Mingei Museum founder Martha Longnecker died this month at 93. Her unique vision of the art of the everyday, mingei, continues to thrive worldwide. I am very grateful that I am a member of her museum and can benefit from her unique vision.
The Union Tribune says in its Obituary this morning, “Ms. Longenecker’s vision was inspired by the 20th century Japanese scholar Soetsu Yanagi, who coined the term mingei, meaning art of the people. Eschewing exhibits featuring pieces appealing to students of art history, the Mingei draws more than 100,000 visitors annually to view collections ranging from the evolution of hair combs from around the world to woven mats and chairs.”
The current shows contain chairs….wonderful everyday things chairs. There’s also Ironwork by a C. Carl Jennings, a California artist and ironsmith, and the jewelry, ceramics, wood work, and furniture of Allied Craftsmen next to it. In a far away corner is a small show on Charm quilts. They certainly charmed me…almost leading me to my sewing machine again.
For Ms. Longenecker’s view of the art of the people leads us to creativity whether it’s a big invention or some tiny change. She stirred the imagination with this gallery in the heart of Balboa Park, and her vision has spread its wings out into the world.
Life is Really in the Footnotes: