Violence is often inherent in man’s pursuit of beauty. Increasingly, museums are addressing this truth with exhibitions that denounce the artifacts on display. Precious objects made with tortoiseshell; women’s hats decorated with the spring plumage of shot birds—wall text is blunt about the death that is involved. And then there’s the myriad decorative uses of ivory from elephants. This majestic creature is now endangered. The pillaging of tusks, which requires the killing of the individual, continues despite a united effort to stop it. With 200 pieces from museums around the world, this exhibition tell the story of ivory—historical, cultural, religious, aesthetic—and the tragedy born of desire. —L.J.
Humboldt Forum Schloßpl., 10178 Berlin Get Directions »