Met Museum to Renovate Its Ancient Near East and Cypriot Galleries

Construction for the $40 million project is expected to start next year and finish in 2025.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is planning a $40 million initiative to renovate its Ancient Near East and Cypriot galleries, museum officials announced on Tuesday. The collection holds some of the institution’s most recognizable ancient works from the Eastern Mediterranean coast extending through Iran, including a pair of towering lamassu sculptures — winged lions with human heads — from the ninth century B.C.

Nader Tehrani, principal of the architecture firm NADAAA, has designed the new space, using elements that reflect the materials of the exhibited artworks, such as the deep blues of lapis lazuli seen in Sumerian designs. Kim Benzel and Seán Hemingway, curators at the museum, will oversee the project. They aim to integrate these separate areas of the collection into an updated display that demonstrates the cross-cultural connections between the Near East — now commonly referred to as West Asia — and Cyprus.

“The Met has a strong commitment to updating our narratives,” Max Hollein, the museum’s director, said in an interview. He said that new scholarship would influence the curatorial direction of the galleries, which have not been renovated since 1999.

Hollein said that fund-raising for the 15,000-square-foot project is about halfway complete. Construction is to begin later this year, and museum officials expect the galleries to reopen in 2025.

The museum is undergoing several other major renovations, which include changes to the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, as well as projects in its European paintings section and its galleries for modern and contemporary art.

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