A Brief History of Humankind

100 000 Years of Cultural History

22 November 2016 to 26 March 2017

A Brief History of Humankind is the subtitle of the bestselling book by the Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari that sets the narrative structure of the exhibition of the same title. Developed to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and featuring a selection of outstanding objects from its encyclopaedic holdings, the exhibition now makes its first appearance in Europe.

«Humankind rules the world, because it is the only animal that believes in fiction.»Yuval Noah Harari

The archaeological objects from the Israel Museum recount the history of humankind from the dawn of civilization to the present. Among these objects are the remains of the first use of fire in a communal setting, the first tools used by humankind, rare evidence for the co-existence of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, the earliest examples of the use of writing and numerals, the first coins, a photographic reproduction of the Ten Commandments, a copy of the Gutenberg bible, a replica of Edison’s lightbulb and the manuscript of Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.

A particular treasure are the thirty-six sculptures of gods and goddesses from all over the world, from Neolithic stone and clay figures, ancient Egyptian deities, figures  from Greek and Roman mythology to deities from South America and sculptures from Asia and Africa. These artefacts are juxtaposed with select examples of contemporary art that link past and present. Among the artists represented are Mirosław Bałka, Bruce Conner, Mark Dion, Douglas Gordon, Aernout Mik, Adrian Paci, Paul Pfeiffer, Charles Ray, Haim Steinbach and Mark Wallinger. 

An exhibition of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, in cooperation with Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn.

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Official Audio-App

Available for free from the Apple Store or through Google Play

Conceptualisation and production of the audio guide and this app:  www.linon.de

Admission tickets

€10 / €6.50 (concessions), Family ticket €16

School groups enjoy free admission to the exhibition on Fridays (booking necessary)
Happy-Hour-Ticket: 7 € (available two hours before the museum closes; individual visitors only, all exhibitions.) Combined ticket for all exhibitions available. More information

Show bibliography
Illustrations
  1. Exhibition view, Mark Wallinger, Ecce Homo, 1999, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem© Mark WallingerExhibition view, Mark Wallinger, Ecce Homo, 1999, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem © Mark Wallinger
  2. The oldest hearth in Eurasia, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Jordan Valley, Early Stone Age, 780 000 years ago© The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Photo: Elie PosnerÄlteste Feuerstelle Eurasiens, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Jordantal Altpaläolithikum, 780000 Jahre alt, Flint, verbrannt, Israel Antiquities Authority © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Foto: Elie Posner
  3. Jan Dibbets, TV as a Fireplace, 1968/69, Video installation, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017Jan Dibbets, TV as a Fireplace, 1968/69, Video installation, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
  4. Neanderthal skull, Amud Cave, Galilee, Middle Paleolithic Period, ca. 60,000 years ago The Israel Museum, Jerusalem© The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Foto: Elie Posner
  5. Mark Dion, born USA 1961, Ursus Maritimus, 1995, Foam body, fiberglass, glass eye, clay, goat skin, wooden base made of pine and MDF, Purchase, West Coast Art Acquisitions, Committee of American Friends of the Israel Museum© The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Photo: Elie PosnerMark Dion, born USA 1961, Ursus Maritimus, 1995, Foam body, fiberglass, glass eye, clay, goat skin, wooden base made of pine and MDF, Purchase, West Coast Art Acquisitions, Committee of American Friends of the Israel Museum © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Photo: Elie Posner
  6. Grinding bowl, Horvath Minha, Jordan Valley, Neolithic Period, 9,000 years ago, Basalt, Israel Antiquities Authority© The Israel Museum, JerusalemGrinding bowl, Horvath Minha, Jordan Valley, Neolithic Period, 9,000 years ago, Basalt, Israel Antiquities Authority © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  7. Efrat Natan, Swing of the Scythe Sculpture, 2002, Purchase, Artvision Acquisition Committee, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem© Efrat Natan, Photo: The Israel Museum, JerusalemEfrat Natan, Swing of the Scythe Sculpture, 2002, Purchase, Artvision Acquisition Committee, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem © Efrat Natan, Photo: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  8. Benedictus Arias Montanus, Map of the World, Engraving: Pieter van der Heyden, 1571 From: Biblia sacra (The Holy Bibel), The Norman Bier Section for Maps of the Holy Land, Gift of Norman and Frieda Bier, London© The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Photo: Ilan Sztulman
  9. Zhang Hongtu, Kekou-Kele (Sixpack), 2002, Collection oft he artist© Zhang Hongtu
  10. Christopher Locke, Ludustatarium Temperosony, from the series “Modern Fossils,” 2010, Concrete Collection of the artist© Heartless Machine
  11. Yinka Shonibare MBE, Vacation, 2000, Purchase, Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee of American Friends of the Israel Museum, New York, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem© Yinka Shonibare, Photo: Ahlburg Keate Photography

Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Museumsmeile Bonn
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4
53113 Bonn
T +49 228 9171–200

Opening hours

Mondays closed
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Thursdays–Sundays, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
(including public holidays even those which fall on Mondays)

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