If your worldview is colored by a history of the world centered on the Christian religion, or on our European roots, or if it is only U.S.-centric, this current exhibition at PEM will open your eyes to a completely different culture, and a different view of creation. It really makes you think, consider and wonder.
I just received this great bit of news from our friends in Public Relations at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), and asked if it would be okay to share it with you, fair blog reader. The answer was a resounding "Yes!" so here it is.
The media have been diving into the Fiery Pool including The New York Times, which has honored us with an unprecedented 2 mentions in a single weekend. In Friday's Arts section, Eve Kahn wrote a very thoughtful column based on a lively interview with our own Dan Finamore, complete with a very large and wonderful image of our favorite spiny lobster.
Holland Cotter made our hearts quicken with a very supportive, lively write-up of the exhibition (plus image) on the first page of this Sunday's Arts section -- read by potentially 1.6 million people. (The weekday issues are read by closer to a million). Here it is, sans image:
The Week Ahead March 28 -- April 3
Art /Holland Cotter
Despite, or maybe because of, its hallucinatory religious imagery, pre-Columbian art seldom gets the full-dress museum treatment it deserves. But when it does, the results are unforgettably dramatic, as will undoubtedly be the case in “FIERY POOL: THE MAYA AND THE MYTHIC SEA,” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.
The exhibition of 90 objects is based on the idea that the Maya, although they built cities across Mexico and Central America between A.D. 300 and 900, were a less thoroughly land-based civilization than once thought. It was only in the late 1980s — after the sign for “sea” was deciphered in the Maya writing system — that the importance of aquatic references in the culture’s literature and art became apparent.
This show traces it in images that in one way or another refer to a foundation myth that envisions the cosmos as composed of sea, sky and land in a continual process of interaction. In this view the Yucatán Peninsula is a great turtle swimming in a “fiery pool” formed by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Maya rulers appear seated on waterlily thrones. The world is populated by mythical fish, frogs and birds, and frogs that move back and forth between natural elements. Whatever the meanings of these images, their imaginative realization by Maya artists is instantly gripping. And what better place to see them than in a New England port town and in a museum whose 18th-century founding history is intimately tied to the sea? Through July 18, East India Square, Salem, Mass., (866) 745-1876, pem.org
Locally speaking, two excellent placements among those resulting from our press preview last week. A stunning layout in MetroWest Daily News and a great win for Whitney in The Weekly Dig, a publication we have long been trying to woo.
Rainy regards from Chaak's minions,
Your PR Team