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AGO bids farewell to the Golden King

Attendance to blockbuster exhibition sets a 15-year high, tops 400,000

(TORONTO - May 3, 2010) The reign of the Art Gallery of Ontario's King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs has ended with resounding success.  During its 24-week run, King Tut attracted 404,364 visitors, 47 per cent of whom were making their first visit to the AGO.  The exhibition is the third most attended in the Gallery's history and the most visited since The Barnes Exhibit in 1994.

"It has been a remarkable experience to host these Egyptian treasures during their final visit to Canada," says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO's Michael and Sonja Koerner director, and CEO. "We are proud to have welcomed such a great number of first-time visitors to the Gallery and look forward to engaging them with many more exciting exhibitions to come."

As a direct result of King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, Gallery memberships spiked, with 12,450 new members having joined since the exhibition opened.  More information about membership can be found at www.ago.net/general-membership.

The closing of King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs makes way for Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theatre, the Gallery's major summer exhibition, which opens June 19. More information on Drama and Desire can be found at www.ago.net/drama-and-desire.

The dramatic summer season at the AGO will also feature Playing with Pictures: the Art of Victorian Photocollage, opening June 5, and The Storyteller, opening June 9.  Also on view is the AGO's contribution to this year's Luminato festival - Janet Cardiff's Whispering Room, part of the AGO's permanent collection.

King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs was organized by the National Geographic Society, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG Exhibitions with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. Special thanks to Northern Trust, the proud cultural partner of the exhibition and American Airlines, the official airline. Additional financial support was provided by the Government of Ontario.

The AGO is very grateful for the support of our partners. Promotional partners are: Chapters Indigo; Jackson-Triggs; Loblaws; Starwood Hotels: Le Meridien King Edward, The Sheraton Centre and The Westin Harbour Castle - official hotel sponsors; Tourism Toronto; Pizza Pizza; Via Rail; YMCA; Egyptian Tourism Authority and the TTC. Media Partners are CTV and the Globe and Mail. Government Partners are the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership. Other hotel partners: Delta Chelsea; The Fairmont Royal York; InterContinental Toronto Centre; and The Hilton Toronto. We would also like to recognize Toronto Tours for their involvement with the exhibition.

ABOUT THE AGO

With a permanent collection of more than 79,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public to international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery's façade; and the feature staircase, spiralling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic new African art gallery; from David Altmejd's monumental installation The Index to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.

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For more images and more information contact:

Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454, antonietta_mirabelli@ago.net

Sean O'Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403, sean_oneill@ago.net

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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