Pre-Columbian art on display at UA museum
Photos by Tim Fuller, provided by The University of Arizona Museum of Art, Naturalistic Veracruz clay figure with minute costume and ornament detail dating from 450-950 AD.

Objects of pre-Columbian art are on display in an exhibit at The University of Arizona Museum of Art through Sunday, Feb. 8.

The exhibit “Ritual Beauty: Art of the Ancient Americas, The I. Michael Kasser Collection” includes 170 pieces. It is from the private collection of I. Michael Kasser, a Tucson resident and the chief executive officer and founder of Holualoa Companies, a real estate investment and development company.

Kasser’s collection presents “a rare opportunity to explore the exceptional artistic achievements of the pre-Columbian world,” a release said. The exhibition, guest curated by Joanne Stuhr, highlights the aesthetic worlds of Mesoamerica and the Andean region before European contact.

“The works are a creative reflection of the ideals, worldview, cosmology and practical needs of these ancient peoples,” the release said. Featured are ceramic effigy vessels, textiles and adornments, clay figures, stone sculptures and tools fashioned from copper, silver and gold.

“These cultures were very advanced in the area of artistic creation. The objects on display celebrate the enormous creativity of unknown artists whose works are diverse and very impressive,” said Charles A. Guerin, executive director of UAMA. “Usually only those who travel to the museums of Mexico or Peru are able to experience a collection like this. So we are very thankful to the Kassers.”

A panel discussion, “Deciphering Ritual, Cultural and Beautiful Artifacts,” is planned at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, at the museum.

A companion book, “Beauty: Art of the Ancient Americas, The I. Michael Kasser Collection,” is being released in conjunction with the exhibition. Distributed by UA Press, it is available at the UAMA Store.

All programs and exhibitions are free to the public.

More information is available at or by calling 621-7567.

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