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.
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.
Yesterday a friend and I viewed the exhibit Grandes Maestros: Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art, Collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex.
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.”
According to Wikipedia, Ibero-America comprises the countries in the Americas that are former colonies of Spain and Portugal.
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.
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.”
“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.”
Interactive 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.
Docents 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.
One 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.
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.
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!
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