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Announcement
October 22, 2021

Mary Miller presents Art is in the Making: The Making of Maya Art

OCAT Institute

Mary Miller. Courtesy of Yale University.

At the time of the Spanish invasion of Mexico in 1519, there was, as there was in every part of the Americas, a complete worldview that developed in isolation from Europe, Asia, and Africa, and which manifested itself in both material and immaterial culture. Today, this worldview can be explored through the art and architecture of that Pre-Hispanic past, revealing one of the world’s great creative traditions. This series of lectures will examine some of the ways to engage with both the meaning and the aesthetics of the ancient Americas through such vehicles as: indigenous writing systems that, once deciphered, brought new voices and histories to the fore; archaeology, which continuously brings new materials and, with them, new aspects and understandings of the past to the surface; and iconography, which has revealed religious meanings and patterns of belief suppressed by European “discovery” and “conquest.”

In her three lectures, Professor Miller will focus on the Pre-Hispanic past in the greater Maya region, which encompasses five modern nations: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, northern El Salvador, and southern Mexico. Her particular geographic focus will be in southern Mexico (the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatan), and the Peten of Guatemala. Starting with the materials and the technology that made representation possible, she will then turn to the art-making practices of the 8th century Maya, considering both innovation and stasis as important manifestations of creative expression. Finally, she will consider the conditions that have brought Pre-Hispanic art to the art museum and art market of the 20th and 21st centuries, with thoughts about how this may develop in the future.

Lecture one: October 29, 9:30am–12:30pm (GMT+8)
The Maya World: Discovering Materials, Dominating Materiality
Respondent: Li Xinwei
Zoom ID: 860 7906 9948; Passcode: 555555

Lecture two: October 30, 9:30am–12:30pm (GMT+8)
Maya Art: How Art Changes, and How it Stays the Same
Respondent: Wang Haicheng
Zoom ID: 829 1361 1475; Passcode: 666666

Lecture three: October 31, 9:30am–12:30pm (GMT+8)
Maya Art in Modern Times
Respondent: Xu Jian
Zoom ID: 817 1803 1681; Passcode: 123456

About Mary Miller
Mary Miller, Sterling Professor Emeritus, Yale University, is Director of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California. A specialist of the art of the ancient Americas, Mary Miller has been recognized for both her scholarly contributions and her curatorial expertise. She co-curated the landmark and award-winning exhibition The Blood of Kings (1986, with Linda Schele) at the Kimbell Art Museum, and led The Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya (1994) at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Among her books are The Murals of Bonampak (1986), The Art of Mesoamerica (1986, now in its 6th edition), The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya (1993, with Karl Taube), Maya Art and Architecture (1999, now in a new edition with Megan O’Neil), Painting a Map of Mexico City (2012, edited with Barbara Mundy), and The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak (2013, with Claudia Brittenham).

For her work on ancient Mexico and the Maya, Dr. Miller has won national recognition, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1988, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996. In 1994, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has delivered numerous named lectureships, including the Fifty-Ninth A. W. Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery of Art in 2010, the Slade Lectures at Cambridge University in 2015, and the Tatiana Proskouriakoff Award Lecture at Harvard University in 2021. In late 2021, she will deliver the OCAT lectures in Beijing.

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