Santos: The Religious Folk Art of the Southwest

Short Description:

A temporary exhibition that traced the development of religious folk art in the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico from the 1700s to the 1970s.

Description:

A temporary exhibition that traced the development of religious folk art in the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico from the 1700s to the 1970s.

s:
<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p>

The exhibition contained more than 100 bultos, santos, and retablos installed in an environment similar to a village church of Northern Mexico, Arizona, or New Mexico. Bultos and santos (hand carved statues of saints) and retablos (religious paintings usually on wood) were used both in churches and homes.

<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p> thumbnail
<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p>

Most objects were displayed in altar-like settings without cases or vitrines. Simple unfinished wood railings kept visitors at a slight distance, while contributing to the cultural context.

<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p> thumbnail
<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p>

Layout of the gallery was based on the traditional floor plan of many small Southwest churches, in the shape of a cross, and with the main altar area flanked by smaller side altars.

<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p> thumbnail
<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p>

Large 1 foot by 1 foot aged beams framed doorways, arches, and panel tops. Display walls were plastered with a thin adobe mixture and whitewashed.

<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p> thumbnail
<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p>

The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.

<p>The concha, or shell pattern that appears on many of the works, was also used as a graphic element on exhibit furniture and altar facades.</p> thumbnail
Date:
1983
Client:
  • Oakland Museum of California
Roles:
Exhibition Designer, Fabrication and Installation
Footprint:
3,000 square feet