It is with a heavy heart that the Executive Director of the Museum of Cultural Masks announces the passing of Dr. Bryan J. Stevens, a member of our Advisory Council and one of the world’s leading experts on Mexican dance masks. Dr. Stevens was born in 1944 in Washington, D.C. and studied medicine and psychiatry at Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh. He lived most of his life in York, Pennsylvania and traveled widely in Mexico with his wife Lucy. Mexican and Guatemalan masks were his hobby, and he became one of the world’s leading experts on the subject. He maintained an unparalleled blog on Mexican dance masks for many years (mexicandancemasks.com). In 2012, he published a highly regarded treatise on the subject, Mexican Masks and Puppets: Master Carvers of the Sierra de Puebla, published by Schiffer Publishing.
Fellow Advisory Council member Bob Ibold said this about Bryan:
It was about 40 years ago that I bought my first mask (Mexican) at a flea market. A few years later I met Bryan who lived in the neighboring town of York, PA, and he really got me excited about collecting. Though he was a psychiatrist by profession, he curated one of the most important Mexican mask collections in the world. He was always generous with his time and taught me a great deal about the folk art and anthropology of Mexico. He was also kind enough to write the preface to Masks of the World, a book written by me and Troy Yohn in 2015.
Dr. Stevens passed away on March 15, 2020, due to medical issues. He is survived by Lucy, three children (Julia, David and Peter), and his grandchildren. We at the Museum will miss his wisdom and good cheer.