Pottery of Mexico: Cultural Identities in Clay opens at the Museum of the Americas on April 4. This exhibit presents the ceramic traditions of Mexico, utilitarian, decorative, and ceremonial, from the 1920’s to the present. This special exhibit features spectacular pieces on loan from Fort Worth collector Hilda Horchler, including an intricate 2 ½- by-3 foot candelabra constructed with fantastic swirls, animals, and Mother and Child on a donkey at the center.
Mexico has produced one of the richest, most exuberant and colorful arrays of folk art and crafts as a reflection of its history and culture of any country in the world. It was only after the Mexican Revolution (1910-21) when artists like Diego Rivera and Frido Kahlo began to incorporate a genuinely Mexican culture and art in their work that recognition of the work being produced by local artisans began to emerge. The upper classes of Mexico emulated European culture. In the 1930s, American collectors like Nelson Rockefeller began to travel and collect Mexican folk art. After WWII there was a huge increase in tourism, which greatly expanded the market for tourist souvenirs and pieces valued by collectors. Today, the Rockefeller Collection resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Every area of Mexico produces some type of ceramic ware. In the villages and rural areas pottery was made to be sold in the local markets. Typically, it was made for cooking, to carry or hold water, for washing clothes or dishes, and for chimeneas (stoves).
An overview of Mexican pottery would not be complete without presenting the beautiful Talavera pottery made in the cities of Puebla and Guanajuato. The Spaniards brought this majolica process from the town of Talavera in Spain and the Mexican artisans made it their own. It represents the most sophisticated level of traditional ceramic production in Mexico.
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This exhibit includes decorative pieces from famous potters who had the talent and imagination to create distinctive objects that were/are sought around the world. On view are works by artists such as Herón Martínez, Acatlán, Puebla; Teodora Blanca and the Aguilar Sisters from Oaxaca, Candelario Medrano, Santa Cruz de la Huertas, Jalisco, and many others.
Many of the over 1,000 ceramic pieces in the Museum of the Americas permanent collection are part of the exhibit, some never before on public display.
Pottery of Mexico: Cultural Identities in Clay is on display from April 1 to July 29. Museum of the Americas is located at 216 Fort Worth Highway in Weatherford. Hours are 10-5, Monday-Friday, 11-4 Saturday; admission is free. Call 817-341-8668, or visit www.museumoftheamericas.com for more info.