The Red that Colored the World
The exhibition combines historical and contemporary works from different cultures to examine the power of RED—more particularly, the red pigment produced from the cochineal bug, a parasite of the prickly pear cactus. The Red That Colored the World is comprised of fifty-one artworks including textiles, paintings, sculptures, and furnishings from the Americas, Europe, and Asia ranging in time and culture from a loin cloth made in Pre-Columbian Peru to a silk gown created in 2014 by the contemporary Navajo fashion designer Orlando Dugi.
As the exhibition illustrates, the rainbow of reds produced by the cochineal had a worldwide economic significance for the Spaniards that only diminished with the invention of artificial dyes.
Silk and wool pieces from Indonesia and Uzbekistan; retablos, bultos, decorated boxes, and blankets from Spanish colonial America; and nineteenth-century Native American clothing as well as the work of contemporary textile designers illustrate the cultural diffusion and symbolic importance of cochineal red. Sections that explore the harvesting and science of the cochineal through text, photos, and videos enhance the understanding of the color and its continued popularity.
Programs and events will be offered for adults and children throughout the exhibition. Check the museum’s website for details.
This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM, with funding in part provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is circulating through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions.