Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration Catalog
Piñatas, ubiquitous and often the focal point of parties and festive occasions across the U.S., are handcrafted and ephemeral objects that signify happiness, joy, release, and celebration. This exhibition touches on the role that they play in modern material culture and how they are made to embody social commentary, along with the ways that artists address piñatas as conceptual and technical launching points for their vision.
The work of traditional piñata artisans is presented alongside the creations of artists who reinvent and reinterpret the piñata through engaging sculptural practices. The contemporary artists featured in this exhibition reconsider the techniques, materials, form, function, and notion of the piñata, forming a new language for expression.
Piñatas are a deeply rooted Mexican tradition that has become widespread and beloved across cultures. Piñatas are accessible by nature and made from relatively humble materials. They are shapeshifters that can be created to take any form, be that of a creature, shape, figure, or idea. Considering their popularity in our lives and how many memories are made around piñata play, this contemporary form of cultural craft has been relatively unexamined.
As creators of material culture, craft makers design and build the relics of our everyday, modern world. This exhibition touches on the ephemeral and performative nature of certain forms of craft. Craft today plays a part in our traditions, our celebrations, our relationships, and it deepens how we experience life, even when it is destroyed or discarded after use.
Piñatas are intertwined with childhood experiences, gatherings of family and friends, and celebratory turning points in life– all of which have become much more precious to us in this era of COVID. As markers of these events, piñatas have new resonance and meaning today. They continue to be shaped to reflect changing times. This exhibition spotlights makers who creatively generate these objects in response to our shifting world.
Printed copies of this catalog are available on Blurb for $15.
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The Craft in America Center is supported in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. www.culturela.org
The Craft in America Center is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. www.lacountyarts.org