There are special times when the stars are in alignment. When we first heard of this exhibition, our cover story, coming available from the Museo Larco in Lima, with its renowned collection of Andean treasures, and that the larger theme would be a look at Machu Picchu, one of the most original and unique cultural landscapes in the world, it was clear that the Boca Raton Museum of Art would want to participate. That it should premier here speaks to the role the Museum plays in our diverse and rapidly growing community in South Florida, where we have the largest population of people of Peruvian heritage in the United States. Machu Picchu, built over 600 years ago by the Incas as a mountain retreat for its rulers, speaks to the power of an empire that once covered a large swath of South America. In the Andean region, beginning 5,000 years ago, lived a series of some of the most politically and economically complex societies in South America — Chavín, Moche, Nazca, Lambayeque, Chimú, Inca. This exhibition tells their amazing story.
During the Pandemic when Machu Picchu was closed to visitors, World Heritage Exhibitions received permission to fly a drone and camera over the site to create a virtual reality tour of this Inca citadel nestled among the mountains of the Sacred Valley. In our Wolgin Education Center, visitors can sit in cinematic motion chairs and, with virtual reality headsets, be able to experience the journey around and through the architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an experience that complements our exhibition with its installation of gold and silver, pottery and feathers — all of which, like Machu Picchu itself, are expressions of the creative power of their makers. Visitors will come away with a sense of the vital force that these Andean cultures believed animated everything that exists on Earth.
The entire Museum has been devoted to the installation of this exhibition. As you leave the exhibition, you will enter our newly renovated Ohnell Sculpture Garden that provides a stunning new experience for our visitors. The centerpiece of the Garden is the massive, rotating Marty’s Cube by Tony Rosenthal, complemented by a 144-foot long vibrant mural, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, by Odili Donald Odita. The other commission we have long waited for is an eight-channel sound sculpture, Wind Rose, by Susan Philipsz. Each of the channels has the sound of breath blowing through a conch shell. How appropriate that this installation should be timed with our Machu Picchu exhibition, since conch shell trumpets were revered by the Incas for their grand, bellowing tones.
The other dramatic change at the Museum will not be missed by anyone. The west colonnade of the Mizner Amphitheater has been demolished and a new walkway has been created to provide a much more pleasing and visible entryway to the Museum. Along the undulating walkway are a series of eighteen fins each twelve-feet tall and twelve-feet apart. Standing as sentinels, they illuminate the pathway and serve as posts to hold a 200-foot long fabric fencing, itself a work of art, which will be installed when ticketed events are performed in the amphitheater. Designed by Glavovic Studio, we worked closely with the City of Boca Raton to realize this improvement. We thank our Board of Trustees for their understanding of the importance of this project and the funding that has made it possible.
Revealing the Museum as it was originally intended by its architect Donald Singer and the opening of Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru are wonderful capstones to the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s twentieth anniversary in Mizner Park.