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Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico to Open LACMA's New Resnick Exhibition Pavilion
Installation view Olmec: Colossal Masterwoks of Ancient Mexico. Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will present a major exhibition to debut its new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion. The Resnick Pavilion will open to the public in October 2010 with Olmec: Masterworks of Ancient Mexico. The inaugural exhibition will highlight the diversity of the museum’s encyclopedic collection and programming, as well as the flexibility of the Renzo Piano-designed pavilion. The new 45,000 square foot building—the cornerstone of Phase II of LACMA’s ongoing Transformation—will be the largest purpose-built, naturally lit museum space in the world. The opening exhibition will showcase this vast new space with monumental, twenty-ton ancient Olmec heads.

Olmec is the first West Coast presentation of massive works and small-scale sculptures produced by Mexico’s earliest civilization, which began around 1400 BC and was centered in the Gulf Coast states of Veracruz and Tabasco. Olmec architects and artists produced the earliest monumental structures and sculptures on the North American continent, including enormous basalt portrait heads of their rulers, which can weigh up to twenty-four tons. Small-scale jadeite objects, which embody the symbolism of sacred and secular authority among the Olmec, attest to the long-distance exchange of rare resources that existed as early as 1000 BC, and Olmec artists were unsurpassed in their ability to work this extremely hard stone with elementary tools of chert, water, and sand. The opening of Olmec will coincide with Los Angeles celebrations of the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence and the centennial of the Mexican revolution. The exhibition is co-organized by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, LACMA, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and is curated at LACMA by Virginia Fields, senior curator of Arts of the Ancient Americas.

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