El Pilar House

Teaching Exhibition: Pre-Columbian Arts of the Americas

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 8:00am to Thu, 09/20/2018 - 5:00pm
Art & Architecture Collection

On view at the UCSB Library in collaboration with UCSB’s Art, Design, & Architecture (AD&A) Museum and the UCSB MesoAmerican Research Center (MARC), the UCSB Library is pleased to present this exhibition as part of MARC's outreach to expand the knowledge of the Arts of Pre-Columbian America.  The objects displayed here include household belongings of modern Santa Barbara and ancient Maya emphasizing home economy.  Cooking and serving will feature modern examples of sauce pan, spoon, and drinking cup of 3 idealized contemporary houses of Isla Vista, Santa Barbara, and Montecito. These will be contrasted with Pre-Columbian vessels for cooking and serving. The objects selected from the AD&A storage collections and the El Pilar collections of MARC will serve as the basis of an outreach exhibit to expose students to research opportunities in MARC and skills in:

  • Close observation of whole and fragmented household belongings of the present and past that are clues to how archaeologists interpret storage, cooking, and eating (examined as the original not reproduction).
  • The objective language of visual culture. We want to compare idealized contemporary Santa Barbara household belongings (Isla Vista, Santa Barbara, and Montecito) with ancient Maya household belongings focused on cooking and serving.
  • Communicating the nature of basic household economy common for ourselves and the Maya.
  • Understanding household belongings by comparing saucepans from idealize student apt, SB home, and Montecito mansion with pre-Columbian artifacts of a bowl, jar, plate, vase that serve similar functions (a Peruvian jar, a Maya rattle bowl and plate tripod, a Teotihuacan vase, associated with fragmented ceramic sherds of jars, bowls, plates, and vases recovered from the Maya archaeological site El Pilar.
  • Using visual evidence to support the theme of common ground showing cooking and serving are found everywhere.
  • Researching a topic using Library resources

This exhibition, co-curated by Johanna Najera, undergraduate in Art History and Anthropology, and Anabel Ford, Director of the Meso American Research Center, challenges viewers to imagine household economies as fundamental building blocks in society and our daily life. This is common for ourselves and within the context of the ancient Maya. Despite the size of houses, simplicity of household objects, and number of possessions all households must store, cook, and eat. Viewers will compare contemporary and Maya cooking and serving vessels with respect to the vessels adornment, form, and size and implication of their possible function. Viewers can consider the form, iconography, and function of a chosen object within its cultural context. They can explore the object’s pertinent formal elements (e.g., material, size, color) in conjunction with iconography (subject matter) as the basis for interpreting the object’s meaning and function.

The AD&A Museum provides intimate access to art through rotating installations of its permanent collections, special exhibitions, and educational programs and is committed to the development of critical thinking and visual literacy, and a resource for the wider Santa Barbara community.