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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Cummer Museum is set to debut its newest exhibition, "Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt," on Jan. 31. - Jacksonville Business Journal

Cummer Museum set to debut new Egyptian art exhibition

The Cummer Museum of Art and Garden's newest exhibition is set to debut at the end of the month – an exhibition that comes complete with an air of exclusivity, as the Cummer is the first Museum to host the exhibition outside of its two organizers.

The exhibition, "Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt," runs between Jan. 31 and April 26. Striking Power comes to Jacksonville after being on display at the Brooklyn Museum and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the two organizations behind the exhibition.

Director and CEO Adam Levine said that the exhibition's motif of iconoclasm, defined in this context as the destruction of art for "political, religious and criminal reasons," is a remarkably relevant topic in today's society.

"One of the reasons it was very important for us to do this show is because of course there's a topicality to the issue: how do we treat sculptures – in society – of individuals that are not perceived by everyone unanimously as a "good" person," Levine said. "This exhibition demonstrates that this question of what to do with contemporary sculptures is as old as human history."

Levine was careful to emphasize that the museum's role as a cultural institution is strictly non-partisan, but it also hopes to fulfill the role of providing a historical lens for modern issues.

Striking Power features artwork related to the reign of both Hatshesput and Akhenaten, as well as pieces from the late Antiquity period – between the 3rd to 7th century AD. The exhibition is composed of roughly 45 pieces of art and examines the "patterns of damage inflicted on these sculptures for political religious and criminal reasons in ancient times."

"It speaks to this institutional concern, not just expanding people's horizons and exposing them to great art, but using great art as a service to provide context to where we are today," Levine said. "That is in direct alignment with some of our strategic objectives."

Levine added that some of the Cummer's strategic objectives include increasing accessibility, as well as developing a wider market and audience.

"We have developed a structure that can support widening that marketing funnel ever further," Levine said.

In addition to the exhibit itself, a number of related programs are being offered with it. Levine will host a series of lectures on iconoclasm throughout history between Feb. 4 and April 7. An "Egyptian Dinner Party" is scheduled for Feb. 21, and Egyptologist Dr. Bob Brier is scheduled to host a lecture on Feb. 26. Additionally, Jacksonville's own Phase Eight Theater Company is scheduled for performances on March 20 and 22 and April 26.

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