Cincinnati Art Museum opens reimagined Ancient Middle East gallery
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cincinnati Art Museum opens reimagined Ancient Middle East gallery
Foundation Cone, 2136–2121 BCE, Lagash (Iraq), Sumerian Empire (2500–2350 BCE), clay, Cincinnati Art Museum; Museum Purchase: Gift of Mrs. E.J. Byrne, by exchange, 1985.15.

CINC.- Significant physical changes to the Cincinnati Art Museum’s existing 2,800-square-foot ancient Middle East gallery opened to the public. The new space showcases works from across the ancient Middle East, including the most significant collection of Nabataean art in the United States.

The new galleries have been arranged thematically and incorporate contemporary reflections on ancient pasts, encouraging visitors to rethink the way a twenty-first century museum interprets ancient Middle Eastern art.

The reinstallation includes objects displayed for the first time alongside much lauded strengths of the permanent collection to celebrate the art, innovation, and human endeavor from this vast region. This approach presents political, religious, economic, and cultural connections between the network of empires and city-states of the ancient Middle East. The objects and architectural material in the collection represent centuries of trade and cultural exchange that are formative in our understanding of how the region developed.

Architectural changes include new visitor pathways through the space, the addition of LED lighting, and new custom-built casework. In addition, new windows allow for more natural light and provide a spectacular view of both the front-facing grounds and interior Alice Bimel Courtyard. Adjacent galleries of South Asian art and the art of the Islamic World are also being renovated with updated lighting, casework, and interpretative approach. They will reopen in the spring.

The ancient Middle East is a vast geographic area that stretches from Turkey to the Indus Valley of present-day Pakistan, and from the Caucasus region to the Arabian Peninsula. The term “ancient Middle East” is often applied to objects made between the Neolithic period (eight millennium BCE) and the end of the Sasanian empire (mid-seventh century AD).

The project team is led by Dr. Ainsley M. Cameron, Cincinnati Art Museum’s Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art & Antiquities, alongside two Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Research Fellows, PhD candidates at the University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College, respectively. Other significant collaborators to the project beyond the museum include constituents from the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the University of Oxford.

According to Dr. Cameron, “The new galleries do not provide a chronological, geographical, or materially complete presentation of history, nor does it hold those modes of presentation as a goal. Rather, it is a view into the ancient world that is representative of how we see, embody, feel, and experience these ancient civilizations today, located in the American Midwest and situated in a globally connected world.”

Commissioned by the museum and inspired by the objects on view, the galleries also feature a new artwork by the artist Shahzia Sikander, titled Caesura. The monumental painted glass commission occupies the clerestory windows across both sides of the gallery and create dynamic connections between past and present. Sikander is known for innovative works that engage playfully with scale, religion, culture, histories, and iconographies of power. While her own identity connects with Pakistan rather than the countries of the modern Middle East, her practice mines cultural influences and forms that play across this vast region.

“By incorporating a contemporary commission into these ancient galleries, we encourage multiple ways of seeing, reading, and understanding cultures—just as Sikander’s layered work suggests movement, color, density, gesture, and ever-shifting light,” said Dr. Cameron.

The museum’s ancient Middle East collections number more than 1,000 objects, with the monumental architectural fragments from Khirbet et-Tannur, a large Nabataean temple complex located 70 miles north of Petra in present-day Jordan, at its center. The museum is honored to steward the largest collection of Nabataean sculpture outside of Jordan. Khirbet et-Tannur was excavated in 1937 by the Department of Antiquities of Transjordan in collaboration with archaeologist and Cincinnati native Dr. Nelson Glueck.

Relief sculptures depicting deities, carved floral ornamentation, an arch from the central shrine, and terracotta works entered the museum’s collection in 1939, while complementary collections are in The Jordan Museum and the Jordan Archaeological Museum in Amman. Other highlights of the museum’s ancient Middle East collection include lavish royal goods, intricate votive objects, and architectural fragments from the Assyrian, Achaemenid, and Sasanian civilizations, among others.

The majority of the collection has been in storage since 2004 awaiting new gallery space. Constituents are eager to have the collection return to view, particularly the faculty and students at the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Classics, the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College, as well as visiting scholars and academics from around the world. The museum has long-standing ties with the government of Jordan and has collaborated often with Jordanian scholars and officials to represent the Nabataean civilization to our audiences. Cincinnati has official “Sister City” status with Amman, Jordan.

Today's News

December 19, 2021

Jennifer Steinkamp combines art and technology in exhibition at Georgia Museum of Art

Prinseps to host the Gobardhan Ash auction, the first NFT auction in India

Ann Van Hoey's geometric and sculptural vessels on view at Lucy Lacoste Gallery

Richard Rogers, architect behind landmark Pompidou Center, dies at 88

Expanding the scope of 'Latin American Art'

Naples, a city of contradictions, is once again a home for cinema

Afghanistan's National Museum begins life under the Taliban

Bronx Museum of the Arts announces $21 million capital project and renovation

A classic car giant with a lofty mission: Save driving

150+ works join ICA Miami collection in 2021

FBI returns stolen artifacts to six local museums

'Jaws' is fiction. This show presents sharks as embattled heroes.

$50 million gift to Juilliard targets racial disparities in music

Exhibition brings all of Frankfurt's museums together for the first time

Exhibition features fashion and editorial photographs by contemporary Black artists

Henry Orenstein, 98, dies; Force behind Transformers and Poker on TV

Art of Anime and Everything Cool Volume II auction tops $2.6 million to shatter anime animation art record

V&A wins £50,000 award to expand its national schools challenge, V&A Innovate

Radio City Music Hall cancels its remaining Rockettes Christmas shows

ARCOmadrid returns for 2022 edition

Alvin Baltrop's first solo show in the UK on view at Modern Art

The Prince of Wales becomes Museum of London Patron

PAN Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli opens exhibition of "Garage Stills" by Jacquie Maria Wessels

Cincinnati Art Museum opens reimagined Ancient Middle East gallery

Understanding the crypto Market - Moving Averages

Are NFTs Real Art?

How To Sharpen Cuticle Nail Clippers

The Trendy Art , the store that helps you decorate your walls

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful