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The Holiday Yards of Florencio Morales

The Holiday Yards of Florencio Morales

By Amy V. Kitchener
Series: Folk Art and Artists Series

Paperback : 9781617033322, 76 pages, June 2012

A richly detailed look at a Mexican American's spectacular yard exhibits commemorating holidays


Florencio Morales (1949-1992), a Mexican immigrant and Los Angeles artist who fashioned elaborate assemblages in his front yard, was known as "el hombre de las banderas" ("the man of the flags") because he always flew American, Mexican, and California flags over his home.

Illustrated with color photographs that show the brilliance of his art, this vibrant book explores and documents Morale's creative expression as he commemorated a profusion of Mexican and American holidays throughout the year. Over a period of twelve years until his death he created exhibits for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Valentine's day, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, the anniversary of the Treaty of Teoloyucan (August 13), and Mexican Independence Day. These displays served as settings for extravagant and spirited celebrations within the local community. Created from "found" materials and from bits and pieces gathered from scores of sources, Morales's assemblages intrigued and stimulated his audiences. His yard served as gathering places where strangers and friends could interact.

In ritual, folk art, legends, beliefs, foodways, and music, his yard exhibits express the vitality of Mexican folklore adapted to a new setting, urban Los Angeles. By drawing upon dynamic symbols from his heritage and combining elements from American and Mexican culture, Morales communicated his dual identity.

In acknowledging the artist's influences, motivations, and aesthetics, this fascinating book provides a rich understanding of the man and his art, as well as the interplay between the artist, his creations, and the community.