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Margaret Mead

God is in the details of this Bali exhibition

God is in the details of this Bali exhibition

In 1930, Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias and his wife, Rose, traveled to the island of Bali in Indonesia and promptly fell in love with what they saw. They stayed nine months, soaking up the natural beauty and distinct culture. Covarrubias later wrote a classic book called "Island of Bali," which somewhat overshadowed the art he made on the trip. One of those paintings is a stylized map of Bali, showing the diamond-shaped island dominated by smoking volcanoes towering over lush valleys and hillsides terraced into rice fields. Temples dot the terrain and in the ocean dragons and mermaids swim while a cruise ship steams away.

The map — displayed in a show here at the...