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Spring 2015 Exhibition

FROM ANCIENT TO MODERN: ARCHAEOLOGY AND AESTHETICS

February 12, 2015 - June 7, 2015
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11am-6pm, Friday 11am-8pm, Closed Monday

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Willem de Kooning, "Woman"Oil on Paper BoardH. 90.8 cm; W. 61.9 cm1953-54Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol CollectionTBM: 57. 124 The highly anticipated exhibition From Ancient to Modern: Archaeology and Aesthetics, opens at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) on February 12, 2015. With some 50 outstanding ancient objects, and more than 100 related documents, photographs, and drawings, this groundbreaking exhibition examines the fascinating process through which archaeological objects are transformed from artifacts to artworks and, sometimes, to popular icons, as they move from the sites of their discovery, to be publicized by mass media and exhibited by museums. The exhibition focuses on excavations during the 1920s and 1930s at early Mesopotamian sites in what is modern-day Iraq, marking a golden age for archaeology. It reveals the role of archaeologists, art historians, journalists, museum curators, and conservators in constructing identities for now-iconic Mesopotamian material that not only resonated with contemporary Western popular and artistic culture, but that also MMA-editplaced the finds as integral to the history of Western civilization. In a first for ISAW, From Ancient to Modern also features modern and contemporary art, including work by Alberto Giacometti, Willem de Kooning, Jananne al-Ani, and Michael Rakowitz, revealing the impact that Mesopotamian material had and continues to have on the art of our times.

This exhibition is organized by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and was made possible by the generous support of the David Berg Foundation, Agnes Gund, the Tianaderrah Foundation, Hicham and Dina Aboutaam, and Fred and Diana Elghanayan, and the Leon Levy Foundation. Additional support provided by Vartan and Clare R. Gregorian and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Image 1: Willem de Kooning, Woman
Oil on Paper Board 

H. 90.8 cm; W. 61.9 cm 

1953-54 

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection 

TBM: 57. 124

© The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image 2: Standing Male Figure
Gypsum, Alabaster, Shell, Black Limestone, Bitumen
H. 29.5 cm; W. 12.9 cm; D. 10 cm
Eshnunna (Tell Asmar)
ca. 2900–2600 BCE
Fletcher Fund, 1940
MMA: 40.156
Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY

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