TRAVELOGUE: Mexican Folk Art from the Collection and Travels of James and Coke Hallowell


Over the last fifty years, the Hallowell family have visited various states and regions within México as part of an annual tradition.    While on these trips, the couple has amassed a sizable collection of works which range from crudely carved balsa wood figures to spectacular pottery with intricately inlaid silver adornments. 

“I wouldn’t say that we’re ‘art collectors’ in the traditional sense” said the matriarch of the family.  “If James and I are drawn to certain works of art, we buy the ones that we actually doesn’t matter to the two of us if the artist who created it is well-known or not.” 

Through these yearly trips, the Hallowells have acquired works by artists who are now legendary.  James remembers the first time that they were introduced to sculptor Felipe Castañeda, whose works are part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Art History in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. 

“We had seen his work in a gallery, and a taxi driver took us right to his home...and he invited us right in,” he said.  “I remember that there was a baby crawling around the floor of his studio where he was creating new works ...we purchased a beautiful sculpture that we’re very proud of.”

The majority of the artwork on view as part of this exhibition was purchased from directly from artists, but there is scarce information about the origins of the various works.   With the exception of only a few, little to no
information is available as to the name of the artwork or  artists that created them.  

The curator has also included over a dozen photographs taken directly from one of the family photo albums.  The  pictures are often candid and were taken using simple point-and-shoot cameras and give an insider’s look to their annual family trips.
 The works in this gallery are displayed throughout the Hallowell’s home alongside other culturally-specific folk art.  Their extensive collection includes works that originate in the traditions of African, Inuit, Asian, as well as a variety of Central and South American countries.   

TRAVELOGUE exhibition curated by:
Rebecca Caraveo