Throughout history, the concept of disguise has played an instrumental role in the development of societies and cultures. Ancient representations of humans concealing their identity have been found all over the world. One of the earliest known depictions of masking appears on the wall of a cave in southwestern France. Painted 15,000 years ago, the “Sorcerer of Trois Frères” illustrates an upright man wearing the ears and horns of a stag. In the 21st century, man’s preoccupation with disguise continues. We embrace the theatrical and ceremonial relationship to disguise, we use masks and costumes for protective measures, and each day we present a certain persona to the world by varying our appearance and behavior.
Masters of Disguise addresses not only man’s relationship with self-transformation, but also examines disguised forms, materials and environments. The 74 selected works, primarily from The Mint Museum’s permanent collection, provide a fresh look at a variety of objects that skillfully illustrate the power of concealment. The included pieces range from an ancient Mayan chocolate vessel to a contemporary trompe l’oeil sculpture by California Funk artists.
Sponsored by: The Founders' Circle Ltd.