothmer realized what had occurred.... I smiled and waved my hand dismissively, but I was so excited I was yelling inside." "I got in touch with Jayne Wrightsman and carried on despondently about how we were going to miss the greatest French painting in the world. I explained that the university was shopping it around. I neglected to tell her we had first and last crack at it." "I sped to London, got instructions on how to drive to Sutton Place from Getty's secretary, and rented a car, the smallest car possible - a Morris Mini - and paid a tip not to have the car washed." His New York Times obituary notes that "His memoir of his years leading the Met was written with all the flair of a potboiler, helped along by passages that bordered on the fictional, at least heavily embellished. Mr. Hoving seemed to anticipate criticism of the book and the pivotal years it described by saving some of the harshest assessments for himself, calling himself cold, driven, hypocritical and impulsive." But we're not told which passages are embellished or fictional. There are sections which drag, such as Hoving's struggle to get his clutches on investment banker Robert Lehman's collection before and after Lehman's death (Lehman's son seemed to want to renege on his father's bequest at first), and the battle to expand the Met into Central Park, redesign, and build new galleries. MOMA, which owns Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World, quotes him as saying “The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless.” But Hoving interviewed Wyeth and has him cackling, "You'd just die if you knew how many people write these gushy letters to me about that 'beautiful, young' Christina! Ha! She was a cripple, for Pete's sake. That's what I liked about her. I liked the fact that she was dying before my very eyes. Oh, I loved her, sure, but to me, that body wasting away, well, that was fascinating." Christina's World Sometimes curators would organize shows behind Hoving's back, which I found extremely odd. As a director, how can you not be aware of what exhibits are on the horizon? One consisted of 35 paintings by the mediocre pre-Raphaelite Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, owned by Allen Funt. The curator had even sent over paintings from the Met's collection, including ones by El Greco and Gauguin, "to fill the holes in the walls of Funt's apartment while his Alma-Tademas were at the museum in a show called "Victorians in Togas."" Hoving heard about the show in the New York Post. The purpose of the Funt show was to get publicity and raise the prices of the artist: "several months after the spurious show, Allen Funt put the entire lot up for auction and the prices set new records for the artist." Another curator went behind Hoving's back to display the collection of tycoon Nathan Cummings, founder of the company that became Sara Lee. Hoving had told Cummings that he had some good Impressionist paintings, but not enough for a whole show. Shortly thereafter he received an invitation for the Nathan Cummings show at the Met. Someone leaked to the press that a Rouault had been discovered on the back of one of Cummings' paintings and that it was worth $500,000, a clear attempt to boost the prices of the paintings. Hoving writes about two PR disasters which might have been avoided. The first was when an administrator, Joseph Noble, noticed a line on the bronze of a supposedly 7th century B.C. horse statue. Noble had determined several years earlier that some terracotta Etruscan warriors the Met owned were modern forgeries, so he was taken seriously. He believed the line proved that the statue was made by a sand cast rather than the lost wax technique which was used in ancient Greece. Noble planned to make the horse the center of a forgery seminar. Hoving believed the horse was ancient, but allowed the seminar to proceed, because he hated Noble and wanted him to make a fireable boo-boo. The next day a museum conservator approached Hoving and informed him that the line Noble had seen on the horse wasn't from a sand cast - it was from a Met Museum casting in the 1920s to make reproductions of the horse for sale. A yearslong investigation ensued, and finally thermoluminescence tests proved the horse was ancient - just not ancient Greek. It was a Roman copy of a Greek original. The second PR disaster was the catalog for an exhibit called "Harlem on My Mind." (The whole exhibit was thought to be a disaster by many, since it included no paintings or sculpture by black artists; "Harlem on Whose Mind?" read the signs held by picketers outside the museum, according to Holland Cotter in the NYT. It was made up mostly of photographs by the black photographer James Van Der Zee, a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.) Hoving writes that through the exhibit, "the museum would pay its true cultural dues. It would chronicle the creativity of the downtrodden blacks and, at the same time, encourage them to come to the museum." He adds that there "were excellent reasons for not having any works of art" which would have "crippled" the show's impact. The show's curator Allon Schoener was white and not even on the Met staff. Hoving wrote a foreword for the catalog in which he said that for him growing up as a privileged Manhattan youngster "Negroes constituted a menace, a tribe that must not be allowed to come down the Avenue.... Negroes were people but they were happy, foot-twitching, smiling and sunny." Schoener liked the confessional tone of Hoving's foreword. Inexplicably, the catalog's principal essay was written by a black high school senior, Candice Van Ellison, who explained that "the most serious racial problems were caused by the conflicts between the Jewish landlord and the black tenant. She pointed out that a large portion of black women served as domestics in Jewish homes, which explained "the higher rate of anti-Semitism among black women than men." "Her essay ended with the chilling statement....[that] "psychologically, blacks may find that anti-Jewish sentiments place them, for once, within a majority. Thus, our contempt for the Jew makes us feel more completely American in sharing a national prejudice." “The already badly exploited black” was allowed “to be further exploited by Jews.” She alleged that “behind every hurdle that the Afro-American has yet to jump stands a Jew who has already cleared it.” The catalog caused a furor. The mayor called it inexcusably racist. Van Ellison, now a college sophomore, responded, "What I wrote was true." But she bowed to pressure and the Met inserted a mimeographed insert in all future catalogs for sale in which she stated that "any racist overtones which were inferred from the passages quoted out of context are regrettable." The weirdest aspect of the story wasn't even that the Met had engaged a high school student to write the principal essay for an exhibit catalog (normally curators write the essays). It was that the essay, and Schoener, hadn't been vetted by the Met. The Met had failed to do any due diligence, apparently, on its own catalog. The publisher of a tiny local Manhattan newspaper discovered that "all the inflammatory statements" in the catalog hadn't come directly from Van Ellison. Rather, they were footnotes in her essay that had come from a book called Beyond the Melting Pot by Patrick Moynihan and Nathan Glazer. She had cited them in quotes. "Schoener removed those quotes, cut out the footnotes, and paraphrased the stuff to make it sound dramatic." These were not Van Ellison's original thoughts on the relations between blacks and Jews. "I didn't want the thing to sound like just a high school essay," said Schoener when this was pointed out to him.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Inge

