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Museum of International Folk Art
Exhibitions: Current  

The Red that Colored the World
In the Hispanic Heritage Wing & Cotsen galleries
May 17 through September 13, 2015
Cocla embroidery detailFrom 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.NEH logo Cochineal can already be demonstrated as a commonly used colorant in painting, sculpture, furniture and textiles from the mid 16th through the mid-19th century, when synthetic pigments were invented. The exhibition is not restricted to folk art and will include manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, textiles and furniture from pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial Mexico, Peru and New Mexico; European Hotel Santa Fepaintings, textiles and clothing; and textiles from Asia, India and the Middle East, along with selections from the collection at the Museum of International Folk Art. Integrating a variety of interactive, visitor friendly features and didactic materials, visitors are invited to look through the centuries to consider the central role of color in art, history and culture- as well as in their own lives. [Photo: Colcha Embroidery, Altar Cloth-detail. Nina Arroyo Wood, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2013. Handspun New Mexico churro wool with vegetal dyes and cochineal, 15" x 451/4". Museum of International Folk Art, IFAF Collection (FA.2013.42.1) Photo by Blair ClarkNewmans Own]The Red That Colored The World exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa, and Newman’s Own Foundation; see all exhibition sponsors»


pottery from the US southPottery of the U.S. South:
A Living Tradition

In the Bartlett Gallery
Through January 3, 2016

Pottery of the U.S. South: A Living Tradition presents traditional stoneware from North Carolina and northern Georgia—current works characterized by earthy local clays and surprising effects of wood firing. Rooted in British and German ceramic traditions and once crucial to Southern agrarian life, Southern pottery today remains vital, a distinctive art form through which potters actively engage with their region in ways both old and new. As museum visitors explore these ways, they are invited to consider for themselves the dynamics of a living tradition. (Photo: Wood-fired, salt-glazed jugs by Chad Brown (left, 2011) and his great-great-grandfather W. H. Crisco (right, 1880s), Seagrove, North Carolina. Museum of International Folk Art, IFAF Collection. (FA.2012.24.5, FA.2013.57.1) Photo: Addison Doty)
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Multiple Visions: A Common Bond
Long term in the Girard Wingdoll dinner party
Alexander and Susan Girard began a lifetime of collecting on their honeymoon trip to Mexico in 1939. Objects were selected for their beauty, humor, whimsy, enthusiasm, spontaneity and directness and they illustrate humankind's universal need to give form to a sense of ornament, delight, and wonder. The Girard Family collection of more than 100,000 objects is unique in part because of its size and breadth : more than 100 countries on six continents are represented. Enjoy this text-free gallery with or without a docent, pick up a Gallery Guide to read more about the cases, or pick up a multi-media tour on an Ipod touch available at the front desk for no additional fee.

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