Visitor InfoEvents & EducationExhibitionsCollectionsabout ushome
Museum of International Folk Art
About Us : Neutrogena Wing

Exhibition Press Information»

Sacred Realm:
Blessings & Good Fortune Across Asia
In the Cotsen Gallery, Neutrogena Wing
Sunday February 28, 2015 to March 19, 2017
Sacred RealmWhat more can we ask than for blessings and good fortune?  Whether perceived as miraculous boons or a response to ceremonious prayer, blessings and good fortune come in many forms and bring joy, comfort, and balance to our lives.

God, deities, nature spirits, and other unseen forces exist in human belief, which can bring both great harm and great fortune to people on earth.  Almost universally, yet through varied means and belief systems, people have found ways to connect with these powers to bring stability to their lives, to divert ill-will and harm, and to attract love, fertility, prosperity, longevity, and safety ... essentially, to harness protection, blessings, and good fortune for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.   

This exhibit invites visitors to explore some of the ways in which people seek and secure blessings and good fortune in Asia, a vast and culturally diverse region. Presented are amulets, votive offerings, and ritual objects – objects with other-worldly, divine qualities.  These intricate and thoughtfully made works of art are drawn mostly from the museum’s Asian collection and are exhibited together with unique media and engaging interactive gallery components.


“Sacred Realm” reflects wide-ranging practices of belief that, at the same time, depict the common human desire to attain balance and harmony in the physical and spiritual realms of life. 

Sacred Realm reflects wide-ranging practices of belief that, at the same time, depict the common human need or desire to attain balance and harmony in the physical and spiritual realms of life. [Photo: Ancestor Spirit House, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo by Felicia Katz-Harris].

See selections the Neutrogena Collection»

Explore New Mexico Textile Traditions»

See More Textile & Quilt Resources On-line»


SEWING BOXThe Red That Colored The World
May 17 to September 13, 2015
The Red That Colored The World. From Antiquity to today, as symbol and hue, red has risen to the pinnacle of the color spectrum. Throughout art history, a broad red brushstroke has colored the finest art and expressions of daily life. Yet, while most people know red, few know of its most prolific and enduring source: American Cochineal, a tiny scaled insect that produces carminic acid. Fewer still know the story behind its explosive global spread after its first encounter by Spain in 16th century Mexico. Explore this fascinating story. Admission is by Museum admission: New Mexico residents with I.D. FREE every Sunday. (Photo: Sewing box with cover with cochineal dyed wool yarn -detail). Box, Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, late 18th century. Wood, paint, metal, gold leaf, 4 3/4 x 17 5/16 x 5 inches. Museum of International Folk Art, IFAF Collection, Courtesy of the Museum of International Folk Art, Photo, Addison Doty) OPENING at The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California fall 2015.

Brasil and Arte Popular
In the Cotsen Gallery, Neutrogena Wing
November 17, 2013 - January 12, 2015

Woodblock print by José Francisco Borges, Bezerros, Pernambuco, Brazil, 1990A fascinating range of unique and vibrant folk traditions are presented featuring over 350 pieces from the museum’s rich Brazilian collection, ranging from graphic woodblock prints, colorful ceramic and wood folk sculptures, toys, puppets, and religious art, to lively festival dramas with dance, music and costumes. The varied cultural mix found throughout the vast region of Brazil not only draws from the original indigenous inhabitants, but also from the Portuguese colonists who began to settle there in the sixteenth century, as well as the enslaved Africans brought by the Europeans. The majority of work in the exhibit is from the twentieth century when folk artists found that they had more freedom to portray their history, folklore, and daily life. Religious practitioners could now carry out their rituals openly and festival performers were able to draw from old traditions and use contemporary issues to create lively pageants and dramas. About the Photo: Bumba-Meu-Boi is a comical and very popular folk drama brought to Brazil by the Portuguese colonizers in the eighteenth century. The original plot centers around the death and resurrection of a prized bull, but the story has been adapted to reflect typical northeast Brazilian rural life, involving many varied and costumed characters in a series of comic episodes. Today it is performed throughout Brazil during the Christmas holidays, Carnival, and June festivals. Woodblock print by José Francisco Borges, Bezerros, Pernambuco, Brazil, 1990. IFAF Collection, FA.1991.17.52.

