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Brooklyn Museum presents new installation of Masterpieces of Arts of the Americas Collection
Tlingit artist Necklace with charms from Alaska is on display at the "Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas" exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum February 28, 2013 in New York. Themes of life, death, fertility, and regeneration are explored through pre-Columbian and historical artworks, including many pieces that are rarely on display. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT.
BROOKLYN, NY.- Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas presents one hundred and two masterpieces from the Arts of the Americas permanent collection that exemplify the concept of transformation as part of the religious beliefs and social practices of the region’s indigenous peoples. Themes of life, death, fertility, regeneration, and spiritual transformation are explored through pre-Columbian and historical artworks—including twenty-one objects that have not been on public view for decades or have never been exhibited. This long-term installation, which is on display in the Museum’s recently re-opened galleries on the fifth floor adjacent to American Identities.

Highlights include the Huastec Life-Death Figure, a carved stone statue that juxtaposes images of life and death and is one of the finest of its kind; the Kwakwaka’wakw Thunderbird Transformation Mask, a carved wood mask in the form of an ancestral being that opens to reveal a second, human face; and two eightfoot-tall, carved nineteenth-century Heiltsuk house posts made to support the huge beams of a great Northwest Coast plank house. Other featured objects include examples from the extensive Hopi and Zuni kachina collection; masks from all over the Americas; Aztec and Maya sculptures; pre-Columbian gold ornaments; and ancient Andean textiles including the two-thousand-year-old Paracas Textile, the most famous piece in the Museum’s Andean collection, which illustrates the way in which early cultures of Peru’s South Coast envisioned their relationship with nature and the supernatural realm.

Among the objects that have rarely been on public view are a full-body bark-cloth mask made by the Pami’wa of Colombia and Brazil; a Paracas painted textile mask that was most likely associated with a mummy bundle; a Northwest Coast Kwakwaka’wakw Wild Man Mask by John Livingston; a Maya effigy vessel in the form of a hunchback wearing a jaguar skin; a large, elaborately-painted Paracas jar; a Maya warrior figure with removable headdress; two contemporary kachinas by the Hopi carver Henry Shelton; Anasazi and Valdivia clay figurines, the oldest types found in North and South America; Paracas textile fragments from South America; an aquamarine grasshopper pendant from Mexico; ceramic bird whistles from Costa Rica and Panama; Moche stirrup–spout vessels from Peru; and a large, woven Apache basket with spirit figures.

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March 4, 2013

Brooklyn Museum presents new installation of Masterpieces of Arts of the Americas Collection

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