Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tut Comes to the Burque

For a place once described by writer V.B. Price as “A City at the End of the World,” Albuquerque continues to amaze. Case in point is the current exhibit at The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. “Temples and Tombs, Treasures of Egyptian Art from the British Museum” is currently enjoying a three-month run. How the American Federation of Arts and the Brits picked our humble town for such an honor is a happy mystery.

The exhibition covers four periods of pharaonic history from shortly before the Third Dynasty, about 2686 B.C., to the Roman occupation of the Fourth Century A.D. Sculpture, reliefs, papyri, jewelry, cosmetic objects, and funerary items in various media illustrate four themes: the king and the temple; objects from the lives of artists and nobles; statues of Egyptians from temples and tombs; and the tomb, death, and the afterlife.

From the magnificent life-size red granite lion which greets you when you enter the gallery to the carved quartzite head once gracing a twenty-five foot statue of Amenhotop III, the 85 exhibits run the gamut from intriguing to awe-inspiring. Sometimes it is the small pieces which create the greatest wonder. How did a wooden scribe’s palette survive the centuries with its paint samples still intact?

Temples and Tombs” will end its run February 10 and move on to Fresno, so hustle your bustle to the museum before it departs. If you should miss “Temples,” other good traveling exhibits are scheduled: Bill Brandt: a Retrospective, March 2-May 18; In Contemporary Rhythm, the Art of Ernest Blumenschein, June 8-September 7; and Jamestown, Quebec, and Santa Fe, Three American Beginnings, October 26-March 29, 2009.

In addition to the major transient exhibits, the permanent collection of works by contemporary and historical regional artists includes major paintings by the Taos Society of Artists. A gift shop carries a wide selection of quality merchandise and books, and a small cafe provides sustenance for starving art lovers. Outside visitors can stroll through the sculpture garden filled with over 50 works, some traditional some avant-garde. A favorite is the giant head which from a distance appears to be a near-sighted sculptor's version of a pig.

The Art Museum is a bargain any time of the year. Admission to the Temples exhibit is so reasonable and is included in the admission fee, $4 for adults with a $1 discount for New Mexico residents.

The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, 19th and Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque 87104. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (505) 243-7255. Lots of free parking!

1 comment:

  1. It amazes me equally when Denver, another mid-country city, books quality exhibitions from major museums and private collections. Most recently "Artisans & Kings" displayed French royal treasures from the Louvre. An Impressionist exhibition opens in February. These special shows always pack in the crowds -- perhaps because art lovers don't take world-class treasures for granted and make a point of seeing them.

    Claire @