It was raining hard our last day in Paris, so instead of wandering around Montmartre, we decided on Musée Quai Brainly. This museum houses primitive art from all over the world. Its design was very controversial–there is a long ramp up with nothing to see, and then you are in dimly lit halls with many small, box-like rooms. But the content of the halls is so stunning that I forgot the strangeness of the museum. Paintings, totems, sculptures, clothing, ornaments…it is all there and all amazing. But one of the most stunning exhibits was right at the entrance, a VW bug covered with Huichol beading. Almost anyone who has seen Mexican crafts has seen little bowls or figurines with thousands of colorful beads pressed into wax. This was a whole car, mirrors, hubcaps and all, decorated with the rivers, serpents and birds of Huichol artisans.
If you get a glimpse of the process…you have some idea of how astonishing this work is.
This seems to be making the rounds of museums, a traveling exhibit in more ways than one, so perhaps you’ll have a chance to see it. In any case, this museum was a real change of pace from the impressionist works we’d been absorbing for the past few days, and well worth it.