Museum Review

A review I wrote of “Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum” has been published in the latest issue of Near Eastern Archaeology (vol. 71 #4, cover dated December 2008).

It’s too late to see the show at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the review is not online, but it was a fun assignment because it was the second time I saw the show. The first was over a decade ago at the Met. The Met version was a lot more intellectual and had more scholarly information. The MFA version was incredibly beautiful and aestheticized. What surprised me, as a scholar of Assyrian art, is that I may prefer the MFA version.

The reasons I preferred the new iteration:

  • exhibitions like this are not for experts; they are to encourage the general public to learn more about specific areas of art,
  • more information can always be found in the catalogs of shows, and
  • it was just plain gorgeous and made me appreciate the art I have studied for years in a new way.

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