This exhibition examines specific periods in the rich history of Egypt—one of the world’s oldest and longest-lasting civilizations—when clashes between competing leaders, religions, and ideologies resulted in damage to and destruction of sacred and political images. Comprising some forty masterpieces on loan from the Brooklyn Museum, this revelatory exhibition is the first to explore the history of iconoclasm in relation to ancient Egyptian art. It will show how, by examining the motivations behind the destruction or defacement of objects, we can open avenues for a more expansive understanding of the art of ancient Egypt, where images functioned not only as a means of representation, but also as containers of intense and powerful spiritual energy. Moreover, in examining what appear to be random acts of destruction that are in fact carefully considered and targeted actions intended to deactivate an image’s potency, the exhibition raises timely questions about the power of images and their role in shaping memory and legacy.
The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum and is curated by Edward Bleiberg, Senior Curator of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Brooklyn Museum, and Stephanie Weissberg, Associate Curator at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.
About the Brooklyn Museum
Founded in 1823 as the Brooklyn Apprentices’ Library Association, the Brooklyn Museum contains one of the nation’s most comprehensive and wide-ranging collections enhanced by a distinguished record of exhibitions, scholarship, and service to the public. Collection highlights include the ancient Egyptian holdings, renowned for objects of the highest world-class quality, and the arts of the Americas collection, which is unrivaled in its diverse range from Native American art and artifacts and Spanish colonial painting, to 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, sculpture, and decorative objects. The Museum is also home to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which is dedicated to the study and exhibition of feminist art and is the only curatorial center of its kind.
About the Pulitzer Arts Foundation
The Pulitzer Arts Foundation presents historic and contemporary art in dynamic interplay with its celebrated Tadao Ando building, offering unexpected experiences and inspiring new perspectives. Since it was established in 2001, the Pulitzer has presented a wide range of exhibitions featuring art from around the world—from Old Masters to important modern and contemporary artists—and exploring a diverse array of themes and ideas. Highlights have included the exhibitions Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work (2018-19); Blue Black, curated by artist Glenn Ligon (2017); Medardo Rosso: Experiments in Light and Form (2016-17); Reflections of the Buddha (2011-12); Urban Alchemy / Gordon Matta-Clark (2009-10). In addition, these exhibitions are complemented by programs that bring together leading figures from fields ranging from art, architecture, design, urban planning, and the humanities.
Pulitzer Arts Foundation
3716 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108 | U.S.A.
Face and Shoulder from an Anthropoid Sarcophagus, Ptolemic Period, 332–30 BCE. From Egypt. Greywacke. 18 ½ × 20 ½ × 5 inches. Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1516E. Photo: Brooklyn Museum.