Seeing Red

Color yourself crimson at the Museum of International Folk Art

Splash your Sunday with a hefty dose of primary color, as the Museum of International Folk Art unveils The Red That Colored the World, their contribution to the vibrant Summer of Color initiative.

"It's an exhibit that actually looks at the way that the cochineal insect—which is a parasite that originated in the Americas—has impacted art, economics, global trade, culture and science," Aurelia Gomez, the museum's deputy director, tells SFR.

Dubbed by Gomez as "one of our more ambitious exhibitions to date," Red spills over the Neutrogena and Hispanic Heritage wings and parts with what you'd usually see exhibited in the museum.

"It has artworks from all over the world, and we've had numerous couriers from New York, Spain, the Metropolitan to install very valuable works of art," Gomez advances. Pieces like an El Greco and vintage military uniforms and one of Napoleon Bonaparte's chairs. The exhibit also hosts Native American headdresses, a Fortuny gown and New Mexican (as well as Mexican) textiles.

While some of the elements that compose the show are considered fine art, Gomez insists they stay true to the Museum Hill institution's core values.

"The actual cultivation and processing of cochineal is a folk art form that was created by indigenous peoples in the Americas," she says, "so it's a folk art form that has application to fine arts in addition to folk arts."

The Red that Colored the World
1-4 pm Sunday, May 17
Museum of International Folk Art
706 Camino Lejo,

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