Transforming Tradition: Pottery from Mata Ortíz

Mexico’s Casas Grandes culture, which flourished during 1100-1450 A.D, specialized in making coiled pots that were sculpted, fired, and painted in a elaborate process that artists today refer to as La Lucha, or “the Struggle.” 

Around the time of the Spanish Conquest, the Casas Grandes culture vanished, and the tradition of making these handcrafted pots (or ollas) was lost for nearly four centuries.

This exhibition presents the work of contemporary artists from the town of Mata Ortíz, who have rediscovered the artistic tradition of their ancient ancestors and mastered the art of creating some of the finest contemporary ceramic vessels in the country.  See over twenty exquisite ollas that show off intricate geometric painting and incising, as well as ceramic vessels from the 14th - and 15th -century Casas Grandes culture that inspired its modern-day revival.

Gallery Requirements
Approximately 1200 ft2 (110 m2); no direct sunlight in gallery
26 pottery vessels, jars, and effigies; electronic label text and graphics; accompanying PBS video featuring master artisan Juan Quezada at work; cases available upon request
All text in English; language may be converted by international host venues


Contact Us

  • Lindsay Washburn, Traveling Exhibitions Manager
    (001) 312-665-7311
  • Amy Bornkamp, Senior Manager of Exhibition Planning & Partnerships
    (001) 312-665-7404
  • Hilary Hansen, Traveling Exhibitions Manager
    (001) 312-665-7370