art of the ancient americas

Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas:
The John Bourne Collection Gift

The Walters Art Museum presents Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift an exhibition of 135 artworks from cultures that rose and fell in Mexico, Central America and Andean South America from 1200 BCE–1530 CE. Drawn from the collection of John Bourne recently gifted to the Walters, this exhibition, on view February 12–May 20, 2012, expresses each culture’s distinctive aesthetics, worldview and spiritual ideologies.

Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas touches on the performative nature of politics and religion—performance being a key mechanism for strengthening bonds of community and religious belief. The exhibition features the imaginative musical instruments used during these events and emotive portrayals of performers—from kings to commoners.

This exhibition features selections from collector John Bourne, who was among the initial explorers to probe deep into the hilly jungles of southern Mexico. Bourne was among the first Westerners to visit Bonampak, the now famous Maya site. Bourne became enamored of the creative expressiveness of the Maya—and of all peoples of the ancient Americas— perceiving the works as equal to any artistic tradition in the world.

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