Blue Gold | Mingei International Museum
On View

Sep 14, 2024 - Mar 16, 2025

Curated By

Guest Co-Curated by Barbara Hanson Forsyth, Co-Curated by Emily Hanna

Blue Gold highlights the roles of botany, chemistry, medicine, ecology, and economics in indigo cultivation.

Part of the Getty’s 2024 Pacific Standard Time initiative, Blue Gold is focused on the intertwined histories of art and science, past and present, addressing some of the most complex challenges of our century. Featuring stunning objects of creative expression, coupled with scientific study and explanation, Mingei’s exhibition will present indigo as a compelling manifestation of art and science.

Indigo—a varied plant family that grows worldwide and the deep, blue dye it produces—has a long and multifaceted history of cultivation, production, and distribution. Blue Gold combines science, craft, and history to explore this color’s complex past and present. Indigo’s beauty and ubiquity have eclipsed the unpleasant realities of its growth and manufacture, including hard labor and pollution, and its association with colonialism and slavery. As a pigment, indigo has been assigned protective properties, healing powers, and dangerous qualities that have shaped its uses in craft and the arts.

The exhibition highlights the roles of botany, chemistry, medicine, ecology, and economics in indigo cultivation. Contemporary craftspeople and artists working with indigo, such as Laura Kina and Porfirio Gutierrez, address questions about the sustainability of indigo, its problematic legacies, and technological alternatives to manual processing.

Press Materials

Exhibition Preview

Jacket, China, White Collared Miao, Collection of Mingei International Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Allen Chao and The Hamilton White Foundation, 199851247.
Third Phase Chief’s Blanket, U.S.A., Navajo-Diné, 1890 — 1910, Collection of Mingei International Museum, Gift of Mingei International Connoisseurs and Michael & Susan Waldman, 200565001.

Exhibition Programming

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Explore folk art, craft, and design from across cultures and time.