Exhibitions

Celebrating the American Scene: Painters of the Federal Art Program

October 16, 2014
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February 8, 2014 — January 11, 2015

The paintings and watercolors in this exhibition were commissioned by the Federal Arts Project (1935—1943), a sector of the Works Progress Administration that promoted the creation of hundreds of thousands of works of art around the country for display in schools, libraries, and other public buildings.  This collection of works, on loan from U.S. General Services Administration, portrays the growing urbanization of American rural landscape and its people from the beginnings of the Depression into World War II.

European Paintings from the Permanent Collection and Important Loans

October 16, 2014
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February 8, 2014 — February 8, 2015

This exhibition is comprised of a selection of European landscapes, portraits and religious images, from the Baroque and Renaissance periods. The paintings come from the permanent collection and loans from Thomas D. Dossett and Associates and The Lauro Collection.  Works by Titian, Diego Velázquez, and Luca Giordano are among the important artists on view.

 

Kabuki Theater Woodcuts

October 14, 2014
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April 29, 2014 — February 8, 2015

Kabuki (its name comprised of the Kanji characters for “sing”, “dance”, and “skill”) is a form of Japanese theatre known for its elaborate costumes, striking makeup, and intricate choreography. The ancient celebration of the beautiful and the bizarre is immortalized in this exhibition of Kabuki theatre woodcuts from the permanent collection.

Jacques Callot Studies from the Permanent Collection

October 14, 2014
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April 29, 2014 — February 8, 2015

This collection of etchings, by the 17th-century French printmaker Jacques Callot, represents a significant acquisition for the Museum.  A variety of series that Callot completed over his career are on view, including a pristine impression of one of his best-known works, the etching of Saint Amond. Shown in the Herman Print Study Room, the viewer will have a chance to explore the provenance, or history of ownership, of the works on view.

21st Century Diplomacy: Ballet, Ballots and Bullets

October 13, 2014
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Guest curated by Kathryn H. Floyd, visiting instructor at the College of William & Mary, 21st Century Diplomacy featured more than four dozen images of culture, politics and war captured by photographers affiliated with the global affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier as well as William & Mary students.  Through this multi-national collaborative effort, photographers shared their experiences in witnessing narratives that help to shape political, financial, and humanitarian decisions worldwide.

Click here for the Press Release.

 

Curators At Work IV

October 13, 2014
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This is the fourth installment of our Curators at Work exhibition series.  The exhibition which runs from April 19, 2014 — May 18, 2014, will focus on new acquisitions to the permanent collection.  As in past years, this show will be curated by the Muscarelle’s own Assistant Director & Chief Curator Dr. John T. Spike and his students of his Curating, Collecting and Connoisseurship course at the College.

Caravaggio Connoisseurship: Saint Francis in Meditation and the Capitoline Fortune Teller

October 13, 2014
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February 8 to April 6, 2014, visitors coming to the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary will have a rare opportunity to view three famous paintings by, or attributed to, Caravaggio and take sides in an intense debate among the world’s leading authorities on Italian paintings. Two nearly identical versions of Caravaggio’s Saint Francis in Meditation have left experts divided. Despite years of debate, experts are in disagreement as to which one of these two beautiful paintings was created first and by whom. Which one is the original? Could they both be by the great Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio? The two paintings on special loan from Rome’s Capuchin church and from the town of Carpineto Romano will be shown side by side, affording a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Williamsburg audience to compare them. The exhibition will be completed by another of Caravaggio’s best-known compositions, the Fortune Teller, on loan from the Pinacoteca Capitoline in Rome. Although disputed by the experts until as recently as 1985, this painting is now recognized as a milestone in Caravaggio’s representation of daily life, not to mention a characteristic example of his style shortly after his arrival in Rome in the early 1590s.

Click here for the Press Release.

