02 Jan 2018

Restoring the Minoans: Elizabeth Price and Sir Arthur Evans

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University

Reviewed by William Corwin

Elizabeth Price revives the Minoan civilization via a scenario straight out of Doctor Who. Robotic, feminine voices recite the achievements and desires of a culture, as blueprints, fragments and frescoes flash on screen. This is Minoan culture as perceived by the late Victorian eye, specifically the eyes of Sir Arthur Evans, who built an edenic matriarchy of bull dancers and blue boys based on crumbs of paintings and a Minotaur's labyrinth that turned out to be a mess of storerooms.

Winner of the 2012 Turner Prize, Price does a good job of portraying how we burden the past with our hopes of a better future. At times she blinds the viewer with DayGlo pink propaganda text to remind how much of this constructed history is wishful thinking. The accompanying exhibition of reconstructed and restored murals and sundry objects from the palace of Knossos is riveting and a testament to Evans's brilliant and creative archaeology. He saw great things that should have been there but probably were not.

Exhibition Restoring the Minoans: Elizabeth Price and Sir Arthur Evans link
Start date 05 Oct 2017
End date 07 Jan 2018
Presenter Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University link
Venue 15 East 84th Street, New York City, NY, USA map
Image Unidentified Artist, Saffron Gatherer Restoration after a fresco from Area of Early Keep, Knossos, ca. 1921, watercolor on paper, 27 x 47.5 centimeters, The Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, Bequeathed by Sir Arthur Evans: Evans Fresco Drawing L/3
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