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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      The Union Oil Center was completed in 1958 and became the highest building in downtown Los Angeles (mostly thanks to the convenient hill it is situated upon). 

      This neighborhood became known for the 19th century oil boom. However, come the ’90s, the building was up for demolition. Saved by Hollywood, this building became the Los Angeles Center Studios complete with a “vertical backlot.” What other SoCal oil buildings have transformed in time? The Huntington has one.  

      We’re teaming up The Huntington’s tumblr to bring you historic Los Angeles images on Wednesdays through August 6 as part of No Further West.

      Union Oil Center, 1957, Julius Shulman. Getty Research Institute. Julius Shulman Photography Archive.

      07/23/14

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