Met curator Joan Aruz knows how to connect the dots. A case in point - her new blockbuster exhibit, "Beyond Babylon" (through March 15), which sweeps across the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia to explore the cross-pollination of cultures there in the second millennium B.C.
"It's interesting, because in past exhibits, people treated these regions separately," says the Chappaqua resident, curator in charge of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. "But people who look only at one place take the narrow view."
Aruz favors a bolder vision.
"By juxtaposing (approximately 350) objects, we want to demonstrate how these cultures thrived when they came in contact with one another," she says. "This is the first exhibit to bring them together."
The cultures that flowered beyond Babylon - the fabled, peacock-colored city of gardens and ziggurats that was the New York of this ancient world and is now a ruin in Iraq - have names that will be familiar to many viewers from history books. They are Canaanite, Mycenaean Greek, Cypriot, Egyptian and Assyrian, to name a few. But you don't have to know Hammurabi, the memorable Babylonian king and codifier of its laws, from Hatshepsut, Egypt's great female Pharaoh, to relish this show.
See the above page for more.