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KING TUT EXHIBIT COMING TO LACMA IN JUNE 2005.

Byline: Evan Henerson Staff Writer

More than a quarter century after his last visit to Los Angeles, Egypt's most famous pharaoh will revisit the same museum where he set institution attendance records, this time with an entirely new set of treasures to display.

``Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,'' comprising more than 130 relics from the tomb of King Tut and other crypts from the Valley of the Kings, arrives at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on June 16 for a five-month stay.

Museum officials announced the arrival of the exhibition, the result of a multiple-agency partnership, during a press conference Wednesday. Carrying a top ticket price of $30, ``Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs'' eclipses previous LACMA records of $20 (for the current ``Renoir to Matisse: The Eyes of Duncan Phillips'' and for the 1999 ``Van Gogh's Van Goghs'' exhibition). The price includes admission into all LACMA exhibitions.

Among the objects slated for exhibition: the gold crown (diadem) found on the boy king's mummified head and one of the coffinettes that contained Tutankhamun's internal organs. The exhibit will also contain artifacts from the tombs of Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV, and Yuya and Tuyu, Tutankhamun's great-grandparents.

None of the items in ``Tutankhamun'' were part of the ``Treasures of Tutankhamun'' exhibition that visited LACMA in 1978 carrying a top ticket charge of $2.

``This exhibit will bring back all of the stories about ancient Egypt, about the culture, the discovery and the curse (of Tutankhamun),'' said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. ``For two years, America is going to be 'boom!' ''

``This is,'' added John Norman, president and CEO of Arts and Exhibitions International, another of the exhibition's partners, ``the exhibit of all exhibits.''

Slated to occupy the LACMA West gallery, the King Tut exhibit figures to arrive with the same glut of promotion and spark the same line-generating, hot-ticket status as the 1978 engagement. An estimated 1.3 million saw the ``Treasures'' exhibit, which displayed about 50 relics.

Although she wasn't associated with the museum at the time, LACMA president and director Dr. Andrea Rich queued up for that exhibition.

``It was the first major blockbuster in the modern sense that this museum had since its formation,'' said Rich. ``Dr. Hawass is saying he wants 1 million visitors per city for this one. I have no idea what it's going to be.''

Although little is known historically about King Tut - who likely died before age 20 after a short nine-year reign - a certain mythology has developed around the pharaoh since the discovery of his tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Tut was born during the Amarna Age, a time when the pharaoh Akhenaten, had introduced his quasi-monotheistic beliefs into ancient Egypt. Tutankhamun restored the traditional gods and re- established Thebes as the religious capital and Memphis as the administrative center.

The current exhibition - which stays at LACMA through Nov. 15 - is a partnership between National Geographic, AEG LIVE Exhibitions (owner of the Staples Center), Arts and Exhibitions International, and the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, who together are setting the prices for the tickets. It then moves to the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, followed by a stay at Chicago's Field Museum in 2006.

A portion of the proceeds will help fund the construction of a new museum in Cairo that will be the permanent home to all of King Tut's artifacts. That facility won't be completed for five years, according to Hawass.

Tickets to the LACMA engagement are currently on sale to LACMA members and will go on sale to the general public in March. Information: www.kingtut.org or www.lacma.org. Member tickets are available at (877) 888-8587.

Evan Henerson, (818) 713-3651

evan.henerson(at)dailynews.com

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``Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,'' comprising more than 130 relics from Egypt's Valley of the Kings, will be in L.A. for five months, beginning June 16.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 2, 2004
Words:665
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