A hundred faces stare out with unblinking eyes and extravagant smiles as Aurore Giguet locks up at night.
The curator of the Marjorie Barrick Museum oversees its collection of more than 400 masks from Mexico and the Guatemalan highlands. Her favorites are the red devils with big horns: "I love their boldness. For me, the simpler the mask, the better."
But she appreciates the details in all the masks. There's a bruja, a witch, with braided hair made from hemp. And a black devil baring cow teeth in its mangled grin.
The mask collection includes rare pieces from the 1940s and '50s as well as contemporary examples by well-known carvers. They are part of the Mannetta and Michael Braunstein collection. The couple began buying the objects as tourists in 1974, when the primitive art was seen as, well, too primitive to be worth collecting. Mannetta left nursing and returned to school to learn more about her passion. She earned an anthropology degree from UNLV in 1993.
The Barrick now houses thousands of their pre-Columbian and modern Latin American objects as well as an extensive library of related books. It has become a vibrant resource for teachers and researchers across campus.
Go: The Barrick Museum is open Monday-Saturday.