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“Rock Art Perspectives: Pictographs and Petroglyphs” now on display at State Museum


Art © Michael Frye. Image courtesy of Nevada State Museum


CARSON CITY — An ancient art form meets a modern vision in the exhibit Rock Art Perspectives: Pictographs and Petroglyphs, now on display in the Nevada State Museum’s South Changing Gallery. This exhibit, on loan from the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, is on display through May 1, 2010.  Rock Art Perspectives, presents both images and text by artists and archaeologists specializing in rock art of the Southwest, Great Basin and California.

According to Curator of Archaeology, Dr. Gene Hattori, “Rock art is a common term used to describe images painted on stone, ‘pictographs’ or those that have been chipped, abraded, or carved into stone, ‘petroglyphs.’   Many feel these images were created not as ‘art for art’s sake,’ but rather, as part of ceremony, ritual, or events to convey messages and meaning to the viewers and users of rock art.”

Featured artists and scholars include Harry Fonseca, Carolyn Boyd, Lillian Pitt, Mary Ricks, Michael Frye, Melissa Melero, Alain Briot, and David Muench.

Rock Art Perspectives
portrays a wide variety of images including sketches, paintings, photos, and sculpture on the subject of rock art, including such contemporary topics as rock art in pop culture. Text associated with the exhibit explores challenges in regard to rock art interpretation. While early rock art interpretation focused on the activities of “hunting magic” and the role of the male shaman, new interpretation sheds light on the role of women in rock art sites associated with plant gathering and also at habitation sites.

The exhibit is funded by the Lakeview Oregon office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM and the Nevada Rock Art Foundation are partners in this exhibit; the BLM is generously offering Rock Art Perspectives to NSM free of charge and has provided funding to cover installation costs, programming and marketing for the exhibit.

The museum is planning a series of educational programs on rock art for both children and adults to enhance the visitor experience and teach rock art etiquette.   Lectures, receptions, field trips to regional sites and children’s crafts are among the ideas proposed. Education plays a vital role in protecting rock art and other archaeological sites for the benefit of future generations. For more information, contact Deborah Stevenson at 775-687-4810 ext. 237 or Sue Ann Monteleone at 775-687-4810, ext. 240.

The Nevada State Museum actively engages people in understanding and celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage. Exhibits highlight the state’s history, geology, plants and animals, Native American cultural heritage, Historic Carson City Mint, a replica walk-through mine, and ghost town.  Current changing exhibits include Rock Art Perspectives: Petroglyphs and Pictographs, Slot Machines: The Fey Collection and The Art of Nature: Images from the Wildlands of Nevada. Due to mandatory state budget restrictions, the museum is closed Sunday – Tuesday, and open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesday – Saturday.  Please enter through the Dema Guinn Concourse. Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, and free for members and children under 18.  For information, call 775-687-4810.

The Nevada State Museum is one of seven managed by the state Division of Museums and History, an agency of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs. The Department serves Nevada’s citizens and visitors through cultural and information management, presentation and promotion of cultural resources, and education. The Department also includes the State Office of Historic Preservation, Nevada State Library and Archives and the Nevada Arts Council. For more information, please call Teresa Moiola at (775) 687-8323 or visit the department’s website at www.NevadaCulture.org.

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