I came for the unusual rugs on exhibit -- "Afghan rugs: The Contemporary Art of Central Asia." There are over 40 rugs, of tightly woven wool, with motifs that depart radically from traditional designs. There are rugs depicting cityscapes of faraway, foreign cities. And rugs that are essentially woven world maps. I saw portrait rugs. But the many rugs that held my eye were the so-called "war rugs." This genre in the weaving had its genesis with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and has continued through the American military involvement. These tapestries depict battle tanks, jet fighters, missile launchers, and Kalashnikov rifles, among other weapons. Such scenes are a stark reminder of how war is so interwoven into the recent Afghan culture. This exhibition will be at the museum until July 27th.
I also enjoyed the pre-Columbian exhibits, which are part of the permanent collection. There are earthenware vessels and figurines, both utilitarian and ritual, from South American, Central American, and Mesoamerican cultures. The Mayan pieces span a time range from pre-Classic to post-Classic, and include many polychrome works.
There are exhibits from all over sub-Sahara Africa: carved wooden face masks, some with elaborate decorations, and intricately carved wooden figurines. They are part of the permanent collection.
I was awed by the glass sculptures on display. This exhibition is small in numbers, but the works are elegant, colorful, and intricate.
There is no café in the museum, but there are some fine restaurants within a couple of blocks in Mizner Park.
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