Canadian exclusive: King Tut returns to the AGO and this time he's bringing his fellow pharaohs

    Experience the magic and mystery of the world of Tutankhamun at the Art
    Gallery of Ontario - premiering November 21, 2009

    TORONTO, April 23 /CNW/ - Thirty years after the wonders of King Tut had
their celebrated Canadian debut at the Art Gallery of Ontario, an even bigger
exhibition - Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs - will make
its sole Canadian appearance at the AGO with a members-only preview starting
November 21 and public opening November 24. The 1979 exhibition sparked
"Tutmania" throughout Canada and brought more than 750,000 visitors to the
    With an almost entirely different selection of treasures and more than
twice the number of artifacts as were displayed in the 1979 exhibition,
Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs features 130 remarkable
pieces from the tomb of King Tut and ancient sites representing some of the
most important rulers throughout 2,000 years of ancient Egyptian history.
Derived from temples and royal and private tombs from 2600 B.C to 660 B.C.,
most of these artifacts had never before been seen in North America prior to
this exhibition, which is currently breaking venue attendance records during
its U.S. premiere in Atlanta.
    This spectacular collection features the largest image of King Tut ever
unearthed - a 10-foot statue of the pharaoh found at the remains of the
funerary temple of two of his high officials. The statue still retains much of
its original paint.
    At the AGO through April 18, 2010, the exhibition is organized by the
National Geographic Society, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG
Exhibitions with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Northern Trust is a proud cultural partner of the exhibition, and American
Airlines is the official airline. A portion of proceeds from this exhibition
will go toward antiquities preservation and conservation efforts in Egypt,
including the construction of a new grand museum in Cairo.
    Four AGO galleries will be devoted to King Tut, whose mysterious death at
age 18 or 19 continues to capture the imaginations of millions. Featured
objects from his tomb include jewelry, furniture and weapons, as well as the
boy king's golden sandals - which were created specifically for the afterlife
and still covered his feet when his mummified remains were discovered in 1922
by British explorer Howard Carter. Another highlight is an exquisite gold
canopic coffinette that originally contained the pharaoh's mummified stomach.
    The exhibition will also feature artifacts belonging to some of ancient
Egypt's most powerful rulers, such as Khufu, whose Great Pyramid is the only
remaining structure of the seven wonders of the ancient world. An
extraordinary gold death mask that covered the head and chest of the mummy of
King Psusennes I will also be showcased.
    New scientific discoveries that emerged from a landmark Egyptian research
and conservation project, partially funded by the National Geographic Society,
will also be on view, providing visitors with new insight into Tutankhamun's
legendary life and death. This will include the first three-dimensional CT
scans of King Tut's mummy, captured through the use of a portable CT scanner
donated by Siemens Medical Solutions.
    The exhibition experience will be enhanced with an audio tour and
National Geographic video documentary, both narrated by award-winning actor
Harrison Ford.
    "Tutankhamun's magic still captures the hearts of people all over the
world, even though more than 85 years have passed since the discovery of his
amazing tomb," says Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council
of Antiquities. "I always say that Egyptian antiquities are the heritage of
the world and that we are their only guardians."
    "What better way to celebrate art and the one-year anniversary of our
transformation than with the return of King Tut, bringing with him all the
great pharaohs of Egypt," says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO's director and CEO.
"In this Canadian exclusive exhibition are incredible works of art from an
ancient culture. Part of our mandate is broadening the definitions of art. In
these astonishing artifacts, decorative objects and functional pieces is
remarkable artistry that tells an unforgettable story about the splendor of
the Egyptian pharaohs. Thirty years after our first Tut exhibition,
Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs recalls one of the great
moments in AGO history."
    "The transformed Art Gallery of Ontario has already secured its position
as Canada's newest cultural destination," says Ontario Minister of Culture
Aileen Carroll. "With this major exhibition, people from throughout the
province and the nation can experience both the remarkable new AGO and the
wonders of ancient Egypt as told through Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the
Great Pharaohs.
    "Even with the great wealth of research that already exists, new
technologies continue to reveal the secrets of the past in ways never
imagined," says Terry Garcia, executive vice president of the National
Geographic Society. "In this exhibition, visitors will learn more about the
