Houston, TX

The Menil Collection to display Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes

Jackson Cutler

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Pierre Verger/The Menil Colection, Houston
HOUSTON, TX — Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes will be on display at The Menil Collection from July 30 to November 14, 2021.

The exhibition will include pieces from the museum’s collection and loans from the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

More than forty objects from various periods in Andean history will be on display, including polychrome ceramic vessels from the Nazca culture (ca. 100 BCE–800 CE), important textiles from the Wari (ca. 600–1000 CE) and Chim (ca. 1150–1450) civilizations, and 20th–21st century examples of elaborately embroidered esclavinas (short capes) and monteras (hats) worn during religious festivals.

A selection of gelatin silver photographic prints by Pierre Verger, also known as Fátmb (1902–1996), complements these objects. Verger’s photographs of Andean religious festivals, taken between 1939 and 1945, highlight the costumes, dances, and dramatic moments of these annual events.

Rebecca Rabinow, Director of the Menil Collection, said, “Photographer Pierre Verger’s travels through the Andes in the 1940s were made possible, in part, thanks to the financial support of John and Dominique de Menil. The two portfolios of gelatin silver prints that he gave the couple at the time have never before been exhibited, which prompted Menil Curator of Collections Paul R. Davis to study the photographs along with related material in the collection.”

Paul R. Davis, Curator of Collections, said, “This project led me to explore the museum’s permanent collection of Andean art more deeply and how it connects to the Menil’s rich institutional history.”

He added, “After meeting Verger by chance in 1941 while visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina, John and Dominique de Menil formed relationships with some of the leading scholars on the Andes and assembled a unique collection of objects from that area. The Menil is pleased to share these artworks in Enchanted, accompanied by a robust online publication.”

Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Andes will be accompanied by an online publication that will include multimedia features and essays by Paul R. Davis, Curator of Collections at the Menil Collection, among others.

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