Plain Geometry Amish Quilts
In the Neutrogena Wing
March 3, 2013-September 2, 2013

The exhibition explores the aesthetics of Amish quilts by considering what the quilting tradition grew out of and how they changed in a changing world. Approximately 35 quilts from the museum and local collectors' collections illustrate religious proscriptions, westward migration, and interaction with 'English' neighbors. (Photo: Diamond in square, Lancaster Co. PA, c. 1925, gift of Stuart and Cindy Hodosh) Make your own virtual quilt on an IPAD and save and share your quilt for visitors to see!

Young Brides, Old Treasures: Macedonian Embroidered Dress
In the Cotsen Gallery Saturday October 1, 2011 to January 6, 2013

Young BridesUntil the mid-twentieth century, Macedonian women wove, embroidered, and wore magnificent ensembles of dress that indicated to a knowing eye what village and region they came from and where they were in the cycle of life. From puberty through betrothal, marriage, child bearing, and old age, dress changed to reflect status change. The Museum collection dates primarily from 1890 to 1920 with some later pieces from the 1950s. The Collection has been completed with a large donation from the Macedonian Arts Council» so that it is today the largest and most comprehensive museum collection in the United States. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog of the same name, and closes January 6, 2013. (Photo: Detail, Wedding dress. Miyak, Smilevo, Demir Hisar municipality, c. 1900. Wool, cotton, silk, metallic thread, metal, glass beads, plastic. The Ronald Wixman/Steven Glaser Collection. Photography by Addison Doty.) This exhibition is scheduled to travel, click here for details.

The exhibition Material World: Textiles & Dress from the Collection was accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue authored by exhibition curator Bobbie Sumberg. The catalog divides the textile and costume collection into two categories, textiles and dress, and into several subcategories: Textiles for the bed; for the dwelling; for the church, temple, or ceremony; and, decorative pieces such as samplers. Dress is divided into headwear, outerwear, footwear, accessories, ceremonial, and complete ensembles. Textiles Collection of the Museum of International Folk Art. Call 505 992-2611 to order or
shop on-line at»


Extrodinary in the OrdinaryThe inaugural exhibition, The Extraordinary in the Ordinary, was co-curated by donor Lloyd Cotsen and independent curator Mary Hunt Kahlenberg. The exhibition and new wing opened in August 1998. A catalogue on the collection, The Extraordinary in the Ordinary has been published by Harry N. Abrams Inc. Essays focus on various aspects of world traditions in Africa, Asia and the Americas, with topics ranging from ceremonial cloths of the Congo, to court robes of China, and to Venetian gondola prows. (Photograph right by Kitty Leaken, installation of The Extraordinary in the Ordinary)

Curiousier Library The second exhibition drawn from the collection opened in the Summer of 2000. Curiouser and Curiouser:
A Walk Through The Looking-Glass
presents objects in a setting inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The Curator and Exhibition Designer collaborated to display objects in ways that challenged visitor's perceptions. For example, one room is a library of giant-sized books (photograph Curiouser & Curiouser exhibition by Polina Smutko, right) to invite visitors to leaf through textile "books". Innovative theatrical lighting and other techniques delighted children, and the young at heart. Museum educators collaborated with the Santa Fe Public Library in presenting summer reading programs, Read 'Round The World (Summer 2000) and Once Upon A Planet (Summer 2001). School age students participating in the program had art and writing workshops at the museum and at the libraries. The Summer Reading program was highlighted with Museum program with play & puppet performances, all ages art activities, and readings by the participants themselves. The exhibition closed March 30, 2002.

The third exhibition drawn exclusively from the Gathering threads entrycollection was Gathering Threads: The Heart of the Neutrogena Collection. The exhibition showcased the variety and range of human ingenuity and ability, which extends across cultures and time, all within the medium of textiles. Textiles have the ability to connect us- they are the common ground upon which we all stand (or sleep under, or wrap ourselves in). When these connections become visible, we can begin to understand how we are all part of the global community, linked by a common thread.