Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Rebozo in process, 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

Craft in California and Mexico: New Roles in Contemporary Culture

The exhibition Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985 explores how this cross-cultural dialogue enriched the architecture and design of these two places, tracing the story from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego through the 1984 L.A. Olympics. But while the show ends there, the cultural connections between California and Mexico remain strong into the present.

This Saturday, we will delve into this ongoing conversation in Craft in California and Mexico: New Roles in Contemporary Culture, a symposium co-hosted by LACMA and Craft in America. Beginning in the 1920s, Mexican traditional crafts have been revered both north and south of the border, while California’s experiments in making have redefined the field since mid-century. The day-long program examines how contemporary artists, designers, and craftspeople in Mexico and California transform these legacies to new ends.

James Bassler, photo courtesy Craft in America

Installation photograph of James Bassler, Huipil, 1974, in Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 19151985, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, September 17, 2017–April 1, 2018

The keynote address will be given by California artist James Bassler, who lived in Oaxaca in the 1970s. He will reflect on how the celebrated textile traditions of the region impacted his own work as a weaver and how he incorporated the ideas and techniques he learned in Mexico into his teaching at UCLA.

Designer Marisol Centeno collaborates with artisan Karina Gutiérrez at Bi Yuu in Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, image courtesy Marisol Centeno

Sami Hayek, Barro Negro Coffee Table (detail), image courtesy of the designer

Maestro Ángel Santos works on burnished clay cups for Tributo in Tonalá, Jalisco, image courtesy of Laura Noriega

dosa's Corzaon Milagro project in Ejutla de Crespo, Oaxaca, image courtesy of dosa

Oaxaca continues to be a destination for craft. In the morning panel, contemporary designers Marisol Centeno, Sami Hayek, Christina Kim, and Laura Noriega discuss their collaborations with artisans there and in Jalisco. Introducing new approaches to traditional practices, such as weaving and barro negro (black clay) pottery, these designers reflect on issues such as authorship, gender, preservation, and sustainability that are raised by their projects.

Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, image courtesy of Craft in America

Gerardo Monterrubio, image courtesy of Craft in America

Tanya Aguiñiga installing her work in Lineas: New Modes of Contemporary Urbanism at MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, 2010, image courtesy of Craft in America

In the afternoon, artists Tanya Aguiñiga, Gerardo Monterrubio, and Consuelo Jimenez Underwood address the way their work, using craft media, explores gender and political issues together with their own Mexican/American identities.

The event will also include a screening of Borders, the latest documentary from Craft in America.

Presented by LACMA in collaboration with Craft in America. Organized in conjunction with the LACMA exhibition Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985 and the Craft in America Center exhibition Mano-Made: New Expression in Craft by Latino Artists.