tut-death-maskWhen thinking about King Tut, the image to the left often comes to mind.  It is the death mask of 18th Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun.  It is the quintessential artifact of ancient Egypt.  It is the piece that captured the imagination of westerners when the exhibit first toured the US more than thirty years ago.  And you will not see it nor Tut’s sarcophagi in the exhibit currently touring the U.S. and on display at the Dallas Museum of Art.

An enthusiast of ancient history in general and ancient Egypt specifically, I was awfully excited about seeing this exhibit.  It featured numerous artifacts from Tut’s contemporaries and family members – all of which are quite simply stunning.  For instance, the funerary mask of Tut’s Gramma, Tjuya, was breath-taking and the head from the statue of Akhenaten was powerfully presented.  Problem is as cool as Tjuya and Akhenaten’s stuff was that ain’t who you went to see.  Comprising 130 items, the exhibit contains only 50 artifacts from Tut’s tomb.  Rather like going to see a concert where Van Halen opens the show and Golden Earring turns out to be the main act.

Seriously, it was just like that.

Tut was a colossal let-down.  The Boy King was a royal disappointment.

He came to town with none of his cool stuff.  He left his death mask at home.  Same with his sarcophagus.  These two things seem fundamental to me for an exhibit of ANY pharaoh, not just Tut.

I’ve read where the Dallas Museum of Art expected to sell more than a million tickets for the tour.  By recent accounts in the Dallas Morning News, ticket sales are running around 62% of the expectation.  Bonnie Pittman, Director of DMA, blames the economy.  “Like every institution, we have been impacted by the economic climate.”

If by “economic climate” she means “shitty exhibit,” then absolutely the DMA is suffering a steaming, heaping mound of “economic climate.”

Look out San Francisco, this turd of an exhibit is headed your way after Dallas flushes it in May.

4 thoughts on “Your Morning Head: King Tut is a Royal Disappointment

  1. I agree completely. I think it wouldn’t have been quite so disheartening if they weren’t using the mask on EVERY PIECE OF PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL for the damn exhibit. I knew it wasn’t going to be there when I took my girlfriend and still somehow thought the rest of it would live up to that one piece. Of course, I think it didn’t help that we had to wait an hour to get in because the place was overrun with rug rats (nothing against children, well, nothing except their unswerving ability to ruin my entertainment venues).

    On the one hand I understand why the mask and sarcophagus are left in Cairo. I mean, they move too much and they’ll disintegrate or something, but by the same token if you aren’t going to include a piece in your exhibit, don’t friggin’ sell it to me with THAT PIECE.

    Actually it reminded me of a concert I went to recently that featured Local H, a nice little grunge band form my youth. Well, they’re primarily known for the song “Bound for the Floor”, in fact, it’s quite honestly the only song of theirs most people can remember. I go to the concert and what happens? No “Bound for the Floor”.

    Disappointment indeed.

  2. > If by “economic climate” she means “shitty exhibit,” then absolutely the DMA is suffering a steaming, heaping mound of “economic climate.”

    That is a CLASSIC, man! Nice review & it’s nice to know that when/if it comes to my area I’ll take a second look before forking over that kind of money. A trust me, my fiancee & I LOVE going to the Boston Museum of Fine Art.

    I wonder why no one makes replicas of things like this, to sell. They’d be expensive, but there would DEFINITELY be collectors will to fork over the money to have some that looks and feels like the real death mask of Tut. I know if I had the money, I’d pay. There’s a business plan for you!

  3. While Mr. Head is spot on with the level of disappointment suffered by all that day, in defense of the day not being a total crapfest, dinner that night was stunning. I’m still dreaming about the veal chops…

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