On View Now! Grandes Maestros at NHM

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) presents a contemporary look at folk art when it debuts for U.S. audience

Published on LatinoLA: November 14, 2014

On View Now! Grandes Maestros at NHM

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) presents a contemporary look at folk art when it debuts for U.S. audiences the extraordinary traveling exhibition Grandes Maestros: Great Masters of Iberoamerican Folk Art, Collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex.

More than 800 works made by approximately 600 of the most accomplished artists from 22 countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, M?®xico, Nicaragua, Panam?í, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela as well as Spain and Portugal will be on view through September 13, 2015 in the Museum's special exhibitions galleries which span 13,000 square feet.

The Los Angeles presentation of Grandes Maestros is curated by C?índida Fern?índez de Calder??n, Director of Fomento Cultural Banamex. It was designed in collaboration NHM's award-winning exhibitions team.

"Folk art is a marriage of human creativity, cultural identity, and a powerful bond to the planet and the natural resources it provides. So it should be no surprise that NHM will be the first U.S. stop for the Grandes Maestros exhibition. We explore how nature and culture, past and present, intersect," said Dr. Jane Pisano, NHM President and Director. "Los Angeles has strong ties to Latin America, from which the Grandes Maestros treasures come. The exhibit--at this Museum and in this city--will move people to see their pasts, and the world around them, in new ways."

The experience begins with an introductory gallery to the Grandes Maestros, or Great Masters, themselves. A multi-media map comes to life with images of a featured object from each of the 22 countries. On opposite walls, a large-scale video installation features moving portraits of the artists and videos of them at work.

This introductory gallery leads into galleries filled with contemporary works grouped by artistic mediums--textiles, wood, clay, metal, natural fibers, and various (paper, leather). Walls feature huge swaths of color, and each of the intricately-crafted, boldly colored objects is filled with character and unique personality. They are arranged on modernist pedestals to highlight the fact that these are contemporary folk masterpieces made with expansive cultural, ethnic, geographical, and artistic diversity--and the absence of glass cases allows visitors an intimate look at their craftsmanship.

Leading masters of folk art such as ?ôscar Soteno El?¡as (Mexico), Edilsa Hitucama Negria (Panama), and Antonio Lopez Fuentes, Casa Fermin (Spain) were selected to showcase the highest levels of achievement in traditional arts with objects created to illustrate their customs, festivals and devotions, myths, and everyday life. These contemporary artworks stem from long and rich traditions reaching back to the pre-Columbian era and also illustrate European influences.

Intricate textiles, hand-carved miniature sculptures, yarn paintings, clay animals, religious and political retables--associated with daily use or ritual purpose and immersed in the traditions and identity of Iberoamerican communities across Mexico, Central and South America, Spain and Portugal--are featured. All of the works are by living artists, many of whom are working in local collectives, and some of whom are well known throughout their countries and beyond.

"The Grandes Maestros of Iberoamerica program has propelled Fomento Cultural Banamex AC??s support of these masters without upsetting the work??s technical and aesthetic design, and without violating the basics of the masters' ars magna. We are reaffirming the importance of the work??s cultural values and providing more and better tools for the inexhaustible creation of works in the future," Fern?índez said.

The Museum will host a series of public programs complementing Grandes Maestros throughout the run of the exhibition, including food and artisan workshops on tamale and tortilla-making, cacao and masks as well as cultural celebrations of the many countries represented in the exhibition. Related public and educational programs can be found on www.nhm.org/site/explore-exhibits/special-exhibits/grandes-maestros/events.

At the end of the Grandes Maestros exhibition on Level 1, visitors will find a museum store dedicated to the unique artisan-produced objects of the Grand Masters as well as merchandise inspired by their works.

Organized by Fomento Cultural Banamex, the exhibition has traveled to the following contemporary art and cultural venues in Latin America and Spain prior to its U.S. debut at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: Palacio de Iturbide ÔÇô Centro Cultural Banamex, Mexico City, Mexico; Espacio de Creaci??n Contempor?ínea (ECCO), C?ídiz, Spain; Teatro Fern?ín G??mez, Madrid, Spain; Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogot?í (MAMBO), Bogot?í, Colombia; Centro Cultural FIESP ÔÇô Ruth Cardoso, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Folk Art Museum, Jos?® Hern?índez and Latin American Art Museum, Isaac Fern?índez, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Grandes Maestros has arrived in Los Angeles with the support of Banco Nacional de M?®xico, Citi, Roberto Hern?índez Ram?¡rez Foundation, Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (Mexico), Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (Mexico) and Instituto Nacional de Antropolog?¡a e Historia (Mexico). They have provided support for the program and made the collection possible since 2007.

The Los Angeles exhibition of Grandes Maestros is presented by ScholarShare.

Visitor Information
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

9:30 am ÔÇô 5:00 pm daily

Special Ticketing
Exhibition tickets are free for NHM members.
Prices include general museum admission plus Grandes Maestros ($8 for adults).
Members FREE
Children 2 and under FREE
Children 3 ÔÇô 12 $10.00
Youth 13 ÔÇô 17 $11.00
College Students w/ ID
Seniors (62+) $17.00
Adults $20.00

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