    That was a craaaazy read -most of the time I did not even believe I was reading non-fiction. Wow, insane.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nytetyger

    Mr Hoving turned the Metropolitan Museum of Art from a staid collection of paintings and sculpture into a vibrant collection of all that art can and should be, for anyone to come in and enjoy. That is opinion, but one generally held by most historians who studied the evolution of Manhattan’s jewel during the late 60’s until the late 70’s. I’m withholding any other opinion, save that it is a shame Mr. Hoving took the time to be a cheap greasy, sleazeball of a weasel to each and every person he fe Mr Hoving turned the Metropolitan Museum of Art from a staid collection of paintings and sculpture into a vibrant collection of all that art can and should be, for anyone to come in and enjoy. That is opinion, but one generally held by most historians who studied the evolution of Manhattan’s jewel during the late 60’s until the late 70’s. I’m withholding any other opinion, save that it is a shame Mr. Hoving took the time to be a cheap greasy, sleazeball of a weasel to each and every person he felt slighted him in nearly any way during those years, and even worse, to print this book when so many of these people are dead and cannot defend themselves from his bitchy commentary. That is my OWN opinion, garnered after reading a book I honestly had looked forward to reading for years.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vicky P

    It might be a mistake to come into writing this 60 seconds after putting the book down, but this book sure was a ride. For me with my smattering of readings on museum work and cultural heritage provenance, this was an enlightening, fascinating, often appalling look at how the Met was run for a decade in the middle of the last century. For anyone, however, it would be a rollercoaster of a narrative. It's a memoir of a director of the Met, in many ways, but also serves as a tell-all as well as an It might be a mistake to come into writing this 60 seconds after putting the book down, but this book sure was a ride. For me with my smattering of readings on museum work and cultural heritage provenance, this was an enlightening, fascinating, often appalling look at how the Met was run for a decade in the middle of the last century. For anyone, however, it would be a rollercoaster of a narrative. It's a memoir of a director of the Met, in many ways, but also serves as a tell-all as well as an educational tool for those wanting to dip their feet into museum doings and etc. I highly recommend this book, this is one of those ones that I'm bummed I checked out from the library rather than purchased for myself.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rudy Lopez

