The Art Institute of Chicago has announced that it is slated to open on November 11 the new Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art.
These new sunlit spaces, situated in McKinlock Court (G150-154) have been re-imagined to present some of the Art Institute's oldest objects. With over 150 loans from private collections and public institutions complementing the museum's own holdings, the inaugural display, titled Of Gods and Glamour, allows the Art Institute to tell the story of lives led in the ancient and medieval Mediterranean world. Being exhibited are: life-size marble sculptures of goddesses, portraits of emperors and empresses, jewelry and silver tableware.
The unveiling of the Jaharis Galleries also includes an inaugural exhibition of 51 works of late Roman and early Byzantine art loaned by the British Museum. The artworks in the exhibition reflect the privileged households and important ecclesiastical sites between A.D. 350 and 650, and include silver vessels, carved ivories, and jewelry. Late Roman and early Byzantine Treasures from the British Museum will be on view in McKinlock Court through August 25, 2013.
Designed by the museum's Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art and Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture, the new galleries, including display cases built by Goppion Museum Workshop in Milan, Italy, were made possible by the Jaharis Family Foundation Inc.
The 13,707-square-foot galleries encircling the museum's McKinlock Court take visitors on a journey through the beginnings of Western art. Opening the installation are the rare Mesopotamian Statuette of a Striding Figure from 3000/2800 B.C. and the abstracted Cycladic Female Figure from 2600/2500 B.C. From these anchors, a chronological display follows.
The Jaharis Galleries' display of the museum's permanent collection is added with two additional resources. One gallery offers a look into the preservation and conservation work performed on the objects newly on display, while LaunchPad: Ancient and Byzantine Art, a new interactive multimedia program stationed at 16 kiosks throughout the galleries, provides information on selected objects on display. Also available is a publication, Recasting the Past: Collecting and Presenting Antiquities at the Art Institute of Chicago, authored by Karen Manchester, chair and curator of the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art, with an essay by Karen Alexander.
Major funding for Late Roman and Early Byzantine Treasures from the British Museum is provided by Shawn M. Donnelley and Christopher M. Kelly. Additional support is provided by John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe. Annual support is also provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Goldman Sachs, Kenneth and Anne Griffin, Thomas and Margot Pritzker, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, the Trott Family Foundation, and the Woman's Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Programming in the Educational Gallery is supported by the Perucca Family Foundation. The new interactive program LaunchPad is supported by a grant from the Community Associates Long Range Fund. LaunchPad was originally conceived for the galleries of European Decorative Arts and was created with the support of Melinda Martin Sullivan and the Eloise W. Martin Legacy Fund. Funding for the catalogue was provided by an anonymous donor.