What could be a better challenge for a field anthropologist in rural Mexico than to work in the leading contemporary art museum in Mexico City? When the Museo Tamayo (later named Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporáneo) decided to feature traditional Mexican textiles as its major new exhibition, I was challenged to my "anthropological core" to learn to view indigenous clothing and utilitarian textiles as "art." The exercise well worth every moment when visitors were awe-struck with the splashes of color, bold stripes, huge photo-murals and "trees of huipiles" which soared to the top of the Museo's 30-foot ceilings. Visited by several hundred thousand, this exhibition became a landmark in Mexican museum annals in the sheer beauty of the installation, the quality of the textiles and the way that it asked visitors to see indigenous textiles for the true artistry and aesthetic richness they embody.
As a traveling exhibition, Mexican Textiles was a great success at New York's IBM Gallery, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Ethnografiskamuseet, Stockholm, The Field Museum (Chicago), The Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC) and the Mt. Holyoke College Museum of Art (South Hadley, MA).