A focus exhibition of traditional Mexican nativities or nacimientos is on view at the Tyler Museum of Art (TMA). The works were selected from The Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican Folk Art in the Museum’s Permanent Collection as well as the loan from the Boeckman’s personal collection. The selected pieces show miniature scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ as interpreted by Mexican artists and are on display in the Museum lobby. Also known as crèches, a French term literally translating to “infant beds,” these examples will be on display throughout the holiday season. The works were created by artists in Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Jalisco, and Puebla, Mexico, and will be on display through Sunday, January 9 in the TMA lobby.
Didactic materials are available and have been produced in both English and Spanish and can be found next to the wall case. The nativities included in this exhibition are part of the The Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican Folk Art, one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collections of contemporary Mexican folk art, which was donated to the Museum by the Boeckmans in November. The couple collected these and other nativities over 25 years while they traveled into Mexico and parts of Latin America. The Boeckman Collection includes over 650 works of art from every state in Mexico, excluding Chiapas.
The exhibition includes a variety of different types of artworks, including nativity scenes, a tibor or vase, a candelabra that has been glazed with tin glaze and two tiny, hand-painted hen’s eggs. Materials employed by the artists include clay, wire, and acrylic, and less common materials such as a coconut and a walnut shell. Miniature shadow box nativities, such as those on view, demonstrate the long-standing tradition common in regions throughout Mexico of creating miniatures in various mediums, some as tiny as fleas set inside half shells of pistachios. These and other forms of Mexican folk art are used throughout the holiday season in order to commemorate and celebrate the special religious events that define traditional Mexican life and ritual.
The Tyler Museum of Art is supported by its members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the TMA is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during Museum hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.