RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Master class in Iberian art


Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

My annual membership at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has more than paid for itself in the past year. Note to myself: I need to renew.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

It’s an easy trip for me on the Expo Line train from the Culver City Station to the Vermont station which is directly across from the museum.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

Yesterday a  friend and I viewed the exhibit Grandes Maestros: Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art, Collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

According to the website, “It’s a showcase of more than 1,200 works: colorful masks, intricate textiles, hand-carved miniature sculptures, yarn paintings, clay animals, religious and political altarpieces — associated with daily use or ritual purpose, and immersed in the traditions and identity of Iberoamérica.”

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

According to Wikipedia, Ibero-America comprises the countries in the Americas that are former colonies of Spain and Portugal.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

So the idea is that the genesis of this artwork was in Spain and Portugal. Then it was transported to North, Central and South America where it took on a life of its own.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

From the NHM website, “It’s also a celebration of power and beauty. These works were crafted by the best living artisans in the world, all at the height of their powers, and now finally visible outside their communities across Mexico, Central and South America, Spain and Portugal.”

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

“The craftsmen molded clay, carved wood, blew glass, and fashioned intricate pieces from plant fibers, paper, leather, silver, beads, shells, gourds and stones. The exhibition, therefore, is organized into sections that spotlight the raw materials. Whichever direction visitors turn, they’ll see the creations of artists from 22 different countries  — each making their mark using the same essential supplies.”

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumInteractive kiosks were utilized for information about each item. By pressing one image on each grouping, the information for that piece of artwork appeared on the screen. One of the docents explained that because of the number of pieces in the exhibit it would have been impossible to find the wall space to describe each piece on a printed plaque. I liked this better anyway.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumSome of the pieces were painted after firing. Some were glazed and then fired.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumDocents were positioned along the way to answer questions. Rather than waiting to be approached, they approached us to ask if we needed any information and then told us a little about the exhibit. I liked this proactive method.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumOne docent commented on my camera and mentioned he had not yet been able to photograph the exhibit because he wasn’t allowed to do that during working hours, but he liked that people were allowed to take photos. I said that I appreciated that because in some exhibits photography wasn’t allowed and that always annoyed me. He said that in this case they were trying to promote the artists and wanted their work to get out to the world. So I told him my photos would be posted to my blog.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumAll the vivid colors of the artwork made me want to grab some paint and start splashing it around. I truly love folk art.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History Museum

This wall of masks was so much fun. Some little kids were having a ball looking at each piece. What a great experience for them to be seeing this.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumAnd naturally I was attracted to this cat mask. Not sure I would want him running around my house though!

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumSo as I mentioned before, this is the first screen you see. You click on one of the objects  to learn more about it.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumThis intricate work in clay was fascinating. I liked that it was left unpainted although most of time you would see it polychromed.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumOne of the galleries displaying wood carving and silver smithing, among other materials.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumLook at this marquetry. Isn’t it amazing? I am so happy to see craftsmanship alive and well today.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumGold paper beaten into patterns.

Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumThe diverse materials and styles were astonishing. Some of it looks ancient but it is all fashioned by living artists.Iberoamerican exhibit at Natural History MuseumI learned a new word: Repoussé, a French expression meaning hammered metal.

Click on an image below to start a slide show of the rest of the images.

While my friend browsed in the exhibit store I ran back through the galleries one more time to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I was very impressed by this showcase of contemporary Iberoamerican art and highly recommend it. The traveling exhibit is in Los Angeles through September 13, 2015. If it is coming to your area, don’t miss it!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles, California. A few years ago I rediscovered photography which is a great excuse to get outside and look. I'm also in the process of re-writing some of my unpublished short stories and possibly a novel. .

12 thoughts on “Master class in Iberian art

  1. Wow! Who needs a membership when we have you? 🙂 Thanks for sharing your photos of this beautiful and colorful exhibit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I kept oohing and aahing. Hard to decide which part was more fascinating. I liked the needlework and baskets. Certainly worth several trips to see all.
    I was thinking about….who did the dusting? 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the tour, Roslyn! Some beautiful art works.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This exhibit is such a wonderfully vast array of artwork. I really liked it all, but my two favorites are the sheep sculptures and the pineapple pots. Thanks so much for sharing this exhibit, Rosyln…I enjoyed it a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Jet, it was hard for me to pick a favorite.


  6. Wonderful! I love the vibrant masks along with everything else. I had a mask very similar to the yellow one you highlight which I bought in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I wonder if those masks were from there also. In any event, it met its demise from an over-exuberant broom handle. I think that calls for another trip, don’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I adore this, Ros. Wow. You bet it pays for itself. Your photos are popping off my screen, too. 🙂 Educate me more, please.

    Liked by 1 person

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