Barbara Owens Alpert

Maxwell Museum will present a lecture "The Ice Age Caves - Theaters of Illusion" on Saturday, February 12 at 1 p.m. in the Hibben Center on the UNM main campus.

In the great majestic ice age cave of Niaux, located near the French town of Foix, there is one panel of drawings that has been especially mysterious to archeologists and other viewers.  In a recent visit, Barbara Olins Alpert was impressed by the sophisticated use ice age artists made of optical illusion and by their knowledge of the working of human visual perception.

She was struck by a new insight into what the creator(s) of this panel may have had in mind.  Her talk will demonstrate how artists of all periods, from cave art to contemporary art, have played with various kinds of illusion.

Alpert will also discuss specifically what the artists of Niaux may have attempted to achieve in this enigmatic panel – a portion of which is reproduced in the Maxwell Museum.

The program includes a lecture at 1 pm followed by a brief tour of the Maxwell cave installation and book signing of "The Creative Ice Age Brain," by Barbara Olins Alpert.

Barbara Olins Alpert is an art historian and artist.  She taught prehistoric art at the Rhode Island School of Design between 1988 and 2000.  A number of her articles on Pleistocene art have appeared in museum journals in France, the Czech Republic and India. She is listed in the UNESCO publication,  Who's Who in Rock Art.  Her recent book on this subject is "The Creative Ice Age Brain: Cave Art in the Light of Neuroscience."

When delivering a paper in September at the International Rock Art Congress in France she had the opportunity for a new and extended visit to Niaux .  That visit served as the basis for this talk.

Her art work has been in exhibitions, in additions to the United States, in Malta, Russia, China and Japan.

The Hibben Center is located just south of the Maxwell Museum at the University of New Mexico.

For more information please contact Mary Beth Hermans (505) 277-1400 or