Thomas P. Campbell Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Thomas P. Campbell Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco | Foto: Thomas P. Campbell Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Thomas P. Campbell

Por: Edward Rueda

13, May, 2022 en Business Concept

Thomas P. Campbell

Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Blurring the Boundaries Between Art and Fashion

By Heide VanDoren Betz

Thomas P. Campbell is a distinguished art historian educated at Oxford, the Courtauld Institute, and the University of London. He joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1995 where he organized several acclaimed tapestry exhibitions. He also served as Supervising Curator of The Antonio Ratti Textile Center, which houses the Museum’s encyclopedic collection of 36,000 textiles and is one of the preeminent centers of textile studies in the world.

During Mr. Campbell’s tenure as Director and CEO at the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum gained national and international recognition not only through the dozens of exhibitions overseen by Mr. Campbell but also through conservation exchanges in the Middle East and India, loan exhibitions in China, Japan and Brazil, the launching of a biannual global museum directors’ colloquium and a new international donor council. In 2017, Mr. Campbell was chosen as the recipient of the Getty Rothschild Fellowship, supporting scholarships in art history, collecting, and conservation, at the J, Paul Getty Museum.

Sine 2018 Tom Campbell has been Director of the FAMSF where he has launched many innovative and inclusive art exhibitions.

Being an expert in the intricate and complex art of tapestry, Tom Campbell says he fell in love with the work of Chinese couturier, Guo Pei, back in 2015 ( he was Director of the Met) when she was one of the stars of the Met’s “China Through the Looking Glass” exhibition. Following his appointment as the Director of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums in 2018, he quickly discovered that textile and fashion curator, Jill D’Alessandro shared his passion for her work. And the Fine Art Museums’ Costume program highlights extraordinary designers who have changed the course of fashion history. Guo Pei was a perfect fit.

Moreover, Pei had visited the Legion of Honor years before. Therein lay the seed for the project that has come to fruition at the Legion of Honor. He extols the exhibition which features approximately 80 ensembles from across Pei’s career, showcasing her unique vision and creativity: “Part medieval splendor, part Imperial grandeur, part Alice in Wonderland and part psychedelia, Pei’s work draws on Chinese and European traditions of costume, iconography, and handiwork, but transcends all. The quality of the embroidery is exquisite. Some of the ensembles are effectively sculptures in their own right.” Fittingly the exhibition at the Legion is transporting, setting up all sorts of dialogues between the costumes and the fine and decorative arts on the walls. According to Mr. Campbell, this is a cornucopia of achievements both for the couturier and the FAMSF staff who worked so hard behind the scenes to bring this show to fruition.

Mr. Campbell states: “Drawing inspiration from European and Chinese artistic traditions, Guo Pei’s creations blur the boundaries between art and fashion. Displayed in a neoclassical architectural context at the Legion Honor, amidst our collection of European art, Pei’s designs encourage our visitors to consider the rich historical ties between China and the West. San Francisco, with our position on the Pacific Rim and our significant Chinese heritage, is a natural location to premiere the first major museum exhibition on Guo Pei’s work and we are delighted to present her exquisite designs to US audiences.”