October 30, 2014
By Bill Blankenship
Perfect for the Halloween season, the Mulvane Art Museum will open on Friday the art exhibit “Hermosos Huesos,” which translates to “Beautiful Bones.”
The collection of 13 lavishly costumed and accessorized skeleton figures created by New Mexico artist Wayne Hilton are part of a citywide celebration of the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which has its roots in indigenous Mexican beliefs and rites and the Roman Catholic solemnities of All Souls and All Saints.
The Mulvane is presenting “Hermosos Huesos” in partnership with the Tonantzin Society of Kansas, the nonprofit educational group dedicated to promoting Latino art and culture. This is the third year the Tonantzin Society has organized Dia de los Muertos activities.
There will be a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at the museum for Hilton, who grew up less than an hour from the U.S.-Mexican border in Las Cruces, N.M., where his parents operated a popular vintage clothing and antique shop. After graduating from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in costume design, Hilton opened his own vintage clothing and costume shop.
Three years in design and construction and produced in collaboration with a number of other creative people living on the border, “Hermosos Huesos” celebrates both the folk culture of Mexico and the creative mind of Jose Guadalupe Posada, a prolific illustrator who created more than 20,000 drawings, etchings and woodcuts.
In 1910, Posada created his most famous etching, “The Catrina Calavera,” which depicts a laughing female skeleton with an elaborate flowered hat. The design has become inextricably linked with the iconography of the Day of the Dead, which almost always depicts the dead as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.
“Hermosos Huesos” includes eight 14-inch figures in elaborate 7-foot-tall cases that provide a thematic environment for each character and five 7-foot-tall “life-size” skeletons, all of which combine elements from Posada’s work, as well as ideas and techniques developed by Hilton. The figures and cases are made of reclaimed and repurposed materials. Hilton will be donating boxes of remnants and objects from the project to the museum’s ArtLab and conducting creative activities with students and others during his visit.
“Hermosos Huesos” will be on display through Dec. 20.
The Mulvane, which is located about a block south of the S.W. 17th and Jewell entrance to campus, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and closes Mondays, Sundays and Nov. 23 through Dec. 1 for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Source: The Topeka Capital-Journal