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Why Orgies Trump Bacchanals and Other Lessons from Metropolitan Museum Director Tom Campbell

This year’s TED Conference was a doozy, in large part due to “The Design Studio” session organized by guest curators Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell. Among the engaging creative types they convinced to take the TED Stage (temporarily adorned with Maira Kalman illustrations for the occasion) was Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In his TED Talk, now available online, Campbell reveals why an orgy is preferable to a bacchanal, his eureka moment with tapestries, and why nothing compares to the presentation of significant objects in a well-told narrative: “what the curator does, the interpretation of a complex, esoteric subject, in a way that retains the integrity of the subject, that unpacks it for a general audience.”

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