"Restoring the Minoans" in the Wall Street Journal

By Maggie Pavao

Edward Rothstein's review of the exhibition Restoring the Minoans: Elizabeth Price and Sir Arthur Evans reflects his own experience with the ruins at Knossos, explaining how "our interpretation of Minoan civilization is only partly due to archaeological evidence. That civilization is also Evans’s invention, executed in many of its aesthetic details by a Swiss artist, Émile Gilliéron (1850-1924), and his son of the same name. Artifice, art and archaeology cohabited and have remained, in many ways, inseparable."

This is at the heart of the exhibition, which "makes the porous boundaries between past and present still more vivid, drawing on the collection at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum—an heir of Evans—along with objects from the Harvard Art Museums and others... (and) clearly makes distinctions between the imagined and the found."

Speaking of Elizabeth Price's 18-minute video work, Rothstein says that the exhibition takes this phenomenon a step further. Commissioned by England’s Contemporary Arts Society, the video “A RESTORATION” is based on the Evans collections at the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums. According to Rothstein, "its two-screened combination of imagery, score and synthesized narration is an appreciation and evocation of Evans’s artistry. The result is an allusive illumination of artifice—in Evans’s reconstructions and in any museum’s interpretation of them."

Read the full review in the Wall Street Journal here.