Cultural Atlas: No Idle Hands at MOIFA

FOX New Mexico

It’s an artform that is surrounded in myth and misconception: Tramp Art.

The unmistakable style of cigar-box creations is often associated with the wayward men of the late 19th and early 20th century, otherwise known as “tramps” or “hobos.”  In actuality, the craft has its origins nestled deeply in domesticity.

“No Idle Hands: The Myths and Meanings of Tramp Art,” now showing at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, explores this art form, which was born out of men in Victorian England as well as the Americas looking for a way to pass the time.  They created boxes, picture frames, jewelry boxes — all out of discarded cigar boxes, wine crates and fruit baskets.

More than 150 works from 22 private collections are on display now through September of 2018.  For more information, visit

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