""Upside Down: Arctic Realities" is an ambitious project that presents rare and significant artifacts from the arctic region. These works, from ancient periods, ranging from 1000 BC to 1400 AD, and from major sites, including Ekven in Russia, Ipiutak in Alaska, and Old Bering Sea cultures, explore the relationship of the aesthetics of native cultures to their remote environment. Selected from international private and public collections, the objects illustrate the culture's sensory perceptions of the landscape, spiritual and physical orientations, and perspectives on the living and imagined universe. As there is no formal distinction between utilitarian and decorative objects in Eskimo art, this show is comprised of a range of works, including everyday objects, amulets, masks, and funerary offerings. In addition, there will be a selection of ceremonial masks from the modern Yup'ik, dating from the 19th century, that represent the persistence of ancient traditions in modern times. This exhibition is based on the ground-breaking scholarship of Dr. Edmund Carpenter who, in the 1973 publication, Eskimo Realities, distinguished Eskimo concepts of art from those of the West. He showed that Eskimo concepts of art are rooted in the creative process itself, focusing on the interaction between artist and material more than the finished product as such."--from Menil Foundation (exhibition).
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