Glenn Close: A Life In Costume

October 13, 2014
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The Muscarelle Museum of Art will host Glenn Close: A Life in Costume, featuring selections from Close’s personal costume collection.  It consists of ensembles worn by some of the most iconic characters from Close’s career in film, theatre and television, including Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard), Albert Nobbs, Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction), Cruella De Vil (101 and 102 Dalmatians) and Patty Hewes (Damages).  The exhibition will open on September 29, 2013 and run through January 12, 2014.  In conjunction with the exhibition and the 2013 William & Mary Arts & Entertainment Festival, Close and her biotech entrepreneur husband, David Shaw, will receive the William & Mary 2013 Cheek Medal Award for their contributions to the arts.

Click here for the Press Release.

In Tandem: Established and Emerging Contemporary Artists from the Permanent Collection

October 13, 2014
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More than twenty contemporary artists will be represented in the upcoming exhibition In Tandem: Established and Emerging Contemporary Artists from the Permanent Collection, September 29, 2013 — January 12, 2014. This multi- generational show includes works from the 1950s until the present by leading and emergent artists working in a variety of media and styles. Iconic works by established artists such as Chuck Close, David Hockney and Betye Saar will be showcased in tandem with up-and-coming artists Ángel Rámiro Sanchez, Steve Prince and Johnston Foster. Diverse approaches to contemporary culture, created by a cadre of multi-cultural artists, demonstrate the plurality of vision among living and modern artists in the Museum’s permanent collection.

Curators At Work III: Recent Acquisitions

October 13, 2014
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Curators at Work III: New Acquisitions, on view April 26 to May 26, 2013, will display a number of masterpieces that have been newly acquired for the permanent collection. The show will span seven consecutive centuries of art and a variety of media. These works are not featured merely for their significance to the art community at-large, rather these works were carefully selected to highlight the most significant philosophy underlying the operation and acquisitions of the Museum — the Museum’s role as a learning laboratory for the entire College of William & Mary. The director and chief curator target works for acquisition that will invigorate intellectual life at the College.  The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue of 43 memoranda written by students in Dr. Spike’s class Curating, Collecting and Connoisseurship. These memoranda demonstrate the Museum’s integral role in the intellectual life of the College by demonstrating the student’s academic and personal growth through working with these works of art first-hand.

Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane

October 13, 2014
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Organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane Masterpiece Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti will open February 9 and be on view through April 14, 2013.  This landmark exhibition is being organized in honor of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Muscarelle Museum of Art in 1983. Sacred and Profane follows on the success of Michelangelo: Anatomy as Architecture, Drawings by the Master held at the Muscarelle in 2010. The purpose of the new exhibition, with its unprecedented “sacred and profane” theme, is to investigate the artist’s innermost philosophy as revealed in his original, often astonishingly beautiful, drawings.  Following the exhibition at the College, the works will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where it opens on April 21 and closes on June 30, 2013.  The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated, catalogue produced by the Muscarelle Museum of Art with essays by Pina Ragionieri, John T. Spike, Aaron De Groft and Adriano Marinazzo.

Click here for the Press Release.

Faculty Show 12

October 13, 2014
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Works of the teaching studio art faculty including visiting instructors and emeriti professors of The College of William & Mary will be featured in an exhibition at the Muscarelle Museum of Art from October 27, 2012 through January 6, 2013. The College was the first American university to create a department of fine arts and the Muscarelle was the first accredited university museum in the Commonwealth. This exhibition, a long-standing collaboration between the two departments, will showcase representations of each artist’s current studio works. Faculty Show 12 will highlight the diverse talents of the William & Mary faculty in multiple media including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and installation.

Athenian Potters and Painters: Greek Vases from Virginia Collections

October 13, 2014
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August 18, 2012 – October 7, 2012

The vases in this exhibition, from Virginia collections, were selected to display not only a variety of subjects and shapes, but also the principal techniques used to decorate them. Arranged in an approximate chronology, starting with prehistoric pottery and ending with high classical-era red-figure pottery, Athenian Potters and Painters was organized in connection with the international conference Athenian Potters and Painters III.  The labels and wall texts were written by the students of Professor John Oakley in the Department of Classical Studies at the College of William & Mary.

