May 18, 2007 - Newark Museum - MEXICAN CRAFT TRADITIONS
May 18, 2007


Eduardo Alonso and Alfonso Alonso, Jarabe Michoacána Batea (tray), circa 1930s, lacquered wood, 17 1/2 in. diameter, Gift of Mrs. Charles Suydan Cutting, 48.329, Batea (tray), late 19th to early 20th century, Michoacán, Mexico, lacquered wood, 15 in. diameter, Gift of Mrs. E.J. Eurich, 19.573, All collection of The Newark Museum

Mexicana: Discovering Mexican Popular Arts 1919-1950 at Museum;
A Mexican Museum of Modern Art: A Project
by Franco Mondini-Ruiz at Aljira

The Newark Museums little known, but significant, collection of Mexican crafts is the focus of Mexicana: Discovering Mexican Popular Arts, 1919-1950. Mexicana offers a critical view of The Newark Museums Mexican popular art collection by exploring the larger cultural context that fed the vogue for things Mexican, all the rage in the first half of the 20th century in the United States. Mexicana is by a related pop inspired collaboration between the Museum and Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art.

The institutions are located within a short walk of one another in the Downtown Newark Arts District. The exhibition at The Newark Museum will be on view through November 25. The Aljira exhibition closes June 30. Both exhibitions were curated by E. Carmen Ramos, Assistant Curator for Cultural Engagement at The Newark Museum.

The Newark Museum exhibit presents more than 100 objects — the majority on view for the first time — that were largely acquired by or donated to the Museum between 1919 and 1950 during a high point of American interest in Mexican art. To convey the important role artists played in the reevaluation of Mexican popular art, Mexicana includes several loan works by Mexican and American artists Miguel Covarrubias, Adolfo Best Maugard, Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, among others.

Concurrently, Aljira opens A Mexican Museum of Modern Art, an installation by acclaimed contemporary artist Franco Mondini-Ruiz. Marking his New Jersey premiere, Mondini-Ruiz, was invited to reflect on a time when Americans both admired and distorted Mexican culture. In response, Mondini-Ruiz commissioned piñata makers in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, to copy masterpieces of modern and contemporary art from Mondrian to Warhol.

Working through an intermediary, Mondini-Ruiz provided anonymous piñata makers with minimal direction such as a simple pencil sketch, dimensions and/or a photograph. A Mexican Museum of Modern Art is the result of this experiment in cross-cultural translation, coupled with Mondini-Ruizs artistic and deliberate sense of display.
Generous funding for both exhibitions was provided to The Newark Museum by The Wallace Foundation. Additional support for Mexicana was provided by the Prudential Foundation and the Mex-Am Cultural Foundation, Inc.

About The Newark Museum
The Newark Museum offers 80 galleries of world-class art and natural science. The Ballantine House, a national historic landmark, is also part of the museum experience. The Newark Museum is located on a 4.5 acre campus at 49 Washington Street in the Downtown/Arts District of Newark, New Jersey, just 3 blocks from NJPAC and 10 miles west of NYC. For general information, call 973-596-6550 or visit our web site, The Newark Museum, a not-for-profit museum of art, science and education, receives operating support from the City of Newark; the State of New Jersey; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the New Jersey Cultural Trust; and corporate, foundation and individual donors. Funds for acquisitions and activities other than operations are provided by members and other contributors.
About Aljira
Funding for Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art has been made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; Johnson & Johnson; JPMorgan Chase; Prudential Foundation; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Aljira is located at 591 Broad Street in downtown Newark. For directions visit our website at Phone 973 622-1600, fax 973 622-6526,
Media Contacts: Aljira
Sam Larson
973 622-1600
The Newark Museum
Lorraine McConnell

Newark Museum
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