Wednesday, November 09, 2011

TAM Docents: Mexican Folk Art - More Answers to Intriguing Questions

Hello Docents-

Terry Dew had some questions that came up during a couple of shifts so I have included those below followed by Stephanie's reply.


Also, just a reminder that we have another Know More Art Lecture this Saturday:

Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and their Collection and Transformation of Mexican Folk Art
November 12, 1 pm
In the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, artists of that country embraced popular folk art as a central inspiration for a new, "revolutionary" art that would reach a mass audience and represent the agency of poor and indigenous people in the Mexican nation. Nowhere is this embrace of folk art more public and evident than in the related lives and distinct art of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. This lecture will consider: how this couple developed and displayed a large collection of folk art that included pre-Hispanic sculpture, paper mache "Judas" dolls, and religious ex-votos and retablos; how their public personae, performed in working class overalls and indigenous rebozos, embodied elements of folk art; and finally, through a selection of paintings by each, how they incorporated genres and motifs from folk art while giving them new political and personal meanings.


Plus you are invited to the Flora Book Tea on Sunday at 1 pm. I will forward the invitation to that after sending this email out.


Warm regards,



Jana Wennstrom | TACOMA ART MUSEUM

Manager of Public and Volunteer Programs

T: 253.272.4258 x3030


embrace art in everyday life Folk Treasures of Mexico October 29 - February 19



During my Docent & Volunteer shifts on Thursday night & Saturday, the following comments & questions have arisen, on which I would appreciate enlightenment:
1. On the jacket & inside the exhibition catalogue, appears "Cart and Animals," Oaxaca. In the exhibition, the cart is empty? Where are the men subduing the tiger? Also, why does the man have a staff in one hand & a machete in the other? Is this a child's toy?
2. Why is the amazing, lone secular "Portrait" of a Huichol Indian by Felipe Olay displayed on a red "sacred or religious" wall? Although resources state & other Huichol art objects in the exhibition depict that their religious beliefs & ceremonies owe little to Christianity, the man's hat creates the effect of a halo?
3. Visitors had several question re: "Stations of the Cross." Where are the missing 2 of the 14? Were they too deteriorated to survive? Were they originally displayed in a church: if so, where? Were they all painted by one artist? Why is the label on "II Estacion"
different from all the rest?
Your insight is appreciated. Thanks,


Dear Jana,


Here is how I would reply after input from Nancy and Amanda:


1)       The other figures were used for the catalogue cover mockup and are not part of the original ensemble. The staff and machete in hand reflect the tools need for work in the fields.  Is this a child's toy?  Probably I'd say.  The work comes from a region famous for its wood carvings.

2)        The portrait of the Huichol Indian is in the ceremonial section because he is outfitted in his ceremonial or celebratory dress. He could be a shaman in a special dress for a peyote celebration. Or the portrait could have been in the blue Decorative section.

3)       Can't respond to where the other two paintings are.  Assume Rockefeller was not able to purchase them. Not sure I understand the question about the label. Is the question, why does the label talk about Station 2?  The reason for that is that the red, white and green nationalistic color is particularly evident in that work.  I would add that by looking closely at these canvases it is evident that they were framed differently at some point, cutting off the edge of the works.  There has been some restoration of these works, including a change in treatment of how station 2 is rendered.






Stephanie A. Stebich


Tacoma Art Museum

1701 Pacific Avenue

Tacoma, Washington 98402

T: 253.272.4258 x3014

F: 253.627.1898

Become a Member Today!



embrace art in everyday life Folk Treasures of Mexico October 29 - February 19



Post a Comment

<< Home