William D. Barnes Three Decades of Still Life and Landscape

October 13, 2014
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The Muscarelle Museum of Art is pleased to present William D. Barnes: Three Decades of Still Life and Landscape, an exhibition of paintings and monotypes by Professor William Barnes – on view from April 14 to June 24, 2012. Barnes is retiring from the Department of Art and Art History at the College of William & Mary after thirty-seven years of dedicated teaching and mentoring students in the field of painting. The first major retrospective of this distinguished painter’s career,  the exhibition includes more than fifty paintings and fifty monotypes from a span of thirty years. In honor of the occasion, a catalogue designed by Linda Carey with introduction by Dr. Aaron De Groft has been published containing essays by Barnes and fellow painters and critics Scott Noel and John Goodrich.

Curators At Work II: Memoranda for the Curatorial Files

October 13, 2014
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Curators at Work II presents a new and enlarged version of Curators at Work: 16 Memoranda for the Curatorial Files, a small show in the spring of 2011 that received a popular response. A year ago, many visitors were delighted by the opportunity to discover that the Muscarelle owns original works of art by modern art luminaries like Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Man Ray, and Marino Marini. This year’s edition combines the fruits of the research by the students of two semesters of the Museum’s seminar, Curating, Collecting & Connoisseurship [ARTH 330-01 & ARTH 330-06]. On view in the Sheridan Gallery visitors will find treasures from the permanent collection and loans have been displayed with wall labels prepared by the students. A constellation of art world stars are out on view; Daumier, Rembrandt, Corot, Hockney, Franz Marc, and Robert Motherwell. This year the show has attracted national attention for the special addition of a rediscovered painting of St. Francis by El Greco, generously lent by Mrs. Camilla Blaffer (read more here).

Writ In Gold: Medieval Treasures In Honor of Dr. Barbara Watkinson

October 13, 2014
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A mysterious gold Merovingian ring dating from the onset of the middle ages, ca. 400 to 600, is among the medieval treasures included in , a special loan exhibition In honor of the retirement of medievalist Professor Barbara Watkinson. The ring’s diamond shaped bezel is inset with blue and green glass and set off by a cabochon garnet on all four corners (lent by the Kathleen Durdin collection). The Merovingian kings in Gaul were suppressed by Charlemagne, but their fame as a ‘realm of the rings’ survives even today in legends and literature. Guest curated by William and Mary senior Laura Conte, showcases the brilliance of almost 1500 years of western European craftsmanship. Most of the twenty pieces in the exhibition have been generously lent to the Muscarelle from the outstanding collections of the John and Mable Ringling Museum and by several private collectors. Western European liturgical objects, including an accumulation of gilt and illustrated leaves from medieval collections of antiphonals, known as ‘call and response’ chant books. Two leaves from an early Renaissance Book of Hours open a window onto the courtly life in Paris in the 1400’s. Executed by a skilled painter close to the esteemed Coetivy Master, these gilt and hand-painted vellum pages are illuminated with images of dancing devils and virtuous angels surrounded by glorious carpets of ornate filigree and foliage (lent by the Ronald R. McCarty collection). In praise of this beautiful show of rarities, Dr. Aaron De Groft, Muscarelle Director, said, “Imagine how the gold on the pages of an illuminated manuscript or the prayers in a Book of Hours shimmered and danced in the candlelight of a pre-electric age, helping worshipers to feel the presence of the divine.” The Muscarelle Museum of Art is located on Jamestown Road on the campus of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Museum is closed on Mondays. Docent tours are available at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sundays, and other times as announced. Admission to the Museum for this exhibition is $15.00. Admission is free for Museum members, The College of William & Mary faculty, staff, and students, and children under twelve. For more information about this exhibit or the Museum in general, please call 757-221-2700 or visit www.wm.edu/muscarelle.

