It takes a moment for the eye to settle on the star of the show: a Tupinamba feather cape. Originated in Brazil from the 17th century, it is over 70” high and 59” wide. The entire piece is made of feathers and nothing else. The cape is quill woven together to produce this object of art. “It’s astonishing!” beckons Catherine Hess, Interim Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington, who invited the Fellows from Robinson Gardens to a special curator-led tour on October 24th, 2017.
“Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin” illustrates the natural world, and how it played a pivotal role in shaping how people on both sides of the Atlantic understood and approached the region we now know as Latin America. The six foot feathered cape is deserving of special observation. The entire exhibition is grounded in 3 areas: science, art and nature.
Letters from Columbus declaring “You will not believe your eyes” are alongside a map from 1502,10 years after Columbus’ writing. The map depicts the New World through navigation. Also in this Rewriting the Book of Nature Gallery is the First Manuscript of Municipal Herbs by Florentine Codex. It was the occupants of the New World and their desire to learn that encouraged their interest in herbs.
Next is the Value of Nature Gallery with ordinary items including tobacco and chocolate and their uses for food and painting materials. In the third gallery, The Collections: From Wonder to Order are made available for viewing in the wonder cabinets which is a collection of artist drawings from their travels far and wide, documenting botanicals, people and many still life paintings. The final gallery is a wonderful grouping, showcasing The New Landscapes.
Ask Angelenos to point out the greatest museum collection and chances are they will list in their top three, The Huntington Gardens. These days, it isn’t the landscaping that is drawing the crowds there, but the current Pacific Standard Time: Latin American & Latino Art in LA or also known at LA/LA. “Visual Voyages” is in the Boone Building at The Huntington.
There are over 70+ LA/LA exhibitions across Southern California. The Pacific Standard Time exhibitions are the second installment following the initial collaboration of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A.1945-1980. The shows began in October 2011 and ran until April 2012 in more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California – coming together for the first time to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene. It was an enormous success and deemed as “One era. A million moments of impact.”
Explore the Huntington, but make sure to examine the many related programs offered both in the Botanical Gardens and The Huntington Art Galleries related to the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, running through January 8, 2018. It is a place to be enjoyed and provides a glimpse of the past and a voyage through science, art and nature.
This remarkable exhibition, enjoyed thoroughly by the group, was then followed by a delicious three-course lunch at the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena. Many thanks to Jeanne Anderson who organized this exceptional day.
Post by Wendy Wintrob
Photos by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens members