The Beauty of Use

Mingei International Museum at Thirty

On View

Jun 23, 2007 - Apr 30, 2008

Curated By

Bonnie Roche and Rob Sidner

This exhibition of masterworks from the permanent collection was on view at the Balboa Park location. In commemoration of the Museum’s 30th Anniversary Year, the exhibition featured significant objects from many cultures shown in relationships that highlighted similarities and differences among them—tools and utensils, clothing and adornment, furniture and vessels, ritual and ceremonial objects. Each of them, some with accompanying brief comments, revealed something of the essence of mingei.

On display were a series of doors from several cultures—commonly used, easily understood and aesthetically pleasing; a collection of nineteenth century, African tribal currency, each piece surprisingly large and ornately shaped; a group of masks including an opulent example of Amazonian feather work; ritual objects—India’s much-beloved, elephant-headed god Ganesha, intricately carved, among them and a selection of monumental containers including an ornate Plains Indian burden basket. Occupying its own alcove was a Sicilian donkey cart, covered with brightly painted and sculptural historical and mythological scenes and motifs.

Playing daily in the Warren Theater Gallery were the films:Village India— Arts of Compassion and Devotion; The Beaded Universe—Strands of Culture; Pre-Columbian Art—Marine Animal Forms; Silver and Silk—Textiles and Jewelry of Guizhou, China; Mingei of Japan—The Legacy of its Founders; Forms of Mother Earth—Contemporary Terra Cottas of India; and Elemental Art of the Indonesian Archipelago.

Exhibition enhancement events included lectures by V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D. on August 26, 2007, Martha Longenecker, Museum founder and director emerita on February10, 2008 and Roger Ricco on February 23, 2008.