Arts of the Americas

Shell Mosaic Ritual Mask
Shell Mosaic Ritual Mask, AD 300/600. Teotihuacan, Mexico.

The Arts of the Americas collection presents, researches, and conserves approximately 1,750 objects from North, Central, and South America dating from 4000 BC to the 21st century. Works of particular artistic and cultural significance include a group of ritual objects from the southwestern United States, an Aztec carved monument celebrating a royal accession, ceramic sculptures from the west coast of Mexico, Late Classic Maya vessels painted with mythic and historical scenes, intricately wrought goldwork from Panama, vividly painted Nazca ceramics, Moche portrait vessels, and a wide array of Andean textiles. We aim to expand our collections of contemporary Native American and Indigenous art, colonial Latin American art, Caribbean art, and art of the Black Atlantic, among others, in order to offer more representative and inclusive histories of art in this hemisphere.

We preserve these works through careful conservation for the deeper understanding and appreciation of future generations. Our permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions make these objects available to our local, national, and international visitors so that all can learn about the important artistic and intellectual traditions of these diverse regions. We seek to build relationships with communities, traditional knowledge holders, scholars, contemporary artists and makers, and students of all ages. Arts of the Americas participates in the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative (DAMLI), the Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, the Chicago Objects Study Initiative (COSI) Fellowship Program, and teaching classes at local colleges and universities, such as the Rhoades seminar. The associate curator of arts of the Americas, Andrew Hamilton, and the staff of the department are a resource for young scholars considering museum careers and individuals of all interests. Questions may be directed to artsoftheamericas@artic.edu

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