The departure of Thomas P. Campbell as director and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art comes as no surprise.
But from the time he took over from Philippe de Montebello in 2009, there were doubts — not about his art expertise; his credentials are sterling — but about his managerial chops. Scholarship won’t get you far in leading an institution as complex, high maintenance and structurally antiquated as the one he inherited.
Trouble was already brewing when he took over. Cultural tides in America had turned, and the Met hadn’t turned with them. The audience for art, and for the traditional art museum, was changing. So the Met had to change, basically from a 19th-century analog museum to a 21st-century semi-digital institution. But nobody knew quite how.