MASKS OF THE MICHOACÁN ~ Oct. 8-26, Slocumb Galleries

'The masks of Michoacán are works of art in their own right. Through these masks one gets to know and appreciate the art of the people of Michoacán and the ceremonies and traditions from which these masks emerge.'

– Francisco Rodriguez Onate



Laden with profound ritual meanings, the Masks of the Michoacán -- or Máscaras de Michoacán -- exhibition is a mosaic of Michoacán culture, featuring 40 Mesoamerican masks from the Mask Museum in the Centro Cultural Antiguo Colegio Jesuita in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. An essential element of human ritual used during colonial times, these masks are particularly important because each one has played a role in ceremonial dances within communities that continue to keep alive the festivities and traditions inherited from their ancestors. Each mask proudly represents the folk art of Michoacán and illustrates a unique artistry of carving, pigmentation, expressiveness of features and details such as fangs, horns, necklaces, headdresses, eyes painted or made of glass, mustaches, carved beards or even added hair or eyebrows. These masks are testimony to a magical world that alludes to the presence of good, evil and ancient gods. The collection is a treasure rescued and assembled from private collections and is presented by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, as its fourth art exhibition from México.

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Lecture by Dr. Marion Oettinger ~ Monday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m., Ball Hall 127

Dancing Faces: Mexican Masks in Cultural Context

Dr. Marion Oettinger Jr. is a cultural anthropologist specializing in Latin America.  With the San Antonio Museum of Art since 1985, Oettinger continues to serve as curator of the Latin American Art collection. Between 1996 and 1998, he was project director for the installation of the museum's Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art, the most comprehensive treatment of Latin American art in the United States. Oettinger has lived and worked in various parts of the Latin world for more than 25 years, conducting research in Mexico, Central and South America, Spain and countries of the Caribbean. His current research deals with maritime votive art from Europe and the Americas. He also continues his research on Spanish folk art and its transformation in the Americas.

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