FOWLER MUSEUM, UCLA, Three Exciting New Exhibits: Prints, Fiber Art, and Yarn Paintings; Los Angeles, CA

Huichol Yarn Painting, on exhibit at the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, CA
One of my favorite places to take visitors to Los Angeles is the Fowler Museum, located at UCLA near the bottom of the Janss Steps, not far from central campus. It is dedicated to exploring world arts and cultures, especially Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Last weekend I visited to see three recently opened shows: Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayon; Uncommon Threads: The Box Project; and The Spun Universe: Huichol Yarn Paintings from Mexico. All were amazing.

Prints by Cuban artist Belkis Ayon
The prints of Belkis Ayon are huge–actually assemblages of multiple plates to make mural size pieces. Most are black and white, which increases the dramatic effect and emphasizes the many textures that make up the design. The subjects of many of the prints are from stories connected to the Afro-Cuban fraternal society Abakua. Belkis Ayon (1967-1999) used a technique called collography, which fastens a variety of materials onto cardboard to make a printing plate which is then put through a press. You can see her at work in a video that is part of the exhibition. Nkame (a word synonymous with “greeting” and “praise” in the language of Abakuá) is on exhibit October 2, 2016 to February 12, 2017.

The Uncommon Threads Box Project
For the Uncommon Threads Box Project a number of international fiber artists were invited to create works that could be fit in a standard size box. The results are displayed along with larger works by the artists. The amazing part of this exhibit is both the variety of materials and the range of interpretation of what it means to fit into a box.

Fabric covered blocks by James Bassler
In some cases, the finished fabric was folded or rolled into a box while other artists turned the fabric into a box or, in one case, blocks. The exhibit will be on view September 11, 2016 to January 15, 2017.

Detail of Huichol Yarn Painting
The Huichol Yarn paintings in The Spun Universe exhibit can by seen in a small gallery within the larger Intersections gallery. Colored yarn is the “paint” used to produce the radiant colors and intricate designs in these traditional works created by the Wixarika people of Western Mexico. The yarn is turned and twisted and affixed to a wooden board with beeswax. The designs, inspired by mythology and shamanic visions, feature animals, human figures, plants and other ritual objects. The “paintings” are stunning viewed both close-up to see the intricate details, and at a distance where they have a poster-like boldness. The exhibit will be on view August 14, 2016 to December 4, 2016.
Large Huichol Yarn Painting--our favorite in the exhibit
Selected items from the Fowler’s huge collection are in an ongoing exhibit called  Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives. Another gallery has a permanent display of the Francis E. Fowler, Jr. Collection of Silver. So there is always much to see at the museum.
And, a must when you visit the Fowler, is a stop at the excellent gift shop with its changing selection of merchandise that is coordinated with current exhibitions.
Six paneled print by Belkis Ayon

The Fowler Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 5 pm and 8 pm on Wednesday.
Admission is FREE.
For directions and parking, click HERE.

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