University of San Francisco Partners with The Mexican Museum to Present Dobles Vidas

Showcasing vibrant Mexican folk art from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection, Aug. 18-Dec. 12

SAN FRANCISCO – July 31, 2014

The University of San Francisco’s Thacher Gallery is pleased to announce its second collaboration with The Mexican Museum to present folk art traditions from Mexico. The exhibition, Dobles Vidas: Folk Art from The Mexican Museum, will showcase more than 60 artworks that explore the many stories an object can tell about the people, places, and traditions of those who create, use, and collect them. From Huichol yarn paintings to wooden animals, ceramic muñecas to barro negro, Dobles Vidas examines the many facets of folk art in Mexico as a way to build understanding. Located inside USF’s Gleeson Library, the Thacher Gallery is free and open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

As the title Dobles Vidas (Double Lives) suggests, this exhibit focuses on the lives and stories that folk art encompasses. While the majority of folk artists remain anonymous, Dobles Vidas introduces viewers to a number of Mexico’s internationally-recognized artists—Doña Rosa, Teodora Blanco, Josefina Aguilar, and Pedro Linares—as well as major collectors such as Nelson A. Rockefeller who brought Mexico’s folk art traditions to the attention of the New York art establishment in 1940.

Dobles Vidas includes works from nine of Mexico’s states, looking at the ways that locale—which regions artworks comes and where they are commonly used, whether it be in the home, church or elsewhere—influences the materials and aesthetics of a particular artwork. Focusing on place, gallery visitors will discover the many ways that function influences form, with a focus on ceramics from Jalisco, Oaxaca, Pueblo and Mexico City.

This exhibition also presents masks and hats used in indigenous ceremonies as well as objects used to commemorate important Mexican religious festivals such as Day of the Dead and Day of the Virgin Guadalupe. In contrast, the exhibit also celebrates artists’ imaginations and innovations. Perhaps best known among these are the fantastical paper maché alejibres first imagined by Pedro Linares during a fever-induced hallucination in the 1940s. Today the alebrije is synonymous with Mexican folk art.

Dobles Vidas is the second collaboration between The Mexican Museum and the University of San Francisco’s Thacher Gallery and Masters in Museum Studies Program. Drawn from The Mexican Museum’s extensive collection of more than 7,000 pieces of folk art, the exhibit highlights works from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection.

Dobles Vidas Events

The Dobles Vidas exhibit opens August 18 and includes a number of events that are free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend the following:

  • Tuesday, August 26, from 2-4 p.m.: An insider’s introduction and opening reception will take place in the gallery.
  • Sunday, September 28, 12:30-2:30 p.m.: “Community Folk Art Festival for the Family” replete with live music, dance, hands-on arts demonstrations, and bilingual tours.
  • Tuesday, October 21 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.: USF will host Evelyn Orantes, curator of Public Practice for the Oakland Museum and Ani Rivera, executive director of Galería de la Raza. These community leaders will discuss the role that Day of the Dead programming plays in community-building and celebrating Mexican culture. The Oct. 21 lecture will take place in the McLaren Conference Center on the USF campus.

Dobles Vidas: Folk Art from The Mexican Museum will run from August 18 to December 12, 2014.

The Mary and Carter Thacher Gallery is housed at the core of the University of San Francisco’s Gleeson Library/Geschke Learning Resources Center. For more than ten years, it has been a cultural crossroads at the heart of the USF campus. It provides a dynamic venue for the display of important historical and contemporary art and artifacts with shows running throughout the year that are free and open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. daily. For more information about the Thacher Gallery, please visit

About the Mexican Museum

The Mexican Museum, initially located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, was founded in 1975 by San Francisco resident and artist, Peter Rodríguez. The Museum was the realization of Mr. Rodríguez’s vision that an institution be created in the United States to exhibit the aesthetic expression of the Mexican and Mexican-American people. Today, the Museum’s vision has expanded to reflect the evolving scope of the Mexican, Chicano, and Latino experience. In 2012, The Mexican Museum became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the nation’s largest museum network, and currently has a permanent collection of more than 15,500 objects reflecting Pre-Hispanic, Colonial, Popular, Modern and Contemporary Mexican, Mexican-American, Latin American, Latino, and Chicano art. For more information, please visit:

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world's most innovative and stunning cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco's first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student's passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World from Here.” For more information, please visit

Media Contacts

Victoria Sanchez De Alba
De Alba Communications (for The Mexican Museum)
(650) 270-7810 /

Anne-Marie Devine
USF Senior Director of Media Relations
(415) 422-2697 /