Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Hawass's Chutzpah

Yes, artlings, the answer to yesterday's Question of the Day (see below) is: D) All of the above. Kudos to Sylvia Hochfield in the May issue of ARTnews, who captures Zahi Hawass's megalomania with the killer quote, "I am Pharaoh," uttered by the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on the occasion of the museum's new Hatshepsut show.

At the press preview, Hawass told me the same things he told Sylvia. But she beat me to the keyboard, so I refer you, with admiration, to her article on Page 78, in the magazine's "International News" section, about Hawass's "campaign to repatriate artistic icons from museums around the world." To me, he additionally said the following, about the failure of the St. Louis Art Museum to instantly accede to his request for return of a 3,200-year-old mummy mask:

I will make a court case against them in Egypt and after that I will talk against them in every newspaper, in every TV, all over the world, to make them as criminals.

As Philippe de Montebello of the Met never tires of pointing out, we journalists are being used by the spokesmen for antiquity source-countries to further their aims through publicity, not diplomacy. No wonder Harold Holzer, the museum's head of communications, whisked Hawass away from me as soon as he saw us chatting!

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