May 23 - July 27, 2003
Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art From the Collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex (Grandes Maestros del Arte Popular Mexicano) is the largest exhibition of Mexican folk art ever displayed outside Mexico and the largest exhibition ever presented at the Crocker Art Museum. Featuring 500 works of art by more than 175 living artists from regions throughout Mexico, the exhibition presents a diverse display of handcraft traditions and represents the complex and plural spirit of Mexico and its people. Objects in clay, wood, stone, textiles, metals, paper, leather, and vegetable fibers are organized by technique, region and use.
Mexican folk art traditions are typically passed on from one generation to the next, most of the time through means other than formal education. Works of art are often objects used in everyday life, and may be objects of ritual purpose that manifest the identity of the community in which they are made. The artisans' activity is part and parcel of the social, economic and cultural milieu of the urban and rural centers where they are produced.
Despite its importance in Mexican cultural life, folk art in many regions is fading to extinction because of internal changes in traditional social practices and external changes that affect market demands. In an effort to preserve this heritage, Fomento Cultural Banamex created the Program of Support for Folk Art. This program has helped maintain and increase job opportunities through handcrafts production, an important economic base in many communities. The program intends to renew market interest in the production of high-quality handcrafts through promotion, exhibitions and publications and, by extension, revitalize the status of handcraft as an income-generating activity for artisans and their families.
Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art From the Collection of Fomento Cultural Banamex is a representative sampling of the works made by the men and women who continue to devote their lives to the creation of high-quality artistic objects. These objects are strongly rooted in the communities of their making, and thus help to elucidate the variety and vitality of the Mexican people. Developed over time, and rich in Mexican tradition, the pieces provide insights into both daily life and more ethereal spiritual realms. As a whole, they stand as eloquent testimonies to the creativity of their makers.
This exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of Banamex-Citigroup, Fomento Cultural Banamex, A.C., Cerveza Corona, Tequila Herradura, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CONACULTA) and Aeromexico.