The Smallest of Worlds
October 9, 2013–August 31, 2014
This fall, the Oakland Museum of California unveils a selection of intricate dioramas from the collection of celebrated San Francisco artist Rex May. Possibly best known for designing the iconic 49-Mile Scenic Drive sign, Rex May had a great effect on the popularization of Latin American folk art, with a collection of over 1,400 Peruvian, Brazilian, Nicaraguan, and Mexican pieces.
The four dioramas on display capture everyday Mexican street scenes such as a flower market and a cantina, with figures created by the Aguilar family, artisans from Oaxaca. The dollhouse-like pieces portray fleeting moments in a truly unique and nostalgic way, evoking a playfulness that brings the depicted figures, buildings, and objects to life.
The installation in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art is inspired by the unique aesthetic of Rex May’s home, in which these dioramas were displayed amongst his vast collection of artwork.
The Smallest of Worlds is made possible in part by generous support from the Oakland Museum Women’s Board.