L.A. Hosts Piñata Art Exhibit and We Promise These Piñatas Are the Most Intricate Ones You’ve Ever Seen

You’ve definitely seen piñatas smashed into a hundred pieces at a cumple — or likely even had one at your own birthday party — but you probably haven’t seen them on display as works of art. Well, a Los Angeles art exhibition has officially changed all that with the Craft In America exhibit, Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration.

Organizers hope that the exhibit will help re-envision the party staple by connecting it with what’s happening in the world through social and political commentary. But does it make sense for piñatas to be taken so seriously? That’s one of the questions that comes up when visiting the exhibition and seeing the beautiful pieces of piñata-inspired art.

This Los Angeles art exhibit is elevating the traditional party staple to a ‘high art’ form but what does that mean?

In what is a first for Los Angeles, Craft In America is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the tradition of piñatas. And yes, that may be hard to believe but, according to the exhibition’s organizers it’s a fact. The piñata has long been a staple at birthday parties and celebrations all over the U.S. and Mexico. These often colorful creations typically represent fun, festivity, and of course, their potential to split open and release candy and other treats.

But Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration wants to examine the identity of the piñata beyond this superficial level and explore the evolution of traditional construction techniques and the piñata’s larger cultural implications that have taken it beyond its Mexican heritage.

The exhibition, which features works by 50 artists from both the U.S. and Mexico, has piñatas that are truly works of art. Many serve as conversations about culture and relevant issues, including ones inspired by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine.

The magical lineup of piñatas: see it to believe it.

Some of the standouts from the piñata exhibition include works by Amorette Crespo, who began making piñatas back in 2017. On view at Craft In America, are her piñatas that reference pop culture icons including Selena, a Ballet Folklorico dancer and a bag of Hot Cheetos.

Justin Favela, a Las Vegas-based artist, is best known for large-scale installations and sculptures that speak to the intersection of American pop culture and his Latinx identity.

Giovanni Valderas offers very relevant political commentary with his piece, Casita Triste. In this piece, he draws inspiration from the brightly painted homes often found in Latinx communities, which are largely disappearing thanks to gentrification.

Other featured artists include Yesenia Prieto, Roberto Benavidez, and Diana Benavidez.

The history of the piñata is a humble one, deeply rooted in Mexican culture.

Although the tradition of piñatas are believed to have originated in Europe as a clay pot filled with treats from Christian rituals, piñatas are an undeniably deeply rooted Mexican tradition. By their very nature — being made from humble and cheap materials — they’re easily accessible and can be created to take on practically any form, creature, shape, figure, or idea.

Considering just how ubiquitous and popular piñatas are in cultures all over the world, it’s surprising that this cultural art form has largely been unexamined from a ‘high art’ point of view.

Thankfully, you can visit the gallery in person at the Craft In America center in Los Angeles. Or you can view the exhibition’s virtual gallery here.

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