A Contested Visions Travelogue

November 3, 2011

Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World opens to the public this weekend. Right now, we are busy installing it in the Resnick Pavilion before it opens to members only tomorrow. The objects are exquisite, and many are newly-restored and exhibited here for the first time. Over the course of preparing the exhibition, the curatorial team traveled to Mexico and Peru—the two areas of focus of the show—to select the artworks. The traveling was intense, taking weeks at a time and involving long treks at the high altitudes of the Andes (sometimes reaching 13,420 feet!), among other places.


Kaye Spilker, Ilona Katzew and Sofía Sanabrais pose before the Inca site of Sacsayhuamán, just outside of Cuzco. Sacsayhuamán is a terraced and walled complex that overlooks the city of Cuzco.

The great benefit of traveling to these locations is that it turned an abstract concept (an exhibition) into much more by allowing us to get a sense of those places and make connections that could only happen while on the ground.


The town of Chinchero, the Inca village in the province of Urubamba, twenty miles northwest of Cuzco, is renowned for its weaving traditions. Several people from a weaving cooperative remove yarn from a vat of red-colored dye.


This photograph was taken in the middle of a procession in the streets of Cuzco in 2008.

We’ve put together a slideshow of our journey. It includes our visit to Ollayntamabo, an astounding Inca archaeological site in the province of Urubamba in the Cuzco region; the town of Chinchero (also in Urubamba), renowned for its weaving traditions; the venerable city of Potosí in Bolivia (once part of the viceroyalty of Peru), with its impressive view of the “Cerro Rico” or Rich Mountain of Potosí, which contained the richest silver deposit in the world during colonial times, and the enchanting pilgrimage site of Chalma in the state of Mexico, famous for its healing waters and miraculous image of Christ.

We hope you’ll enjoy these images, and the exhibition.

Ilona Katzew, curator and department head, Latin American Art