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Decoding Mimbres Painting
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About the Author

TONY BERLANT is an artist and a founding member of the Mimbres Foundation, a Los Angeles-based conservancy dedicated to protecting vulnerable Mimbres sites. EVAN MAURER is Director Emeritus of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. JULIA BURTENSHAW is Assistant Curator in the Art of the Ancient Americas Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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"Centuries ago, Native American people in the Mimbres Valley of New Mexico produced fantastic pottery painted with human and animal forms and what appear to be geometric patterns. For a 2018 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the artist Tony Berlant and the art historian Evan Maurer, took a long, imaginative look at these patterns and concluded that they aren't abstract at all. They depict real things: hallucinogenic flowering plants and a species of moth known to pollinate them. Suddenly, a ritual-intensive culture comes to life, and a trippy art is trippier than we ever guessed. The curatorial sleuth work, illustrated with fabulous Mimbres bowls, is detailed in the show's magical catalog." -The New York Times

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