Guatemalan Masks

308 Charles E. Yound Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90095
Apr 06, 6 PM - 9 PM — ends Oct 06, 2019
Private member preview and cocktail reception in the Davis Courtyard.
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Exhibition curator Patrick A. Polk introduces the masks on view in the context of Guatemalan masquerade traditions, offering insights into how these performances communicate regional identities, religious heritage, and popular history. Utilizing field photos from the Pieper Collection, Polk will discuss the making and wearing of these expressive painted wooden masks. Fowler members priority seating at 5:45pm.

Preview the exhibition and enjoy cocktails in the Davis Courtyard. Enjoy a live performance by Marimba Chapincita and a traditional Guatemalan dance by Brinco del Chinelo Amigos por Siempre on the Fowler Terrace.

Guatemalan Masks: Selections from the Jim and Jeanne Pieper Collection
April 7–October 6, 2019

This exhibition features eighty masks depicting animals, folk personae, and historical figures that are deeply rooted in Guatemalan religiosity and popular culture. Throughout the country, people perform spectacular masquerades during Indigenous festivals, Catholic feast days, and secular events. They are frequently sponsored by religious brotherhoods known as cofradías. These public dance-dramas are jubilant expressions of devotion and community identity. Many are highly choreographed performances that may date back to at least the colonial era.

The masks in this exhibit have all been used, often repainted and repaired, for generations. Also included in the exhibition are examples of time-worn handwritten scripts that guide the performers as well as photographs of dances taken by Jim and Jeanne Pieper during research trips. The masks, scripts, and images bring to life mythological, legendary, and archetypal characters that integrate Indigenous, colonial Spanish, and post-colonial Guatemalan themes.

Guatemalan Masks: Selections from the Jim and Jeanne Pieper Collection is organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA and curated by Patrick A. Polk, Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Popular Arts. The exhibition is generously supported by a gift from the Pieper Family with additional funding from the Donald Bush Cordry Memorial Fund and the George R. and Nancy L. Ellis Endowment.

All works on view are part of the Jim and Jeanne Pieper Collection, a promised gift to the Fowler Museum at UCLA.


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