This project by Lebanese artist Rayyane Tabet recounts a family story linked to the discovery and excavation of a Neo-Hittite palace near the village of Tell Halaf in what is now Syria. The tale, as related to Tabet by his mother, revolved around the figure of Max von Oppenheim, a German aristocrat, diplomat and amateur archaeologist who led a dig at Tell Halaf over a 30-year period, recovering artifacts dating to the first millennium B.C. These were brought back to Berlin, and mostly destroyed during World War II, but in the years leading up to the conflict, Oppenheim’s activities garnered the attention of the French Mandate controlling the region at the time, which suspected him of espionage. They dispatched the artist’s great-grandfather, a government employee, to gather intelligence on Oppenheim, which ultimately turned up nothing. This “spy story,” as Tabet’s mother put it, serves as a springboard to a larger meditation on the vicissitudes of time that incorporates some of the actual objects—including shallow relief carvings—found at Tell Halaf.
No matter how you slice it, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the greatest art museum in the world. Among New York City museums, it's numero uno, seconded only by MoMA. Just five blocks south of the Solomon R. Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue's fable Museum Mile, The Met contains artworks spanning some 5,000 years. Meanwhile, The Met Breuer at 75th St and Madison Avenue hosts Contemporary and Modern Art. Both places feature exhibitions that are not to be missed. If you want to find what's currently on view at both places, along with the upcoming shows that are on tap this summer and fall (including this year's rooftop commission by Berlin artist Alicja Kwade, a show of rock-and-roll guitars and a Costume Institute survey of camp fashion) look no further than our guide to best exhibitions, current and upcoming, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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