Eight Endangered Species

October 13, 2014
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Contemporary artist Kay Jackson portrays Eight Endangered Species using ancient techniques and creative variations on traditional frames. Since the 1990s, Kay Jackson has been quietly paying her respects to disappearing flora and fauna by making icons, one for every species. Their meticulously worked surfaces and gilt carved frames recall the sacred relics of early art. Her works evoke the irony of our readiness to lament environmental damage and our inaction to prevent.

Each of the Endangered Species panels, now more than thirty five in all, requires months to produce. Their delicately incised and gilt surfaces are layered and worked with techniques long out of common use. Jackson deliberately employs craftsmanship skills that have practically disappeared in order to pay homage to living creatures that are disappearing. The eight threatened species in the Muscarelle installation are the Figian Banded Iguana, American Buffalo, Crayfish, Grévy’s Zebra (illustrated), Salmon, Sea Horse, Red Crown Crane, and Spotted Owl. The works will be installed in a darkened gallery in order to display the reflective luminosity of the gilt surfaces.

FRAMES The Forgotten Art

October 13, 2014
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Guest curated by renowned master framer and gilder, William B. Adair, Frames: The Forgotten Art presents a globe-trotting selection of American and European hand-carved frames covering a span of more than five hundred years.

The seventeenth-century framers of the Dutch Old Masters preferred dark woods and strong geometric patterns. The grand paintings made for English country houses and Italian baroque churches required magnificent examples of the carver’s and gilder’s art.

One of the masterpieces in the exhibition is a towering baroque mirror frame with sculpted figures of gamboling putti on all four sides. This work, which once adorned the entrance hall of an Italian palazzo, has been lent to the show by the famous author and Virginia resident, Mark Helprin.

Before the plain white molding was invented, modern artists delighted in designing their own frames for their own paintings. Frames: The Forgotten Art contains three original frames designed especially for distinctive work of famous artists: the German Franz Stuck, Diego Rivera, and Thomas Hart Benton.

to learn more about Adair’s work and collection visit Gold Leaf Studios

GRAND HALLUCINATION

October 13, 2014
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Imagine Ding Dong Daddy, Messy Jesse and the Gulf of Sexico gone Day-Glo, side-by-side with fluorescent lithographs printed and embossed like gleaming jewels — the result is an unforgettable Sixties’ show… or, as Jerry Garcia might say, “What a long strange trip” this will be.

The Museum is warming up the chilly months with a wild ride of color, humor, and irrepressible creativity in the works of two artists newly added to the Muscarelle collection, William Walmsley (1923-2003) and Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1923-2000). Although they took different paths to artistic eminence in the Sixties, they were both trailblazers in their use of blazing colors.

The American Pop artist, Wamsley, was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1923. After serving in World War II, Wamsley studied in the Académie Julian in Paris where the Alabamian rubbed shoulders with the ghosts of the modern greats who had passed through, like Matisse, Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp.

As a professor at Florida State University, Wamsley soon made a name for his blatant irony, raucous humor, and shameless punning. He also became known as a sage of advanced printmaking and the inventor of florescent lithography. Wamsley holds the record of the longest continued series of prints in the history of art in his alter-ego titled, “Ding Dong Daddy,” creating the character in the 1960s and exploring himself until his death in 2003. Bill Wamsley said to make any art at all, is a “self-portrait.”

This new donation to the Muscarelle includes works that span the career of a genius of parody and amazing technique, with his lithographs including sometimes over ten colors. Each color is a separate pull off of the litho stone and very difficult to get right. Also shown in this exhibition is a rare set of the separation drawings done in preparation for each separate color.

