Cultural Bytes for 12 December, 2011

- December 13, 2011

"Fire and Ice, A Winter Soiree..."

Fire and Ice, A Winter Soiree

Celebrate the season with a special concert by Serenata of Santa Fe on Thursday, December 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. This Santa Fe chamber music ensemble is celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season in 2011-2012 and presents this evening of music as part of its annual schedule of musical soirees.

For this special concert event, hosted by Ann & Henry Hodde in their home, the ensemble has prepared a special holiday treat, including elegant appetizers, fine wine, classic chamber music and a silent auction of photographer Thea Witt’s beautiful photo Ranchos, No. 1. Appreciated for her ability to capture beauty in the most intimate and fleeting moments, Witt’s images of northern New Mexico inspire all who see them. Ranchos, No. 1 is a signed edition print donated by the artist in support of Serenata’s Anniversary Season and is one of her signature images. 

The concert portion of the evening features musicians L. P. How on violin; Sally Guenther on cello; Pamela Epple on oboe; soprano Gail Springer; and Debra Ayers on piano in works by Bach, Bunch, Kreisler, Martin, Morricone and Strauss. These events always sell out, so, if you haven’t already reserved your tickets, you are urged to contact Serenata directly at 989-7988 if you wish to attend.

History Museum Returns Peruvian Artifact

The New Mexico History Museum has repatriated an archaeological artifact to Peru, a move that signals the museum’s commitment to cultural diplomacy on the international stage. The exchange of the artifact, a gold pendant from the Moché Period (100-800 AD), took place on Thursday, December 8, in Washington, D.C. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, where the item has been on long-term loan, assisted in the return.

“Museums have changed how they regard artifacts from prehistoric peoples,” said Frances Levine, director of the history museum. “The New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors has also changed in how it chooses which stories to present and preserve. Our focus today is on the stories that played out on this soil. Artifacts from South America can be better used to help museums in Peru tell the stories of their people.

“We want to be an international player on the museum stage," Levine continued. "We worked closely with Spain to host the U.S. premiere of The Threads of Memory exhibition in Santa Fe last year. We are working now with Mexico on a joint exhibition about santeros. A reputation for integrity, cultural sensitivity and cooperation are critical to us and foremost in our considerations regarding this request.”

Peruvian officials first raised the question of repatriating the artifact in 1988, when it was included in the exhibition Art of Ancient America at the Palace of the Governors.  As described in the Art of Ancient America catalog, the artifact is a “large bead finely modeled in the form of a monkey’s head. Turquoise and shell eyes, lapis nose and open mouth with traces of turquoise on (the) tongue.” The pendant measures 1¾” high by 2¼” wide and has a ball tucked inside of it that rattles when moved.

In October, after conducting due diligence regarding the article’s provenance, the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents endorsed a recommendation to return the item.