SANTA FE, N. Mex. — As the growing popularity of designer colors like “greige” and its sad beige cousins suck the vibrancy out of our surroundings, the Museum of International Folk Art remains a bastion for color lovers. The Museum Hill institution holds eye-popping folk art from around the globe, and its newest exhibition, La Cartonería Mexicana/The Mexican Art of Paper and Paste, may be its most vivid offering to date.
Primarily drawing from the museum’s permanent collection of over 200 pieces of cartonería (Mexican papier-mâché), the exhibition explodes across the Hispanic Heritage wing in paleta-like tones of mango, watermelon, and avocado. These hues are drawn from the traditional masks, sculptures, toys, and piñatas on display. Ruth D. Lechuga’s black-and-white photos from 1960s and ’70s festivals, vendors, and makers around Mexico City add cultural and historical context.
A central gallery includes photos and a video of the Linares family of artists at work and displays several of their traditional alebrijes, protective chimeras used in celebrations of Dia de los Muertos. Alebrijes were originally conceived by Pedro Linares López in 1936, and his family has made the brightly-painted creatures for generations.
Guest curator Nora Dolan and co-curator and Museum of International Folk Art Director of Education Leslie Fagre worked with Mexico City-based cultural consultants Franz Meyer Museum Curator Marta Turok and author of Mexican Cartoneria: Paper, Paste, and Fiesta Leigh Thelmadatter to research and present the exhibition.
La Cartonería Mexicana / The Mexican Art of Paper and Paste continues at the Museum of International Folk Art (706 Camino Lejo, on Museum Hill, Santa Fe, New Mexico) through November 3. The exhibition was curated by Nora Dolan and Leslie Fagre.