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Chicago Tribune Praises “Picturing the Past”

A review of the Oriental Institute Museum’s latest exhibit Picturing the Past: Imaging and Imagining the Ancient Middle East was called “compact, well-edited, and engaging” by the Chicago Tribune. The article features interviews with the exhibit’s co-curators Jack Green, who is also the museum’s chief curator, and special exhibits coordinator Emily Teeter.

The exhibit opened February 7 and continues through September 2. It presents paintings, architectural reconstructions, facsimiles, casts, models, photographs, and computer-aided reconstructions that show how the architecture, sites, and artifacts of the ancient Middle East have been documented. The show also examines how the publication of those images have shaped our perception of the ancient world, and how some of the more “imaginary” reconstructions have obscured our real understanding of the past.

From the Tribune article:

… [the] exhibit at the Oriental Institute Museum asks visitors to think twice about the images they see of ancient worlds. A painting or a model may look authoritative, but before you accept it as truth, ask yourself what assumptions the artist or archaeologist is making to complete the image, what gaps might he or she be filling in? And then, bigger picture, consider how much of what we think we know about earlier times might be based on images that blend the factual and the fanciful.

“Picturing the Past: Imaging and Imagining the Ancient Middle East” is up at the University of Chicago’s splendid temple to Middle Eastern research and culture through Sept. 2, and it is a compact, well-edited and intellectually engaging show.

Read the Tribune article here.

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