That the land that now constitutes Peru has been a hot-bed of textile artistry for more than two millennia is no secret. But the sheer scale of production and the extraordinary sophistication of textiles from this region is nonetheless astonishing. That is the biggest takeaway from an exhibition that offers a dazzling, in-depth look at five historical cultures dating back to around 500 BC – the Paracas, Nazca, Chancay, Lambayeque and Rimac – as well as artists in modern-day southern Peru and northern Bolivia. The show features 72 objects drawn entirely from the holdings of the Art Institute, which is particularly known for its collection of Andean textiles. At the core of that holding are 1,300 objects purchased in 1955 from a celebrated group of ancient artefacts assembled by Eduard Gaffron, a German ophthalmologist who lived in Peru in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While some of these textiles are regularly displayed as part of the museum’s Arts of the Americas display, about one-third of the works in this exhibition have never been shown before.
Until 16 June 2019, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL, USA