I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t once a bored kid paging through books about artifacts like the ones in the exhibit opening today at The Frist — ancient American sculptures that my teachers probably said were supposed to show me what life was like in 1200 BCE, but seemed to have more in common with the dusty terracotta replicas I saw in country stores or my grandma’s attic. But that’s precisely why seeing this stuff in person is so important. Weird details like the protruding backbone on a dog effigy or the hypnotic paint job on a tiny statuette aren’t as impressive without the proximity this exhibit affords. Assembled from the John Bourne collection of art of the ancient Americas at The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, this exhibition features 125 artworks from Mexico to Peru. For even more direct exposure, come to tonight’s free gallery talk by exhibition curator Dorie Reents-Budet.