Image showing photogrammetric phases of creating a digital model. The object is a 15th-century Incan pacha in the Nasher Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Image Credit: Edward Triplett
Image showing photogrammetric phases of creating a digital model. The object is a 15th-century Incan pacha in the Nasher Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Image Credit: Edward Triplett

Art of the Americas Interactive

Project Lead(s): Julia McHugh, Mark J. V. Olson, Edward Triplett

2019present

This project is a partnership with the Nasher Museum to re-imagine the exhibition of the museum’s collection of ancient American Art, one of the best university art museum collections of work by Maya, Aztec, and Inca cultures. For over 25 years, this collection has sat largely untouched in museum storage. With a new specialist on staff, the museum has begun studying and preparing this collection for display.

One exhibition, Cultures of Sea, opened February 1, 2020, and delves into the relationship of ancient Americans to the ocean, featuring ceramics, textiles, and bone and wood carvings of crabs, lobsters, sting rays, sea birds, shells, and other sea creatures. A longer term goal of the project is to mount a new reinstallation of the Art of the Americas gallery to feature artwork from South America. A crucial component of both of these exhibitions is the production of digital 3D models of pieces in the collection for both research and teaching purposes.

We aim to use this technology and other digital means to move beyond the realm of vision to capture the full sensory experience of the ancient Americas, including the sounds, bodily sensations, and textures generated by artworks. The creation of a model of a Chancay ceramic vessel, for example, leads to critical discoveries about artistic process and original function: How does the study of its texture reveal the technique of ancient Peruvian ceramic artists? How does a replica allow us to study its performative use and the way it held liquid and emitted sound when poured?

With COVID-19 preventing in-person access to the Cultures of the Sea exhibition, an online, interactive 360 immersive version was created in summer 2020.

Image Credit: Views of a 3D scan of an Art of the Americas object from the Nasher Museum of Art collection. Inca, Pacha with Ears of Corn, 1438–1532. Terracotta with slip, 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches (10.8 x 10.8 cm). The Paul A. and Virginia Clifford Collection, 1973.1.408.

Current Collaborators

Lilly Clark
Luke Evans
Nathan Ostrowski
Andrew Witte
Aston Young

Past Collaborators

Clara Pinchbeck