New World Wunderkammer: A Project by Amalia Mesa-Bains

October 13, 2013–February 2, 2014

Chicana artist Amalia Mesa-Bains is working with the Fowler Museum's collections to create New World Wunderkammer, which will include three “cabinets of curiosity” representing Africa, the indigenous Americas, and the complex cultural and racial mixture (Colonial mestizaje) that typifies the New World. Over two decades, Mesa-Bains has created installations that intervene in and disrupt the conceptual foundations of European museum collecting and display. New World Wunderkammer is the first time she has utilized the holdings of a major museum to recontextualize hundreds of objects within the themes of memory, struggle, loss, and wonder. Following both a personal and professional trajectory, Mesa-Bains will weave elements from her previous installations into this work. The space will be completed by eight new prints made by the artist based on key pieces from the Fowler collection; images of artifacts will be layered with botanical, cartographic, and historical photographic references. This theater of wonder will animate the cultural landscape and human geography of the New World through objects of beauty and narratives of power.

 

Selected objects from the exhibition:

Standing male figure, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit, Mexico, 100 B.C.E. - 250 C.E., Ceramic, Fowler Museum at UCLA. X2012.15.20a
Standing female figure, Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit, Mexico, 100 B.C.E. - 250 C.E., Ceramic, Fowler Museum at UCLA. X2012.15.20b

 

A Fowler at Fifty exhibition

Installation photography by Joshua White/JWPictures.com

PRESS RELEASE