Sharing center-stage are also new acquisitions of virtiouso prints by Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1923-2000), an artist once as famous as Picasso. Born half a world away from Walmsley, but at almost the same time, Hundertwasser was the most important Viennese contemporary artist of his time. His work is playful, absolutely colorful and shimmering, and based on the works of fellow Austrian Egon Shiele, Surrealism, and Hundertwasser’s concept of “transautomitism.” As the founder of the movement, he embraced the visualization of his fantasies to immerse the viewer in the experience of the painting, rather than focusing on the interpretation of reality. He also loved spirals and was very much like Gustav Klimt in his use of symbols, gold and metallic inks as he parlayed his ideas on philosophy, environmentalism, design and architecture into an unmistakable visual language. He also hated straight lines.

These two artists together are sure to blow your mind – to use a favorite expression from the period.

In Memory Still: A Kiowa Legacy

October 13, 2014
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In Memory Still: A Kiowa Legacy in Art traces the enduring artistic tradition of American Indian artists, known as the Kiowa Five, from their roots in Plains culture to their lasting influence upon contemporary Native artwork. The exhibition features the renowned 1929 portfolio titled “Kiowa Indian Art,” that received critical acclaim in Europe and the United States. Under the mentorship of University of Oklahoma professor Oscar Jacobson, the Kiowa Five were among the first Native artists to be artistically trained in a university setting. Countering pressures to assimilate into mainstream society, these artists chose to depict aspects of traditional Kiowa culture in their paintings. Although the Kiowa Five remained together for less than a decade, their work continues to influence contemporary American Indian artists. In Memory Still will be on view at the Museum September 10 – November 13, 2011.

Increased interaction with frontiersman and homesteaders during the second half of the nineteenth century led to indigenous innovations in areas, such as beadwork and silverwork. This period also marked a transformation and extension of earlier pictorial traditions, which memorialized individual deeds as well as commemorated community events. The introduction of new media of pencils and ledger books as a paper source offered a new way to memorialize key events marking the rise and development of ledger art.

The 1875 detainment of seventy-two Plains Indian prisoners of war at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida, twenty-seven of whom were Kiowa, ushered in a lasting transformation in two dimensional works on paper. The thematic content of the Fort Marion ledgers was varied. Prisoners expressed nostalgia for distant homelands, illustrated violent encounters with the U.S. Army, and documented the cultural transformations that came about due to the forces of pacification and assimilation. The sale of ledger works by Army officers at Fort Marion and by the Native POWs, marked the start of a new entrepreneurial era for Plains Indian art.

The Kiowa Five – Spencer Asah, James Auchiah, Jack Hokeah, Stephen Mopope, Monroe Tsatoke, and Lois (Louise) Smoky – inherited the ledger art tradition. Several received their earliest art instruction from former Fort Marion ledger artists, who were elders in the tribe. All six studied in a special art class at the University of Oklahoma, although only five worked together at any given time. Professor Jacobson released a portfolio of the artists’ combined work entitled “Kiowa Indian Art” at the end of their art instruction garnering the Kiowa Five international attention.

Contemporary Native artists have adopted many stylistic elements of Kiowa Five art, while also incorporating modern themes and techniques. The exhibit will feature a number of contemporary Native American artists such as Acee Blue Eagle (Creek-Pawnee-Wichita), T.C. Cannon (Kiowa-Caddo-Choctaw), Dolores Purdy (Caddo) and Thomas Poolaw (Kiowa, Delaware), who continue to draw on the Kiowa Five legacy of expressing culture through art.

Losing Todd: A Mother’s Journey (SADLER CENTER EXHIBITION)

October 13, 2014
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The Muscarelle Museum of Art solemnly hosts an exhibition of seventeen paintings capturing the journey of a mother coping with the loss of her child. On September 9, 2010, Jeanne Weaver’s son, 1Lt. Todd W. Weaver, W&M `08 was killed in action in Afghanistan. After the initial shock and sadness, when for four months she could not paint, Jeanne decided in January 2011, to pick up her brushes in honor and memory of Todd. Losing Todd: A Mother’s Journey will be on view in the Muscarelle Museum Annex at the William & Mary Sadler Center September 1 – October 23, 2011.