    When I was a wide-eyed sixteen year old aspiring artist I saw in Time Magazine that a painting, Diego Velazquez’s 1650 masterpiece Juan de Pareja, was bought for 5.4 million dollars. It was the highest price that had ever been paid for a painting at auction up until that time. The painting had a profound effect on me and influenced the course of my artistic enquiry for a long time afterward. Several years later, as an art student I waited in line for, literally, hours at the Los Angeles County M When I was a wide-eyed sixteen year old aspiring artist I saw in Time Magazine that a painting, Diego Velazquez’s 1650 masterpiece Juan de Pareja, was bought for 5.4 million dollars. It was the highest price that had ever been paid for a painting at auction up until that time. The painting had a profound effect on me and influenced the course of my artistic enquiry for a long time afterward. Several years later, as an art student I waited in line for, literally, hours at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the breath-taking blockbuster exhibition The Treasures of Tutankhamun. The man responsible for both these momentous events in my artistic consciousness was the indomitable and controversial director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Thomas Hoving. Making the Mummies Dance is his extraordinary 1994 record of his tenure as director of the premiere art institution of New York city. Now, you could be forgiven for thinking, ‘Right – a book about a museum director; what could be more of a sleeper?’ but Hoving was not your average museum administrator. He initiated and oversaw the largest revamp of arguably the most influential museum in the United States. His impact is still felt today almost forty years later. If we didn’t have this as proof of the effect he had on the culture of museums it would be easy to dismiss much of what he writes as colourful bombast and exaggeration. In this book he jumps off the page, full of energy and ideas, bumping and scraping with almost everyone he meets. His driving, irreverent style reflects his approach to his directorship making as many enemies as splendid art acquisitions along the way. He strategizes, schemes and talks his way around almost everyone from the NY uber-rich to shady art dealers in foreign dark alleys. He doesn’t mince words or assessments of individuals like Senator Robert Kennedy, “(he) had been cold and nasty with me”, to patrons like Nelson Rockefeller, or rivals like J. Carter Brown, the director of the National Gallery in Washington D.C. He unabashedly quotes people like his political patron, Mayor John Lindsey, “Get some of those old rich farts to put up the dough.” Likewise, he is generous with praise for those he respects and admires like eminent art scholar John Pope-Hennessy, “as a professional I had always found him matchless” or Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, “I have never met anyone who carried the burden of celebrity so graciously”. As a former provincial museum educator I found the Byzantine workings of Hoving and the museum, from jet setting around the world, wrestling with Soviet bureaucracy to advising the empress of Iran thoroughly engaging. Yet, at the heart of all the power-wrangling machinations is Hoving’s driving passion for art. If not for his ambition the Egyptian Temple of Dendur and the stunning north wing of the museum that houses it, the magnificent Greek Euphronios krater of 510 B.C. nor the ground breaking photographic exhibition, Harlem on My Mind, would have never seen the light of day. As he wrote, “I have fallen in love more often with works of art than with women…” We, the public, get to be the beneficiaries of that love and this book is a raucous, rollicking documentation of that romance.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    The Metropolitan Art Museum is one of my favorite places to visit. To sip tea in the American Wing, overlooking Central Park, is lovely. To see the Tiffany glass works and the large Rodin statue in that wing is one of my favorite things to do. And, during the holidays to visit the incredible Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche is a sheer joy. The American Wing contains the Winslow Homer painting titled Gulf Stream, and I love to absorb every detail of this stunning work! So, then, what's The Metropolitan Art Museum is one of my favorite places to visit. To sip tea in the American Wing, overlooking Central Park, is lovely. To see the Tiffany glass works and the large Rodin statue in that wing is one of my favorite things to do. And, during the holidays to visit the incredible Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche is a sheer joy. The American Wing contains the Winslow Homer painting titled Gulf Stream, and I love to absorb every detail of this stunning work! So, then, what's not to like about the museum, except, the previous director! In his book, page after page is filled with me, me, me, me, me, me, me. Hailing from a small town, of course, I have no reference of cultivating millionaires, or knowing just the right thing to say at the right time, I imagine that directing such a prestigious museum, fund raising, and navigating through a pinkies-in-the air board of directors has many challenges. Still, I could not enjoy the book because of the many references to his accomplishments, his hobnobbing, his snobbery, and thus, the continual name dropping made finishing the book a sheer agonizing accomplishment. I enjoyed reading Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Danny Danziger. It was a joy to learn about the Met through his wonderful interviews of employees. That was a five star book; doesn't light up at all. Hoving was more impressed and obsessed with himself and all the glamorous people he touched rather than explaining the every day workings of the Met. He may have made the mummies dance, but I'm very sure that after one round, they were happy to go back into their sarcophagus. NOT RECOMMENDED

