It was the highlight of the 2018 Armenian cultural calendar, the culmination of a life’s work for a curator extraordinaire, and the pivotal moment when Armenian Art took its rightful place in the pantheon of ancient cultures that shaped the civilized world.
Hailed by the New York Times as a “show for the ages” that received the “blockbuster” treatment and described in the Wall Street Journal as a “celebration of beauty that is also a religious act,” the Armenia! exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened to the public this past September and will run through January 13, 2019 to include celebrations of Armenian Christmas. Yet within days, the show had already exceeded all expectations of its capacity to astonish and intrigue the millions of unsuspecting museum goers who pass through the world class institution every year.
Intricately carved colossal khachkars, radiantly-hued illuminated manuscripts, elaborate tapestries, ornately woven ceremonial garments, gem-encrusted reliquaries and decorative adornments wrought of precious metals, hewed stone or honed woods collectively elevated Armenian culture from historical footnote to bold exclamation point. The Armenia! logotype proved itself an apt expression for that moment of revelation when a vibrant and sophisticated culture emerges from the sands of time with all its lustre, brilliance and genius intact—a vivid case in point for the perpetual state of regeneration and renewal that defines the Armenian spirit.