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Grandes Maestros at Natural History Museum

Grandes Maestros NHM Mexico JPriest

I am starting Saturdays in So Cal back up again! Each month I will share cool places to visit in So Cal several Saturdays throughout the month. Earlier this year I visited the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, CA as part of the We All Grow Summit I attended. The museum was wonderful, and you can see my tour of it here, but within the museum is an art exhibition featuring Iberoamerican folk art. With the close of the exhibit in just a few weeks on September 13, 2015, I thought it was a great time to share about it so you can visit and enjoy these works before they hit the road for good.

Grandes Maestros NHM Sign JPriest

The exhibit opens with a map showing Iberoamerica with details about each country and the artists from each region. Grandes Maestros features work from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All of the folk art pieces are grouped by medium so that each display has pieces from multiple countries and artists.

Grandes Maestros NHM Iberoamerica JPriest

Grandes Maestros features more than 900 works made by approximately 600 artists. The pictures I took here don't even show a fraction of the works in the collection and the tour guide told us that she sees something new every time she visits.

Grandes Maestros NHM Beading JPriest

The beaded piece above was one of my favorites. Intricate patterns were definitely a common theme through all of the works. The other thing I noticed was how race was expressed in the works, such as the obvious black faces in the piece below. This piece shows blacks celebrating alongside whites and latinos in a parade. It was interesting to see how race was celebrated and documented through many of the works. It definitely contrasts the story told of race here in the US.

Grandes Maestros NHM Black Face JPriest

So many mediums were used, from tin to aluminum to glass to clay to wood… it seemed as though expressions was inevitable through whatever medium was close at hand in every region.

Grandes Maestros NHM Bolivia Tin JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Candelabra JPriest

I felt there was a bit of humor in some of the pieces as well, such as this clay dog sculpture that shows an obviously fat little Chihuahua. My commentary aside, here are some more photos of the exhibits and pieces I thought were really striking and significant.

Grandes Maestros NHM Chihuahua JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Clay Jaguar 2 JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Clay Jaguar JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Clay JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Guatemala Dress JPriest

This piece was created from foil gum wrappers:

Grandes Maestros NHM Gum Wrapper JPriest

Hat making is a traditional art in Colombia as these woven hats show:

Grandes Maestros NHM Hats JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Jaguar JPriest

La Calavera Catrina made an appearance in paper mache, inspired by José Guadalupe Posada.

Grandes Maestros NHM La Llarona JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Paper Mache Girl JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Paper Mache JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Saddle JPriest


Grandes Maestros NHM Spanish Pots Moor JPriest

Grandes Maestros NHM Wood Enamel and Inlaid with Shell JPriest

Curated by Cándida Fernández de Calderón, Director or Fomento Cultural Banamex in Mexico City and living leaders of folk art, the exhibit has already traveled across the globe before being displayed at the Natural History Museum. Museum general admission has a maximum fee of $12 and under with an additional fee for the Grandes Maestros exhibit. Take a drive down the museum and pack a picnic lunch to eat in the gardens or lawns outside of the museum. You can visit nearby La Brea Tar Pits on the same trip and then hit DTLA's Garment District for back to school shopping before heading home.

Planning Your Trip:

  • Location: Natrual History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007
  • Phone: 213-763-DINO
  • Website: nhm.org
  • Cost (additional fee for Grandes Maestros exhibit): $20 per adult, kids prices are $15 and below.
  • Food: There are lots of great local places to eat but pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the lawns in front of the museum

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Keep up with our adventures, craft ideas, and frugal living tips by subscribing to the Just JP Newsletter.

Jennifer Signature Block-JUST JP May 2015



About the Author

Author Profile

Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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  1. I hope this exhibit comes to visit us to North Ca, it looks so interesting and the artwork so beautiful. Thanks for sharing

  2. Jennifer, I was wondering if you knew the story behind the skeleton in the hat? I was intrigued by that piece and would love to know more about it. Thank you and have a great day! Sheri Ann

    1. It was made by a famous family that does paper mache in Mexico but I can’t remember the details.

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