Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute

Obsidian Mirror-Travels Explores Myths and Truths about Ancient Mexico

The current exhibition at the Getty Research Institute, Obsidian Mirror-Travels: Refracting Ancient Mexican Art and Archaeology, challenges our ideas of how we understand the past. More than 70 objects from the Colonial era to the present, including maps, books, photographs, engravings, and contemporary works, explore how artists, archaeologists, and artists have looked through a mirror darkly at ancient Mexico.

The fragments of Mexico’s Pre-Columbian past are exactly that: fragments. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to think about what fragments say about a past civilization—and what they might say about us. These pieces, like our projections onto them, change over time.

The past is rarely cohesive or reconciled, or even ever past, says scholar and author Khristaan Villela, who curated the exhibition with senior collections cataloguer Beth Guynn. “People of all kinds—explorers, professors and visual artists—continue to mine ancient Mexico for inspiration,” he says.

In this video he discusses how the exhibition came to be and gives you a taste of what you’ll see in the show.

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      Art history, statistics, network science, and informatics converge in a new study in Science magazine that maps European cultural history through birth and death dates of notable figures, using data from the Getty Union List of Artist Names.

      BONUS! It’s one of the first art history papers ever published in a peer-reviewed science magazine.

      Birth to death migration in Europe, according to the Union List of Artist Names, cumulated over all time to CE 2012. Blue dots indicate more births of notable individuals; red dots indicate more deaths. © Maximilian Schich, 2014

      07/31/14

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