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    OY. I read over 400 pages of a memoir written by someone who I really do not like! Thomas Hoving, while clearly talented and charismatic, comes across as a pompous ass, careless of others' feelings, hyper focused on his own image and too ready to give himself credit for all things good that happen during his tenure at The Met. To be fair, he's also unafraid to point out some of his less vaunted moments, but on the balance, he fancies himself a master of the universe and it becomes tiresome...oh OY. I read over 400 pages of a memoir written by someone who I really do not like! Thomas Hoving, while clearly talented and charismatic, comes across as a pompous ass, careless of others' feelings, hyper focused on his own image and too ready to give himself credit for all things good that happen during his tenure at The Met. To be fair, he's also unafraid to point out some of his less vaunted moments, but on the balance, he fancies himself a master of the universe and it becomes tiresome...oh so tiresome chapter after chapter. I thought the writing was certainly punchy, and he is dishy, going for the jugular in a forthright manner, but the writing was also sloppy and disorganized and that was hard for me to deal with after about page 250. On the upside, the intimate peek into the workings of the Met was absolutely fascinating. Being a docent there may have made me particularly susceptible to the revelations about donors, trustees and acquisitions, but for anyone interested in the high stakes world of fine art, multi millionaires and their enormous egos and tantrums, the sketchy nature of some museum operations and the never-ending race to be the best in New York City (no matter what business you're in) then this book certainly provides some entertainments, but one hundred less pages would have been welcomed by me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    molly

    Really entertaining stuff at first, but completely lost steam at the end. Although that’s been true of almost all books for me recently, so maybe it’s a me thing. Hoving gives almost scary insight into the politics and shenanigans behind running a major museum. Sometimes I found it shocking how much he was willing to reveal- he comments blithely on his sleazy paris doings even while in the next page talking about the wisdom of his wife. He spares no unflattering detail about his colleagues, even Really entertaining stuff at first, but completely lost steam at the end. Although that’s been true of almost all books for me recently, so maybe it’s a me thing. Hoving gives almost scary insight into the politics and shenanigans behind running a major museum. Sometimes I found it shocking how much he was willing to reveal- he comments blithely on his sleazy paris doings even while in the next page talking about the wisdom of his wife. He spares no unflattering detail about his colleagues, even those he terms great friends. And of course it’s a product of his Mad Men-esque time- he couldn’t name a single female colleague without first labeling her degree of attractiveness, which caused me some excessive eye rolling. Hoving is also unbearably full of himself, a statement that I’m sure he himself would agree with. I’m sure he did a lot for the Met, but to hear him tell it the museum was a dusty old dinosaur when he arrived and changed enough to coast for decades on the force of his changes when he left. Maybe he’s right, who knows. I envy him his sense of self. I really loved the descriptions of his temper tantrums, Ive decided I need to cultivate a good adult temper tantrum tactic. Really made me want to visit the met again and take a peek at all these works of art.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Corey Nelson

