Folk Art is a treasure, and Lloyd’s Treasure Chest offers a participatory gallery experience highlighting the Museum’s permanent collection of over 136,000 objects of international folk art from over 100 countries, representing thousands of unique cultures. Because the entire collection can never be on view at the same time, collections are carefully stored and cared for in rooms such as our Neutrogena Vault, which visitors can view from the Treasure Chest gallery.
Visitors are invited to think about folk art. In fact, there is no one definition of folk art. In collecting and displaying folk art, the museum considers various concepts: Folk art is traditional art, reflecting shared cultural aesthetics, community values, priorities, and social issues. Folk art may change over time and include innovations in traditions. Folk art is handmade, although it may include new, synthetic, or recycled components. Folk art may constitute income and empowerment for an individual, a family, or a community. Folk art may be art of the everyday or reserved for special occasions. Folk art may be learned formally or informally, from family or other artists. Folk art may be intangible, including various forms of expressive culture like dance, song, poetry, and food ways. Folk art is of, by, and for the people. We mean all people, inclusive of class, culture, community, ethnicity, and religion. Together, we can consider the multitude of perspectives and come closer to understanding “What is Folk Art?”
Rotating thematic displays will offer close-up views of the museum’s folk art collection. In collaboration with the New Mexico History Museum’s exhibition Syria: Cultural Patrimony Under Threat, opening June 23 a display of Syrian folk art opens June 4, 2017. Hands on activities appropriate for ages 3 to 103 in the gallery include: coloring activities, origami and a Javanese musical instrument. The cultural context of folk art can be explored with a map, book area. The notion that Folk Art may be intangible is explored with a musical instrument: a gender, a gamelan instrument The re-opening brings back some old favorites from past exhibitions, including “Last of the Red Hot Lovers”, an American sculpture made from recycled metal by artist Dwight Martinek (aka “Wild Willie”), “The Followers of Ghandi” by renowned Master Folk artists Nek Chand, and a Wedding Rickshaw from Bangladesh.