Major Huntington Exhibition “Visual Voyages” and Array of Related Programming

September 16, 2017-January 8, 2018, San Marino, CA

Part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative,

“Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin,”

is on view in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery

A sweeping international loan exhibition at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens opens on Sept. 16, 2017 to explore how the depiction of Latin American nature contributed to art and science from the late 1400s to the mid-1800s. “Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin,” presented in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery through Jan. 8, 2018, features more than 150 paintings, rare books, illustrated manuscripts, prints, and drawings from The Huntington’s holdings as well as from dozens of other collections. Many of these works will be on view for the first time in the United States. It is complemented by a richly illustrated book, along with an array of other programs and exhibitions, including an installation created by Mexican experimental composer Guillermo Galindo. The exhibition is a part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, an exploration of Latin American and Latino art that involves more than 70 arts institutions across Southern California.

“Despite notorious depredation of people and resources during the period, the brilliant work of a number of Latin Americans and Europeans helped to illuminate our understanding of the natural world,” said Catherine Hess, chief curator of European art at The Huntington and co-curator of “Visual Voyages.” “We aim to shed light on this relatively unexamined piece of the story—to show how beautiful, surprising, and deeply captivating depictions of nature in Latin America reshaped our understanding of the region and, indeed, the world—essentially linking art and the natural sciences.”

“Visual Voyages” looks at how indigenous peoples, Europeans, Spanish Americans, and individuals of mixed-race descent depicted natural phenomena for a range of purposes and from a variety of perspectives: artistic, cultural, religious, commercial, medical, and scientific. The exhibition examines the period that falls roughly between Christopher Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 and Charles Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, a work based largely on Darwin’s own voyage to the region in the 1830s.

“Information and materials circulated at an unprecedented rate as people transformed their relationship to the natural world and to each other,” said Daniela Bleichmar, associate professor of art history and history at the University of Southern California (USC) and co-curator of the exhibition. “Images served not only as artistic objects of great beauty but also as a means of experiencing, understanding, and possessing the natural world. These depictions circulated widely and allowed viewers—then and now—to embark on their own ‘visual voyages’.”

Bleichmar, who was born in Argentina and raised in Mexico, is an expert on the history of science, art, and cultural contact in the early modern period. Her publications include the prize-winning book Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

The Huntington’s three collection areas—library, art, and botanical—all contribute to “Visual Voyages.” Its Library is one of the world’s greatest research institutions in the fields of British and American history, art, and the history of science, stretching from the 11th century to the present, and includes such treasures as the first European depiction of a pineapple and a rare 16th-century manuscript atlas that includes three stunning maps of the Americas. From The Huntington’s art holdings, Frederic Edwin Church’s monumental painting Chimborazo (1864) will be on display, depicting a Latin American landscape both real and imaginary. The Huntington’s 120 acres of gardens include several thousand plant species from Latin America, including pineapple, cacao, various orchids including vanilla, and succulents.

For more information, please visit http://huntington.org/WebAssets/Templates/content.aspx?id=24468

Posted: August 25, 2017