    How can the direction of a museum of antiquities be interesting? Dealing with old items from people most often no longer living for many years is exciting? Turns out, yes! Maybe the fact that the Indiana Jones movie came out a few years earlier inspired me. It did show the world that at least in a film that collecting antiques could be an adventure. This book is not an action adventure but if you enjoy a bit of sleuthing in the hunt for truth in origin and history, this is a good book. Hoving no How can the direction of a museum of antiquities be interesting? Dealing with old items from people most often no longer living for many years is exciting? Turns out, yes! Maybe the fact that the Indiana Jones movie came out a few years earlier inspired me. It did show the world that at least in a film that collecting antiques could be an adventure. This book is not an action adventure but if you enjoy a bit of sleuthing in the hunt for truth in origin and history, this is a good book. Hoving not only shows how experts have to evaluation the important of history of an item, he shows the seedy side of how people throughout history have tried (and often succeeded) in tricking others in the value of an artistic piece. But is not artistic importance and beauty in the eye of the beholder? Well, yes. But one wants to know that they are getting the real goods and not a knock off. This is especially true in the world of high price tags for museums and serious collectors. Feel in love with Hoving and his storytelling with this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Woo. Never a dull moment. No spade not called a spade, no opinion unexpressed. One thing I will certainly say for Thomas Hoving, though, is that he isn't any more afraid to discuss his own foibles and shortcomings and outright failures than he is everyone else's. That's part of what makes his writing appealing. When his own horn deserves tooting, it certainly gets tooted (and, again, he is fair - others' horns toot all over the place as well), but he doesn't ignore his errors. I'm still stunned Woo. Never a dull moment. No spade not called a spade, no opinion unexpressed. One thing I will certainly say for Thomas Hoving, though, is that he isn't any more afraid to discuss his own foibles and shortcomings and outright failures than he is everyone else's. That's part of what makes his writing appealing. When his own horn deserves tooting, it certainly gets tooted (and, again, he is fair - others' horns toot all over the place as well), but he doesn't ignore his errors. I'm still stunned by the sheer underhandedness that went into the acquisition of many, if not most, of the works in the museum, and the strata of hatred and enmity and cronyism (?) throughout the art and antiquities community. Maybe it's just as well I never went that route (it was a passing dream) - I would have been eaten alive. I was attracted by the title, which is brilliant - it was Hoving's intent when he became Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And he did.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Reading about the wheelings and dealings, travel, lifestyle, wardrobe, holidays, ego of the director of the Met is like reading about a parallel dimension if that dimension is on a planet far, far away...completely unrelatable. What makes this book worth reading is the art....Fabulous! I kept the Met's online search page open and looked up almost all the pieces described so well by the author. I see now that I must go back to the museum and visit them in person. I missed so much on my earlier tr Reading about the wheelings and dealings, travel, lifestyle, wardrobe, holidays, ego of the director of the Met is like reading about a parallel dimension if that dimension is on a planet far, far away...completely unrelatable. What makes this book worth reading is the art....Fabulous! I kept the Met's online search page open and looked up almost all the pieces described so well by the author. I see now that I must go back to the museum and visit them in person. I missed so much on my earlier trips!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I found this book marvellously amusing, super pretentious and totally ego-driven. What a fun read. The name dropping and Hoving's pride in his outrageous antics drove the book. He ruled, upset everyone, abused his power and brought some great art to the Museum. I wonder how those Board members felt when he left, or the people he called his friends. Did they still do over-the-top things with him? and his wife stayed. I found this book marvellously amusing, super pretentious and totally ego-driven. What a fun read. The name dropping and Hoving's pride in his outrageous antics drove the book. He ruled, upset everyone, abused his power and brought some great art to the Museum. I wonder how those Board members felt when he left, or the people he called his friends. Did they still do over-the-top things with him? and his wife stayed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I liked this book for a variety of reasons. Although it was hard to get over Hoving's pompous narrative he he pulls off some really amazing stunts for a US Art Museum Director. The Met still revels in the legacy of some of his acquisitions. I liked this book for a variety of reasons. Although it was hard to get over Hoving's pompous narrative he he pulls off some really amazing stunts for a US Art Museum Director. The Met still revels in the legacy of some of his acquisitions.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I started this book after my internship at the Met, hopefully I will be able to get back to it again someday. I thought it was a fascinating look inside this museum and the people who run it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Hoving is a total gossip and a bit of an egotist. Get past the cheesy title and cover and devour the dirt on the institution-building of the Met. Guilty pleasure!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Making the Mummies Dance by Thomas Hoving was written to give the reader a fly-on-the wall experience to the inside workings of one of the most prestigious museums in the world, The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art during the time of Hoving’s tenure as Director (1967 - 1977). Hoving’s behaviour is outrageous; he comes across as narcissistic and manipulative, though I’m convinced he plays it up for readers, to dramatize the story. Yet the stories he tells, the deals made with art collectors an Making the Mummies Dance by Thomas Hoving was written to give the reader a fly-on-the wall experience to the inside workings of one of the most prestigious museums in the world, The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art during the time of Hoving’s tenure as Director (1967 - 1977). Hoving’s behaviour is outrageous; he comes across as narcissistic and manipulative, though I’m convinced he plays it up for readers, to dramatize the story. Yet the stories he tells, the deals made with art collectors and donators to boost the museum’s collections, to create exhibits, new buildings and wings in the museum is unreal. But it is real, that’s the point and why I found the book so intriguing. He writes of the “Hot Pot”—the Euphronios Krater, an ancient Greek terra cotta vase that he acquired under dubious circumstances and was eventually returned to Italy given it had been acquired by ‘illegal excavators’, and of the complex deals and negotiations with Cairo Museum and the Egyptian government to make the six-museum tour of the King Tut exhibit happen between 1976 and 1979. At times Hoving gets into details and intricacies of the people involved which is confusing, naming so many people that it’s hard to keep track, yet overall for anyone interested in museums or art will find this book eye-opening.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eva Drago

