Upcoming Lucas Museum Program Looks at Tarot and Lotería Cards through the Lens of Narrative Art, Oct. 18

Free evening program featuring artmaking, panel discussions, DJ, food trucks, cash bar, and more takes place in Exposition Park

  • Artworks by Alphonse Mucha from the Lucas Museum collections: Four Seasons - Spring - #1 of 4, c. 1896; Allegorie de la musique, c. 1898; La Plume, c. 1899

LOS ANGELES—On Friday, Oct. 18, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a new museum under construction in Exposition Park, presents Lucas Nights: The Art of the Card—Tarot and Lotería, an engaging evening exploring the classic card decks, which use imagery to communicate narratives about the human experience. Featuring tarot and Lotería card making, conversations with experts on the history of imagery used in these decks, live tarot readings and Lotería games, raffles, a DJ, food trucks, and a cash bar, this free program will offer many avenues for guests ages 21 and up to explore tarot and Lotería through the lens of narrative art.

“Our museum is dedicated to visual storytelling, and the imagery of tarot and Lotería is closely related to artworks in our collections,” said Erin M. Curtis, curator at the Lucas Museum. “Both tarot and Lotería cards were mass produced for broad audiences and have communicated powerful visual narratives across time.”

The imagery used in tarot and Lotería cards often incorporates media that are represented in depth throughout the Lucas Museum’s collections, including graphic and comic art, woodcuts, and illustration. Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, represented by more than 60 original works in the collections, created illustrations for posters and advertisements that have been adapted for tarot cards, including the popular Tarot Mucha deck.

“In the years before the museum opens to the public, we are using our public programming to highlight the ways narrative art shows up in our lives,” said Elizabeth Escamilla, director of education at the Lucas Museum. “Tarot and Lotería cards might not be the first things that come to mind when thinking of narrative art, but using both card decks is a practice in reading, understanding, and communicating visual narratives.”

In tarot, a reader interprets imagery on the cards to create narratives to illuminate a person’s past, present, and future and guide their decision making. In the Bingo-like game of Lotería, rather than name a card, the announcer often uses riddles or clever poems to describe it. For example, the El Sol (the sun) card might be announced by the caller as “La cobija de los pobres” (the roof of the poor). The similarities in tarot and Lotería may stem from their shared origination in 15th-century Italy, with Lotería making its way to Mexico via Spain in the late 1700s. Each may have changed over time and cultures, but the images persist and retain their compelling narratives.

On Friday, Oct. 18, participants of all skill levels will be able to create their own visual narratives on blank tarot and Lotería cards, watch live onstage tarot readings, sign up for free private readings, play Lotería for extra chances to enter a raffle for giveaways from Exposition Park partners, and listen to a live dublab DJ. Additionally, guests will be able to learn about the history of tarot and Lotería imagery through a panel conversation with Lucas Museum curator Erin M. Curtis, writer and scholar Gloria Arjona, and artist and tarot reader Marcella Kroll. Food trucks and a cash bar will be available throughout the night. This event will be held under the stars on Exposition Park’s South Lawn, just south of the Natural History Museum and just east of the Lucas Museum’s construction site. This event is free and 21+.

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About the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

As the first museum to focus exclusively on storytelling through images, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art believes that visual storytelling can connect us and help shape a more just society. With a growing collection that encompasses artworks from across cultures, places, times, and mediums, including paintings, sculptures, murals, photography, comic art, book and magazine illustrations, and the arts of filmmaking, the Lucas Museum will explore narrative art’s potential to prompt questions, invite opinions, inspire community, and move people to think about the impact of images on our world.

Co-founded by George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, the Lucas Museum was designed by renowned architect Ma Yansong of MAD Architects with Stantec as executive architect and is under construction in Los Angeles’s Exposition Park. An 11-acre campus with extensive new green space designed by Studio-MLA will embrace the museum’s 300,000-square-foot building, which will feature expansive galleries, two state-of-the-art theaters, and dedicated spaces for learning and engagement, dining, retail, and events.