Winged alebrije (Miguel Linares)
"Fowler in Focus: Curious Creatures From Mexican Popular Arts," on display at the Fowler Museum at UCLA from July 1 through Nov. 28, will feature approximately 40 objects from the Fowler’s significant collection of Mexican popular art in an installation that offers an intimate look at how animal figures are imaginatively crafted.
Ranging from familiar wildlife and domesticated species engaged in eccentric activities to wondrously whimsical beasts, the works draw on selected family and regional traditions in Mexico and highlight how varying artistic styles bring fantastic fauna to life.
An orchestra of miniature animalitos by the noted figural ceramist Teodora Blanco (1928–80) of Atzompa, Oaxaca, is juxtaposed with a selection of hoofed and winged acrobats posing in odd harmony by celebrated potter Herón Martínez Mendoza (1918–90) of Acatlán de Osorio. Woodcarvers Arsenio Morales, Susano Morales and Edilberto Cortes of Arrazola, Oaxaca, contribute brightly colored critters patterned after those one might encounter in fields or streams, but likely not in Mexico.
Moving from the fanciful to the ferocious, a series of otherworldly earthenware works from Ocumichu, Michoacan, brings viewers face to face with a snarling two-headed dog and a ravenous six-legged fiend, among other weird beings. And adding an even more fearsome touch to this menagerie are four sharp-fanged papier-mâché monsters, or alebrijes, by members of Mexico City’s renowned Linares family.
"Fowler in Focus: Creatures From Mexican Popular Arts" is curated by Patrick A. Polk, curator of Latin American and Caribbean popular arts at the Fowler Museum. Support comes from the Donald B. Cordry Memorial Fund.
The exhibition will be on view in the Fowler in Focus gallery, the central space within the long-term exhibition "Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives." Fowler in Focus is dedicated to rotating installations of new acquisitions, sub-collections and particular artistic genres in the Fowler’s permanent holdings.
The Fowler Museum at UCLA is one of the country’s most respected institutions devoted to exploring the arts and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas. The Fowler is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The Fowler Museum, part of UCLA Arts, is located in the north part of the UCLA campus. Admission is free. Parking is available for a maximum of $11 in Lot 4. , the public may call 310-825-4361 or visit www.fowler.ucla.edu.