The Jan Mitchell Treasury


feet-smJust as the Jan Mitchell Treasury attempts to cover the breadth of pre-Columbian South American art in a single moderately sized gallery, we intend to review the Mitchell Treasury in the scant few minutes we have before we leave for California (by way of Eero Saarinen’s optimistic ode to Modernism, the freshly-restored TWA terminal at JFK! Cantilevered hyperboloids hell yes!)

The Mitchell Treasury is a winner. The wall text concisely explains the rise and fall of city-states, and many of the galley’s objects either A. Are made from Incan gold, or B. Depict skulls and bugs.

We have a confession to make. We visited the Mitchell treasury just after reading Andy’s post, “talk to strangers.” And we meant to speak with the lady snapping pictures of the artifacts with her digital SLR, we really did. Our borrowed point-and-shoot was running out of batteries (we’d taken too many shots of a fertility statue prominently featuring an erect penis). So we thought we’d introduce ourselves as a writer for the world-famous Suggested Donation, give her our email address, and politely request JPEGs of a few of her pictures for inclusion in this column.

Well. We failed. As we approached her, we were overtaken by the memory of the first time we’d ever asked a girl to slow dance in sixth grade. K— M——- (who we still have a crush on and would marry if the chance arose) rolled her eyes, sighed loudly and said, “fine” in the same tone of voice usually reserved for words like “treason” or “staff infection.”
So, no progress on that front. Sorry, Andy. But it’s like we always say: “During the first half of the first millennium B.C., the ceramics of the southern Peruvian Coast were strongly influenced by those of Chavin, the expansionist religious cult of the central Peruvian highlands.”

The Jan Mitchell Treasury

Highlights: Foot jars; anything made of solid gold

Memorable Quote: See above

Next Week: The Dark Ages–just how dark were they?