Tut’s other Secret

Everyone is talking about Tut @ LACMA and how exciting the whole thing is – well, either that or asking why this show isn’t at The Natural History Museum where it seems like a much better fit than an art museum. Well Tyler Green from Modern Art Notes was in town writing a piece for Bloomberg about it, and sheds a little light on the behind the scenes of the whole thing:

“This version of Tut was not organized by a museum, but by two private, for-profit corporations: Anschutz Entertainment Group (which owns London’s Millennium Dome and produces Celine Dion’s Las Vegas stage show) and Arts and Exhibitions International. National Geographic is the exhibit’s educational partner. The companies will share in the profits with Egypt, which will use its share to preserve historic sites and objects.

“This arrangement, by which a public art museum has allowed its space to be used so that private corporations may profit, is unheard of. And profit they will – tickets cost $25-30 and about 300,000 have been sold in advance. Already the first twelve days of the exhibit are sold out. The show may already be a success for AEG and AEI, but it’s a mark of shame for LACMA. No other major American art museum was willing to allow its galleries to be used in such a manner.

“The way Tut was built has led to the show’s principal fault: It is an amalgamation of objects thrown together by a corporation rather than a coherent exhibit organized by a curator. While it is broken into 11 loosely themed galleries, the show lurches from object to object and it’s never quite clear why the art on view is the art on view.”

Our inside LACMA moles have also told us the organizers brought in their own installers and own private security people, leaving LACMA employees to twiddle their thumbs while wondering what is happening under their own roof – wondering because they can’t go see it themselves without throwing down full price for a ticket.

4 Replies to “Tut’s other Secret”

  1. Saw the King Tut Exhibit during the Carter years in D.C.; think it was about 1978 when I was Seven. I could have sworn it was in the National Gallery of Art, but now I’m reading that it was the American Museum of Natural History (which is kind of my fave DC museum). So much for siding with LACMA…

    Strange how when you’re thinking of King Tut in the 1970s, all these images of “Earth Wind and Fire”, Carter’s peace talks, Steve Martin Skits, bad 70’s cars like the Ford Maverick, and wine and cheese parties at the Audubon Society come to mind. Guess this must be due to my folks friends at the time.

    Can’t remember much about the exhibit other than I was pissed that I couldn’t play or keep any of it. Even at that age, it engendered a kind of a “Tree in the Garden of Eden-thing” where you really wanted to touch the forbidden fruit.

  2. I believe I read that the Metropolitan Museum in New York passed on the opportunity to host the new exhibit on its tour because they refused to charge their patrons such a high ticket price.

  3. Well, this explains why I got a notice for this show in the mail. I’m a season ticket holder for the Los Angeles Kings, which is also owned by Anschultz Entertainment Group. For a moment, I was tricked into believing that some organization out there actually believed I had any level of culture or refinement, but, alas, they were just trying to make a quick buck.

    While they probably won’t get my money for Tut this time around, and they *definitely* won’t get my money for Celine Dion any time around, as long as AEG owns the Kings (and assuming there is a hockey season), they will *always* get *some* of my money.

    Go, Kings, go!

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