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Grant number like: FEL-257427-18

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Claudia Lozoff Brittenham
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL 60637-5418)

Research Programs

[Grant products][Prizes]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019

Unseen Art: Memory, Vision, and Power in Ancient Mesoamerica

A book analyzing the use and meaning of concealed art among the Maya, Olmec, and Aztec cultures.

My book project, Unseen Art: Memory, Vision, and Power in Ancient Mesoamerica, examines the conditions under which ancient art was viewed and experienced, focusing on practices diametrically opposed to the modern paradigm of museum display. In a series of case studies drawn from major Mesoamerican civilizations, I suggest that art could operate beyond the realm of the visual, and explore the ways in which concealed images and esoteric knowledge might be used to maintain power and social difference. Unseen art also pushes us to develop creative ways to explore ancient viewing experiences and the reception of ancient works of art. The insights gained demonstrate the value of contextualized ways of looking at all artworks.