Organized by the American Folk Art Museum, an exhibition of over 100 outstanding works of art from its collection will be on view in New York City from May 14 - August 17, 2014. SELF-TAUGHT GENIUS – Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum will then travel across the country, and Mingei International Museum will be the only west coast museum to show the exhibition.

The exhibition will feature masterpieces in a variety of forms including textiles and needlework, ceramics, sculptural and carved figures, drawings, paintings, furniture, and much more, dating from the 18th century to the present. Rare treasures reflecting highly personal narratives, these works have been omitted from many presentations of American art, yet they offer crucial commentary within the ongoing national conversation. SELF-TAUGHT GENIUS reveals the challenges and triumphs of America as it emerged and enhances an understanding of our evolving national identity. Select objects from the Museum’s collection of American folk art will be included in its presentation in San Diego.

SELF-TAUGHT GENIUS is part of the AMERICAN ICONS Exhibition Series. Beginning in June 2014 and throughout 2015 the Museum will mount a series of exhibitions to celebrate the imagination, inspiration and innovation of Americans who have for more than three centuries created stunning works of folk art, craft and design – our shared American Icons. AMERICAN ICONS is generously sponsored by Just Folk.


On View: Apr 18, 2015 - Aug 16, 2015

More Exhibitions


Arline Fisch

One of a Kind

Featuring jewelry, body ornaments and a collection of knitted and crocheted wire hanging flowers and sea creatures by internationally-renowned artist, Arline Fisch.

June 17, 2017 - January 7, 2018


Indonesian Shadow Puppets

An intimate exhibition in the Museum’s Theater Gallery featuring a selection of shadow puppets from Indonesia.

July 19, 2017 - March 18, 2018


Art of the Americas

Pre-Columbian Art from Mingei's Collection

Part of the Getty Center-led initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, this exhibition offers the most comprehensive presentation to date of the Museum’s significant holdings of objects used by people from the ancient cultures of Mexico, Central and South America.

September 16, 2017 - February 18, 2018



Recycled and Embroidered Textiles of Bengal

Featuring approximately 40 kantha (decorative stitched quilting made from recycled sari) from the Museum's permanent collection.

October 28, 2017 - March 25, 2018


Weaving a Path

Navajo Women and the Feminine Ethos

December 9, 2017 - May 20, 2018