AMERICAN EXPRESSIONS OF LIBERTY reflected the living traditions of creative expression and Yankee ingenuity beginning with early American folk art and continuing through selected contemporary crafts. Representing all media, the exhibition included many patriotic symbols such as the flag, the eagle, the Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam. The contemporary crafts were the essence of freedom and quality of expression and were represented with selections from the permanent collection of Mingei International Museum. The Museum of American Folk Art in New York collaborated on the exhibition, its documentary publication, and videotape. Other major loans were from the collections of Michael Del Castello, and Margaret and Bill Pearson.
This major exhibition inaugurated the new museum facility on the Plaza de Panama of Balboa Park. It included in a major section, THE DENTZEL CAROUSEL MENAGERIE — A Five-Generation, Living Tradition (installed in the Taylor Gallery). The great majority of objects were on loan from the collection of Marion W. and William H. Dentzel, II, and Family, with additional pieces from the Freels Collection and the American Carousel Museum, San Francisco. A documentary publication/1997 calendar, THE DENTZEL CAROUSEL MENAGERIE was published in conjunction with the exhibition.
Special public events related to the exhibition included an illustrated lecture by Dr. Gerard C. Wertkin, Director of The Museum of American Folk Art, New York City; a carving demonstration by William H. Dentzel, III; and an illustrated lecture by him and Marion W. Dentzel on the history of carousels.
The exhibition was funded in part by the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.
The Mingei International exhibition documentary publication, AMERICAN EXPRESSIONS OF LIBERTY—Art of the People, by the People, for the People, was made possible by Roger C. Cornell and by the revolving publication funds of Seymour E. Clonick and Sydney Martin Roth. The Mingei International exhibition documentary videotape was made possible by an anonymous foundation.