Acero, Julián, Lion Banks, 20th c. , Moldmade, clay painted with aniline dyes and varnished, 9.75 x 4” each, Collection of The Mexican Museum, Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection of Mexican Folk Art
Felipe Linares, Sin Título (Calaca Enramada)/ Untitled, Papier-mache, wire, high gloss paint, 46 x 40 x 32”, Collection of The Mexican Museum, Paul S. Sherrill Collection
Treasures from The Mexican Museum
September 26-April 18, 2010
The Palo Alto Art Center is honored to present Treasures from The Mexican Museum: A Spirited Legacy through April 18, 2010. The Mexican Museum in San Francisco is the first and the oldest-operating museum outside of Mexico and the world to exhibit Mexican and Mexican-American art and culture. The collection at The Mexican Museum represents a treasury for the passionate voice of a vibrant people: it has collected over 12,000 objects spanning thousands of years of art and culture in the Americas. While the collection highlights featured in Treasures from The Mexican Museum: A Spirited Legacy demonstrate diversity in terms of their represented histories, identities, and influences, their grouping in the context of this exhibition points to a continuum of shared emblems, motifs, or spirit.
The Mexican Museum was founded in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District in 1975 by Bay Area artist and visionary Peter Rodriguez with the intent to exhibit Mexican and Mexican-American art. It relocated to the city’s Fort Mason in 1982. After presenting over 150 exhibitions in 2006, it closed its exhibition program to prepare for a future building project. During this period of economic uncertainty, the Palo Alto Art Center and The Mexican Museum are galvanizing their communities to focus on the future. Both organizations are independently planning projects to expand their facilities in order to better serve their publics with compelling art and education programs.
With the exhibition Treasures from The Mexican Museum: A Spirited Legacy, the Palo Alto Art Center provides a wonderful opportunity to view a wide representation of The Mexican Museum’s five focal areas of acquisition: Pre-Conquest (Pre-Hispanic or Pre-Columbian) Art; Art of Colonial Mexico (1521-1821); Modern and Contemporary Mexican and Latino Art; Arte Popular (Folk or Popular Art,) and Chicano Art.
In the Art Center’s East and Glass Galleries, the installation groups objects from the five focal areas of The Mexican Museum’s collection with the following themes: Iconic Portraiture & the Individual, Art of the Fantastic, Memories of Community, and Emblems of Spirituality. Such groupings signal an important universality, ultimately reflecting the philosophy of The Mexican Museum: the soul and spirit of the arts and culture of Mexico and the Americas are fundamentally linked.
Highlights in Emblems of Spirituality include ritual figures and miniature stone masks from the Ancient Americas in West Mexico and Peru, along with personal objects of devotion from Colonial Mexico that meld Pre-Conquest, indigenous traditions with Spanish Catholicism. Iconic Portraiture & the Individual includes emotionally-charged prints by Mexican masters, who include José Clemente Orozco, José Guadalupe Posada, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo—all artists who revolutionized the arts in Mexico. Prints and paintings by Jean Charlot, Miguel Covarrubias, Carmen Lomas Garza, Rosa Rolando, along with sculptures by the Aguilar Family in Mexico strike a universal chord in Memories of Community. Art of the Fantastic reveals persistence of symbols since Pre-Conquest times with magical Nahuales, sorcerers who are human/hybrid creatures, in polychrome ceramics by Candelario Medrano Lopez and multiple color lithographs by Maximino Javier. This section additionally represents in-depth, donor collections within the museum through fabulous Day of the Dead figures from the Paul S. Sherrill Collection, spirited canine figures from the Rosa and Miguel Covarrubias Collection, and zoomorphic, or anthropomorphic, vessels from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection of Mexican Folk Art.
The Palo Alto Art Center’s West Gallery is dedicated to vibrant paintings and pastels on paper by Latino/a artists, many of whom are pivotal figures of the Chicano movement in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. While physical space cannot fully accommodate the hundreds of Chicano/a works in the collection of The Mexican Museum, the gallery aims to celebrate the museum’s role as one of the leading institutions in the country to document the achievement of such artists through both its exhibitions and collections.
The Palo Alto Art Center is honored to present highlights from the collection as a spirited legacy for all of us to enjoy. Treasures from the Mexican Museum: A Spirited Legacy initiates for The Mexican Museum “Renacimiento: The Mexican Museum Today,” a campaign to share the wealth of art that it has collected over the past thirty four years.
Treasures from the Mexican Museum: A Spirited Legacy has received special support from Lois Santos and the Wells Fargo Foundation. Additional support has been received from Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, Shari Ornstein and Alain Pinel Realty. On behalf of The Mexican Museum, we acknowledge a private donation that has helped make possible Treasures from the Mexican Museum: A Spirited Legacy.
For more information please visit: Palo Alto Art Center
Admission is free!