Thank God it’s Friday

Posted on November 20, 2015

“HANDS OFF MY TUTS!”

… read a slogan emblazoned across flimsy T-shirts for women in the late 1970s, a time when original artefacts from among King Tut's treasures were touring museums across the United States, and making the boy king an American pop-culture phenomenon. Visited by presidents and celebrities, featured in TV shows, such as Saturday Night Live, it became the first of what we today would call a “blockbuster exhibition”, selling millions of tickets and making millions of dollars from souvenirs. “Even people who had never before set foot in museums were eager to score tickets — and if they couldn’t do that, they could at least buy some of the trinkets and memorabilia”, says journalist David Kamp.

The nucleus of this American “Tut-mania” was the 1978/79 Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition, a marvelous display of about 50 original artefacts, including the iconic golden mask, hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue in New York. From today, at 417 Fifth Avenue, Premier Exhibitions’ new galleries will host our version of the story, The Discovery of King Tut, featuring about 1,000 replica artefacts, its centrepiece a reconstruction of the pharaoh’s burial chambers.

To mark this very special moment in our project’s history, we’ve created a unique “newspaper” supplement to our exhibition, The Tut Times, and invited longtime Vanity Fair contributor David Kamp to cover New York’s everlasting romance with the Egyptian pharaoh. The result is a compendium of wonderful, entertaining and informative texts, from a retrospective on Richard Nixon’s visit to Egypt in 1974 to King Tut’s influence on modern songwriters. Illustrator Peter Oumanski (I discovered his work in my beloved Entertainment Weekly) also painted a bold city map, featuring “Egyptian places” in New York, from The Brooklyn Museum to “Egyptian tombs” at Woodlawn Cemetery.

The “politically completely incorrect” (as our social media advisor Adri Cowan from Rogue Social says) HANDS OFF MY TUTS T-shirts are still available online. About two weeks ago, photographer Cabot Bramhall “reloaded” this T-Shirt for The Tut Times, holding a photo shoot in front of our venue at 417 Fifth Avenue. In the photo, you can see models Kadeem Johnson and Nicole Alyse.

The Tut Times isn’t available online, it’s a free giveaway for all our visitors, so you need to buy a ticket to treat yourself with this unique collector’s item. But… yesterday evening, we had an exclusive media preview, and I asked Peter Oumanski to sign 50 copies; in a few days from now, we’ll raffle these 50 copies on Facebook, so follow us on

Very best wishes from New York!
Christoph Scholz
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Next week, in this place: The second edition of Garry’s Soap Box, by our London “correspondent” Garry Shaw!



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