Jeanne began painting again because she realized the small things from Todd’s life were important and needed to be captured. As she painted the seventeen oils in this exhibition about what she recalled in the weeks after his death, Jeanne gained strength and resolve. She ventured to capture the light and emotions of the moment. Through these paintings she shares her loss, her love, and her pride in Todd as she continues her journey since that September morning. Jeanne believes sharing these paintings honors all fallen heroes and recognizes the impact on all their Gold Star families and their ultimate sacrifice.

The Muscarelle Museum of Art Annex Space is located at the Sadler Center at The College of William & Mary. The Sadler Center is open Monday – Thursday from 7:00 AM to 12:00 AM, Friday – Saturday from 7:30 AM to 2:00 AM, and Sunday 7:30 AM to 12:00 AM. Admission to this exhibition is free.

PURSUING PERFECTION HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MUSEUM COLLECTION & SELECTED LOANS

October 13, 2014
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The Muscarelle Museum of Art first opened its doors in 1983, but The College of William & Mary began acquiring art centuries earlier, in 1732, when the Third Earl of Burlington donated to The College a portrait of English physicist Sir Robert Boyle. As the fine arts were beginning to take root in the New World, The College procured works by celebrated colonial and early American portraitists, such as Rembrandt Peale, Charles Bridges and John Wollaston. During the early decades of the 20th century, other genres of painting as well as sculptures and works on paper were introduced into the collection.  Recently, several loans of American and European masterpieces from Thomas Dossett and Associates, the Owens Foundation and The Lauro Collection have given Sir Robert Boyle the pleasure of hanging near works by Titian, Robert Henri and Diego Velázquez.

Oscar Wilde quipped, “It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection.” The featured selections from the permanent collection comprise a diverse group, spanning five centuries and several cultures. But a common thread connects Titian with Hans Hofmann and the artists representing the countless styles, genres and epochs in between. Each sought to convey the perfect expression of an artistic impulse – what Robert Henri called “the art spirit.”

Originally curated by Becky Shields, Curatorial Fellow 2007-2008.

Merging Souls Arts of Devotion in Latin America

October 13, 2014
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Merging Souls: Arts of Devotion in Latin America illuminates the rich visual and material cultures of the southern regions of the Americas from the pre-Hispanic and colonial periods to the present day. Drawing together works from diverse peoples, regions, and modern nations, the exhibition testifies to the centrality of art in Latin American communities and the varied means by which the sacred is perceived and expressed.

Merging Souls explores two forms of artistic synthesis: the merging of beliefs and practices and the merging of distinct cultural traditions. The first highlights the interplay of theology and practice – sacred ideals inspire artistic creations just as material forms shape religious thoughts and expressions. The second examines the visible and invisible mixes of Amerindian, African, and European cultures. Colonization brought together peoples from a range of ethno-linguistic regions and traditions, and artistic production and celebration served as particularly potent mediums of expression. Through art, individuals and communities preserved many traditional practices and incorporated new ones, developing unique hybrid forms and customs in response to local circumstances and needs.

Organized by theme, material, locale, and time period, the objects in Merging Souls embody the ongoing dialogues between individuals, communities, and the divine that inspire artistic creation, generating new forms, contexts, and meanings. Visitors are encouraged to consider the social power structures that engendered these objects and their uses. At the same time, visitors should explore the power of art to express and to shape the variety of personal, cultural, and devotional experiences.

We would like to thank; Latin American Studies Program, American Studies Program, Department of Art and Art History, Department of Anthropology, Lyon G. Taylor Department of History, John and Scottie Austin, Professor Curtis Moyer, and Professor Susan V. Webster.

Student curators:
Katrina Christiano, Elizabeth Cook, Laurel Daen, Alix Méav Ellinw