Archive for July 22, 2008

A day in Mexico City

Posted in Frida Kahlo on July 22, 2008 by xxxicana

Today I visited two museums: Modern Art and the Rufino Tamayo Museum. I wanted to check out the Museum of Modern Art because it is the home of the “The Two Fridas.”

Unfortunately, this painting is on tour 😦

But, there was a new exhibit of Remedios Varo, which was WAY COOL. Here’s a photo of one of her paintings. This one is titled “Useless Science or the Alchemist.” I love this painting.

The quality of my photo isn’t very good since I couldn’t use a flash (of course). But you get the picture . . . (haha, little pun). If you aren’t familiar with Varo, she was a Spaniard, moved to Paris, fled due to the Nazis to Mexico in 1941 until her death in 1963. Unlike Frida Kahlo, Varo admitted that her work was influenced by the surrealists. Her work has a fantastical aspect to it that still resonates today.

I also visited the Rufino Tamayo Museum — very cool interior, but they wouldn’t let me take photos (boo). The exhibits were very unusual — very recent works that were quite interesting, but, you had to have been there — one of them was by an artist that worked in the 70s with things such as toilet paper, shit, urine, blood, trash. He hated the “institutional” art world and its focus on expensive materials that he and Third World people couldn’t/can’t afford. Very political, and entirely ephemeral. He filmed some of his works and had photos taken since you literally had to have been there.
After lunch, I walked over to the Anthropology museum — it’s the Disneyland of Mesoamerican Archaeology. Before I got there I stopped to watch the voladores . . . here’s a photo:

This is an ancient ritual of the Totonac that combines the 5 directions (north, south, east, west, center) and the calendar (4 men make 13 spirals down = 52 weeks of the year).

It is a misnomer that the peoples of the Americas didn’t invent the wheel (I heard this ALL the time growing up) — which always makes it sound like Indigenous people were too stupid to have done so. This is actually false, there are a number of examples of the wheel in Indigenous America — the volador tower is one example of the concept. The difference is, of course, that in the Americas there was no practical use for the wheel for transport (no oxen, horses, mules).

I also observed a group of “Aztec” dancers . . . . yes, the copal was real, the chingchings were real, but the drummer was wearing jeans under his costume! I guess he was too shy to show his legs. The dancers were all pretty young –probably just getting started . . . but they danced well.