Krannert Art Museum‘s major reinstallation of its pre-Hispanic Andean arts collection will center past Andean communities as active agents in the creation of their own art histories. Comprising over 700 objects, the KAM collection includes exquisite textiles, ceramics, and objects fashioned in gold, silver, wood, and shell from cultures that flourished throughout the coastal and highland regions of Peru from 1500 BCE to the Spanish colonial period.
Research and development of KAM’s Andean gallery reinstallation has been generously supported by a grant from the U of I Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Arts and Humanities. Made possible in part by a grant from the U. S. Institute of Museum and Library Services/Este proyecto ha sido posible en parte por el Instituto de Servicios de Museos y Bibliotecas de los EEUU. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom*. Major support provided by the Helen Frankenthaler Climate Initiative. Additional funding provided by the Rosann Gelvin Noel Krannert Art Museum Fund, the M. J. Carragher Memorial Fund, and an Anonymous donor.
*Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Growing out of a partnership between KAM, the U of I’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), and the Andean Archaeology research group at UIC, plans for the reinstallation and development of its conceptual framework have been highly collaborative, taking shape through a series of interdisciplinary workshops involving Andean studies colleagues from across campus, the Midwest, and in Peru. Departing from conventional museum presentations that segregate Andean objects into static silos of culture, period, and region, the new installation will reframe narratives of the Andean past by highlighting the dynamic transcultural networks of knowledge and power through which Andean artists visually animated the natural, spiritual, and political worlds.
Equally important, the presence of Andean archeological holdings in US museums requires us to engage not only the indigenous histories of these objects, but also the fraught histories of their transformation into global commodities looted from ancient burial sites. By tracing the biographies of these objects as fragments abducted from their contexts of origin, the exhibition will explicitly address the destructive histories of looting that brought these objects to KAM.
The project also seeks to be reparative by actively engaging with Peruvian colleagues and descendant communities through the co-creation of an interactive digital platform that will allow students, scholars, and communities in Peru to have remote access to the exhibition and to participate in the research and interpretation of their own cultural heritage. Presented in Spanish, Quechua and English, the platform will deepen object biographies with multimedia applications designed to bring past and present Andean voices into conversation. Offering innovative learning opportunities for campus, public schools, and the growing Latinx communities throughout central Illinois, the reinstallation will invite visitors to ask new questions about the life histories of these objects, and the ethical responsibilities of the museum as we reckon with their displacement, interpretation, and care.
Project Consultants and Collaborators
Mario Advincula, Project Director of the Vilcashuaman – La Centinela Route of the Qhapac Ñan Project
Val Arboniés Flores, Doctoral Student in School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Augusto Bazan, Director of Research for the Wiese Foundation – El Brujo Archaeological Complex
Brian Bauer, Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)
Kainen Bell, doctoral student, School of Information Sciences, UIUC
Sue Bergh, Art Historian and Curator of Pre-Columbian collection and Native North American collections, Cleveland Museum of Art
Corey Bowen, Doctoral Student in Department of Anthropology, UIC
Claudia Brosseder, Associate Professor of History, UIUC
Sofia Chalcatana, Associate Professor at the Jesuit University Antonio Ruiz de Montoya
Anita Chan, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences and Department of Media and Cinema Studies
Elizabeth Cruzado, Doctoral Candidate in Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University
Carolyn Dean, Distinguished Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz
Anna Maria Escobar, Professor of Sociolinguistics, UIUC
Eliana Gamarra Carrillo, Archeologist, Translator, and Repatriation Specialist
Andrew Hamilton, Curator of the Arts of the Americas at the Art Institute of Chicago
Carmela Alacron Ledesma, Co-Director for the Huanangue Valley Archaeology Project
Carlos Molinas-Vital, Linguist and Instructor of Quechua at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, UIUC
Andrew Orta, Professor of Anthropology, UIUC
Helaine Silverman, Professor of Anthropology, UIUC
Richard Sutter, Professor of Anthropology, Purdue University
Ashley Vance, Doctoral Student Department of Anthropology, UIC
Rosa Varillias, Doctoral Student, Department of Anthropology, UIC
Mary Weismantel, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Chair of Latin American Studies at Northwestern University
Ryan Williams, Associate Curator and Head of Anthropology, the Field Museum and UIC
Co-curated by Allyson Purpura, Senior Curator and Curator of Global African Art; and Kasia Szremski, Associate Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies