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Detroit Institute of Arts Hosts Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art as Distinguished Speaker for annual Dr. Coleman Mopper Memorial Lecture

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thomas P. Campbell to discuss museum’s past, present and future

(Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will host Thomas P. Campbell, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York, as guest speaker for the annual Dr. Coleman Mopper Memorial Lecture on Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m. The lecture is free with museum admission.

Campbell will reflect on the ideas, ambitions, and tastes that have shaped the Met, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive museums for the past 140 years, and how its rich and colorful history informs the present and his future vision for the museum. One of his ambitions is to bring the Met into the digital age. In his two years as director, Campbell has created a digital-media department and plans on taking on the daunting task of wiring the museum for Wi-Fi so visitors can take advantage of personal technology devices that will enhance their visit. He also advocates presenting more exhibitions drawn from the Met’s collection of nearly two million objects. Campbell is passionate about continuing to make the Met relevant to the 21st-century visitor.

Campbell had been a curator in the Met’s European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department for 14 years. He was appointed the Met’s ninth director, succeeding Philippe de Montebello, who had been the Met’s director for 31 years. Campbell, a specialist in European tapestry, has lectured, taught, and published extensively on the subject of European court patronage and the relation of tapestries to the other arts. He conceived of and organized the major exhibitions Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence, which was named “Exhibition of the Year” by Apollo magazine, and Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor, both of which received widespread acclaim.

Campbell was born in Singapore and raised in Cambridge, England. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford, earned a diploma from Christie's Fine and Decorative Arts course in London, and received a Master's degree and Ph.D. from London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. In the course of his studies, he discovered that mainstream art history had greatly overlooked the major role tapestries played in European art and propaganda. To rectify this, he created the Franses Tapestry Archive in London, which, with more than 120,000 images, is the largest and most up-to-date information resource on European tapestries and figurative textiles in the world.

The lecture is sponsored by the Dr. Coleman Mopper Memorial Endowment Fund in conjunction with the DIA auxiliaries The Visiting Committee for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and the European Paintings Council. This year’s lecture is in memory of Shirley Mopper, Coleman Mopper’s wife, who died last year.
The Dr. Coleman Mopper Memorial Lecture was established in 1997 in memory of Dr. Coleman Mopper, who passed away in 1996. Dr. Mopper and his late wife, Shirley, were founding members of The Visiting Committee for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, a museum auxiliary, and had been longstanding members and patrons of the DIA. The Moppers were avid collectors of European paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, and made numerous gifts to the museum. They were recognized with a DIA Lifetime Service award in 1996. In Dr. Mopper’s memory, friends generously endowed an annual lecture on European art to be given by an internationally recognized specialist.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for ages 6-17, and DIA members are admitted free. For membership information call 313-833-7971.


Located in the heart of Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Detroit Institute of Arts was founded in 1885 and is recognized as one of the country’s premier art museums. The museum’s approximately 60,000 works of art comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from prehistory through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera’s world-renowned Detroit Industry murals, the DIA’s collection reveals the scope and depth of human experience, imagination, and emotion.

Programs are made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil 313-833-7899