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La Otra Cara de Mexico Mask Museum and Gallery

Jacobo & Maria Luisa with yarn Kris Davidson Photo

By Barbara Erickson

The La Otra Cara de Mexico Mask Museum and Gallery is celebrating Day of the Dead this year with three special events: Oaxacan Folk Art Exhibit and Sale with Jacobo Mendoza, winner of Mexico FONART’s first prize for weaving and natural dye, and Blanca Gomez, folk carving and painting; a traditional altars talk by Heidi Lavasseur; and “Collecting Mexican Art: The Whimsy and Diversity,” a very special talk with James and Louise Murphy. The Murphys collected twentieth century abstract art and then … they moved to Mexico. Now those art pieces reside happily in the Murphys’ colorful light-filled home in Los Frailes surrounded by Mexican folk art pieces, “Especially Jacobo’s rugs,” says Louise. James adds, “Mendoza’s intricate geometric designs were a natural next step from our abstract collecting days.” The Murphys’ collection is diverse and growing, although the pieces keep getting finer and, lately, smaller, so they can find a niche in their art-filled home. Living with folk art is a way of connecting to Mexican culture as well as being a delight for the senses for the Murphys. “Honestly,” says Louise, a former middle school art teacher, “even on our first trips to Oaxaca, we were like kids in a candy store. The variety and fun of the pieces, the joy of finding treasures in the mercados and meeting local artists, including Jacobo, got us going.” After they moved to San Miguel in 2005 and met local collector and Galeria Atotonilco owner Mayer Shacter, the Murphys began collecting more seriously. James, a student of history and culture, says: “Folk art is a great way to become familiar with the diverse cultures in Mexico, to understand the belief systems and the connection with the pagan past.” The Murphys’ talk will touch on the breadth and variety of Mexican folk art and the path to collecting and enjoying folk art with a special emphasis on the importance of traditions like those of Jacobo Mendoza’s natural dyes and Zapotec designs—a special opportunity since Mendoza will be exhibiting and selling his amazing rugs. The exhibit includes Blanca Gomez with her whimsical painted wood carvings, an opportunity to visit the renowned La Otra Cara de Mexico Mask Museum and Gallery and not to be missed, the Day of the Dead Altar and Traditions Talk. Usually open by appointment only, Casa de la Cuesta’s La Otra Cara de Mexico Mask Museum with over 600 masks will be open during the exhibit. It is free, although a donation to the children’s charity Casa de Los Angeles is appreciated.


“Traditions of The Day of the Dead Altars”

Tue and Wed, Oct 31 and Nov 1, 1pm


“The Whimsy and Diversity of Collecting Folk Art”

Tue and Wed, Oct 31 and Nov 1, 1:30–4:30pm

Open House

Mask Museum and Weaving Exhibit and Sale

Tue and Wed. Oct 31 and Nov.1, 1:30–4:30pm

Nov. 2, 10am–2pm.

All events are in Casa de la Cuesta, Cuesta de San Jose 32, Colonia Azteca.

There is no admission fee for the Mask Museum or Exhibition.

For more information, call 154 4324


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