When the Dead Arise and Head to Times Square
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
There is a lot of traffic these days in well-preserved bodies, human and otherwise. They are sliced and pickled for artistic effect or uncannily dissected and plasticized, with every blood vessel visible. They have toured the world, wrapped and mummified in the manner of ancient Egypt, or have been displayed, more modestly preserved by the dry desert sands of the Silk Road. And there are many, many more mummies yet to come.
Why this onslaught of the almost-living dead in museums? Are we latter-day Ezekiels seeking prophetic messages from ancient skeletal remnants? Has the technology used to prepare the dead for world travel suddenly advanced? Or has the need for income by the overseers of mummies suddenly increased?
Perhaps all are true. But “Pompeii the Exhibit: Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius,” which opens on Friday at Discovery Times Square, is unusual because its dead bodies are not really dead, and they are not really bodies.