    I read this after doing the Museum Hack tour of the Met. The tour guide mentioned she'd sourced a lot of content from this book. The book was written by the director of the Met who oversaw the most transformational time in the museum's history, which occurred partially due to his creativity and audacity and partially do to the changing sociopolitical climate of the 60's and 70's. He gives a fascinating glimpse into the acquisition of some of the Met's most well-known and long-loved pieces, like I read this after doing the Museum Hack tour of the Met. The tour guide mentioned she'd sourced a lot of content from this book. The book was written by the director of the Met who oversaw the most transformational time in the museum's history, which occurred partially due to his creativity and audacity and partially do to the changing sociopolitical climate of the 60's and 70's. He gives a fascinating glimpse into the acquisition of some of the Met's most well-known and long-loved pieces, like the Temple of Dendur. He also details the museum's physical expansion and New York's sociopolitical turmoil during his time as director. Unfortunately, he intersperses interesting content with fluffy stories about New York high society, museum politics, and his own personal agenda. By the last few chapters I found myself skipping over some of the gossipy content to get to the meat, but there was barely any left.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This was a fascinating look deep inside the art world. There was so much to learn about how money is brought in and spent, how art is found and subsequently acquired, the inner workings of trustees, chairmen, curators, art agents, etc, that I'm confident I only really understood 70% of what made this book great. But even at that, I recommend it. There is some discussion of the immoral behaviors of high level movers and shakers, but not in a vulgar way. This was a fascinating look deep inside the art world. There was so much to learn about how money is brought in and spent, how art is found and subsequently acquired, the inner workings of trustees, chairmen, curators, art agents, etc, that I'm confident I only really understood 70% of what made this book great. But even at that, I recommend it. There is some discussion of the immoral behaviors of high level movers and shakers, but not in a vulgar way.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mēgan

    The previous director was full of gossip and judgement, very few morals (had pieces smuggled out of countries for the museum), and seemed to grasp the tenor of NY haute living. Not my kind of person, but then, the Met isn't my kind of museum. Its grand and wonderful to visit, and its really great to leave. Sometimes NY is too much, and Thomas Hoving and his book are no exception. The previous director was full of gossip and judgement, very few morals (had pieces smuggled out of countries for the museum), and seemed to grasp the tenor of NY haute living. Not my kind of person, but then, the Met isn't my kind of museum. Its grand and wonderful to visit, and its really great to leave. Sometimes NY is too much, and Thomas Hoving and his book are no exception.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I gave this book four stars for people who like insider looks at how institutions work. Sometimes I got lost in who was whom and what the exact manipulations were, but overall, I found Hoving’s descriptions fascinating. Also to be in the company of such wealth—wow! I have been a trustee/board member and found it expensive, but nothing like this. An eye-opening and entertaining book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    Despite the gossipy tone, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art lets loose with fascinating tales of the intrigue, politics and some of the history of what we see in the wonderful galleries of the Met today.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    Emma was pretty right about reading parts of it sporadically instead of all at once, but overall it was an interesting glimpse into the world of museum administration in the latter half of the 20th century.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amynicole

    I was only able to get about 100 pages in before I gave up. What I read was interesting & I wanted to read more, but it was just too slow & a lot of name dropping. When I have more time to focus I'd love to pick this book up again. I was only able to get about 100 pages in before I gave up. What I read was interesting & I wanted to read more, but it was just too slow & a lot of name dropping. When I have more time to focus I'd love to pick this book up again.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Kosztyo

    The book Donald Trump would have written had he run The Met. It was long on self-aggrandizement, name-dropping and pretty grievances — and short on any original insight about the country’s foremost museum. You’ll learn more about The Met by watching a random,10-minute YouTube overview.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth Ann

    Fascinating book by the visionary director who shook up the the Metropolitan Museum of Art fifty years ago and put it on course to becoming what it is today.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    interesting read if you are interested in the Met. The insiders guide to the rich and famous in New York.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Sometimes interesting, especially if you like social politics. Often tedious with detail.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shalan Webb

    Great insight into the history of the Met!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Schirmer

    Intermittently interesting overview of art and antiquities acquisition skulduggery. Gossipy, over-inflated, fun in places. Worth it for the chapter on the Velazquez "Juan de Pareja." Intermittently interesting overview of art and antiquities acquisition skulduggery. Gossipy, over-inflated, fun in places. Worth it for the chapter on the Velazquez "Juan de Pareja."

  30. 4 out of 5

    3Arvizulz3

    Unpredictable.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.