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The Golden King is Toronto’s Golden Ticket

Ticket sales to AGO exhibition hit 250,000.

(TORONTO - February 24, 2010) The people of Toronto are coming out in droves to catch a glimpse of the treasures of Tutankhamun - ticket sales to the Art Gallery of Ontario's blockbuster exhibition King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs have reached 250,000.

"The exhibition is drawing thousands of new visitors to the AGO," says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO's Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. "Our exit surveys indicate that over 70 percent of visitors to King Tut have never been to the new AGO. We're thrilled with this response, and look forward to welcoming many more new faces in the coming weeks."

The best times for the most leisurely visits to the exhibition are weekdays or Wednesday evenings, when the Gallery stays open until 8:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $28.50 on weekdays, a $4.00 less than weekend prices. Weekend tickets are still available through the remainder of the exhibition, but due to high demand visitors are encouraged to book in advance via http://www.ago.net/, or by visiting the Gallery box office in person.

The popularity of the exhibition coincides with a major study published Feb. 17, 2010 in The Journal of the American Medicine Association, which traced the lineage of King Tut based on the DNA of ancient mummies, and revealed that malaria may have been a contributing factor to King Tut's death. The exhibition features many artifacts from King Tut's direct ancestors, as well as a special National Geographic science display that includes images from CT scans of King Tut's mummified remains.

With Tut fever sweeping across the city, the AGO is hoping to set a Guinness World Record on Sunday, Feb. 28 for the most people "tutting" in one place at one time. "Tutting" is a popular style of hip-hop dance inspired by ancient Egypt, and the Gallery has already signed up more than the 250 dancers needed to set the record. All registrants receive a free general admission ticket and are entered to win a variety of special prizes, including a King Tut VIP Package from the Westin Harbour Castle. Registration is still open at www.ago.net/tutting-registration.

The AGO is offering kids a chance to "Go Camping with a King" at its popular annual March Break Art Camp, running from March 15 to 19 for kids aged 6 through 13. Inspired by the exhibition and the wonders of ancient Egypt, kids will react, respond, and create, building artistic skills and nurturing their imaginations. More information can be found at www.ago.net/march-break-art-camp-2010.

King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs is part of an ambitious exhibition season at the AGO, which focuses on contemporary art on the leading edge. Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization? opens on February 24; and Sculpture as Time: Major Works. New Acquisitions. and Anselm Kiefer: Palmsonntag open March 4. Already open are Rembrandt / Freud: Etchings from Life, and Françoise Sullivan: Inner Force - Winner of the 2008 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO.

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

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 amid 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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