life and death of Tutankhamun through recent CT scans conducted on his mummy."
    "Corporate citizenship has been a focus at Northern Trust since our
founding in 1889. We are proud to uphold this legacy by supporting important
initiatives that promote cultural education and awareness," says Frederick H.
Waddell, president and chief executive officer of Northern Trust Corporation.
"We look forward to sharing this inspiring educational experience with the
local community and visitors from around the world."
    "The previous King Tut tour in the 1970s was a major cultural phenomenon,
and to some extent, coined the term "blockbuster," says John Norman, president
of Arts and Exhibitions International. "As the only host Canadian city for
this new exhibition, Toronto will have at its door one of the world's great
cultural legacies."
    Record crowds thronged to the AGO 30 years ago to see the first Tut
exhibition, and organizers again anticipate high demand for Tutankhamun: The
Golden King and the Great Pharaohs. The exhibition will be time-ticketed to
ensure visitors have comfortable and convenient access to the exhibition. AGO
members will receive a limited number of free and discounted tickets,
depending on membership level. AGO members will have the opportunity to book
tickets before they go on sale to the public, beginning in September. An AGO
members' preview is planned before this spectacular exhibition opens to the
public. More information about tickets for members will be available at in late summer.
    Tickets for the general public will go on sale starting this fall. In the
meantime, those interested in general public tickets can pre-register at
    As preparations for this major exhibition continue, the AGO is also
planning other compelling exhibitions that will appeal to a broad array of
visitor interests. Among them:
    The architect and icon of China's Cultural Revolution in retrospect is
the focus of Where is Mao? (Sept. 12, 2009-Jan. 16, 2010), drawing on the
AGO's collection of Chinese posters from the Mao era, where art as political
propaganda supplanted "art for art's sake." These posters have never been
shown before at the AGO. The exhibition also includes AGO works by Andy
Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Joanne Tod and Hung Liu, as well as recent video
works by Chinese and Chinese-Canadian artists.
    Opening Oct. 3, 2009, Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast
Years 1923-1937 features more than 200 extraordinary photographs from his
years as chief photographer at Condé Nast publications Vanity Fair and Vogue.
Steichen's brilliant work captures the glamour and drama of the period in high
fashion, as well as politics, literature, dance, theatre and opera. The
exhibition is organized by the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne and the Foundation
for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, in collaboration with the AGO.
    Beauty, consumerism, race, identity and gender politics converge in the
large-scale collages of African-born, American-based artist Wangechi Mutu.
Although she has had solo exhibitions at the San Francisco MoMA and the Miami
Art Museum, the AGO-organized Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization? is
her most comprehensive exhibition to date. Opening in February, 2010, Mutu's
distinctive hybridized figures depict an unsettling realm where cyborg-like
creatures inhabit dazzling, imaginary landscapes. The exhibition also features
several of the artist's videos.
    Scheduled for winter 2010, Arctic Vision presents a remarkable group of
artworks unique to the Canadian North that has evolved over the past 60 years.
Created by artists of Inuit ancestry, this AGO-organized exhibition features
175 masterworks (sculptures, prints and drawings) from the AGO's Samuel and
Esther Sarick Collection - merely a fraction of one of the foremost and
comprehensive privately-assembled collections of Inuit art in the world. The
exhibition explores the impact of globalization and climate change on the
Inuit traditional lifestyle. Following its AGO debut, Arctic Vision will be
the most important internationally touring exhibition of Inuit art in almost
40 years.
    Celebrated writer Michael Ondaatje and filmmaker Guy Maddin have been
invited to curate a show from the AGO's expansive photography collection, with
the working title: Shadowy Disasters/Mildewed Moods. This AGO-organized
exhibition is currently scheduled for spring 2011.

    With a permanent collection of more than 73,000 works of art, the Art
Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North
America. The Gallery opened the transformed AGO on November 14, 2008. Designed
by the internationally celebrated architect Frank Gehry, the renovated AGO has
4,000 works of art from around the world on display in 110 breathtaking,
light-filled galleries. As the imaginative centre of the city, the Gallery
dramatically enriches visitors' experiences and provides greater access to the
vibrancy of the art museum.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Susan Bloch-Nevitte, Art Gallery of Ontario,
(416) 979-6622,; Laura Calliari, Arts and
Exhibitions International, (310) 941-8780,

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