Thursday, April 26, 2012

Byzantine Route to Met -

As the Arab Spring roiled the Middle East last year, curators at the Metropolitan Museum were watching anxiously.

They were preparing an exhibition on art from southern provinces of the Byzantine Empire, including a swath of countries from Tunisia to Syria that were now suddenly consumed by revolutionary protests. The movement and its unprecedented demands for freedom captured the world's attention. It also made for unfortunate timing on the museum's loan requests.

The exhibition, called "Byzantium and Islam," opens Wednesday, with some notable pieces missing.

While 40 objects from Jordan did come through, a sought-after loan from Egypt didn't. As …