Archive for July 28, 2008

Blue Monday

Posted in Frida Kahlo with tags , , on July 28, 2008 by xxxicana

Museums are closed today — so I’ve stayed in all day to work on the computer. Taking a little break, I’ll upload some photos from the Anthropology Museum (the largest museum in Latin America). One of the greatest results that came out of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20) was a real dedication to public art and education. The National museums are free every Sunday and relative to other Latin American countries I’ve visited, books are inexpensive. Anyway, here are some photos.

Courtyard of the Anthropology Museum:

The lower floor is dedicated to archaeological cultures from the various regions of Mexico. I took a few photos, but there is just too much stuff!

Aztec culture

When the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico, the area was already settled by competing city states. The Aztecs came in as mercenaries and were given the worst piece of real estate left — a small, snake infested, rocky island. Here’s an artists view of what the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, might have looked like:

Over time, the Aztecs conquered all the other cities through military tactics, strategic alliances, and diplomacy. Ooops! sorry, I’m falling into lecture mode! I always do that . . .

The goddess Coatlicue (Mother of the Gods)

Offerings found at the Templo Mayor

Maya Culture

Here’s a ceramic Iguana . . . . reminds of our pet Iguana, Spike (RIP)

This photo is for my friend Mary Willis, Dental Anthropologist

If I weren’t so freaked by going to the dentist, I think I would have jewels put in my teeth!

Here’s a real cutie!

Musical Instruments:

Conch Shell Trumpet

Ceramic Drum


Modern Ceramic Piece

There are too many things to post!! I’ll have to stop here.

Has it already been 6 days?

Posted in Frida Kahlo on July 28, 2008 by xxxicana

To all my concerned friends, family, and readers: Thanks to fervent prayers to ALL the Mexican deities (Christian, Aztec, Mayan, et al.) and the Sopa de Pollo, I have recovered from my short illness. I’m sure it was the soup that did it — chicken soup in any culture/language has been proven to be a powerful curative (plus, a little jalapeno never hurts).

For today’s excursion, I visited el Museo Nacional de Arte . . . now, I figured (and my guide book stated) that ALL the great Mexican Artists are represented — some even that I wanted to see (Dr. Atl, Diego Rivera, J. C. Orozco (although I actually HATE his vision), etc.) — including Frida. The museum is an ornate neo-classical monument to the Mexican nation. Ah, life must be so much easier when one buys into a nationalistic discourse that only provides the thinest gauze of populism to veil the racist foundations of modern Mexico. Need proof? Here’s a quaint painting by Diego Rivera:

What does this small piece tell us? Art historians analyze the use of space to decipher art and in this piece we see one girl seated in the superior position, denoted by her higher placement, apparently teaching the inferior to read? Superior = Espanola/Blanca/ white/lettered and Inferior = India/brown/illiterate.

Dear readers, please bear with me regarding my cynicism (and my tilted photos). The irony of being Mexican-American — is that we are neither — and so view both the US and Mexico through the lens of “not-belongedness.” We are uncomfortable in our relations to both the old and the new since both reject us. The upside is the ability to see through the duplicity of nationalism and racist discourse (ok, some of us try at least).

Back to Frida: can you believe it? The National Museum of Art has no art by Frida Kahlo!!! Que lastima! (what a shame). But, the museum store did have a ton of cheap Frida trinkets to sell the the beguiled. Nevertheless, I saw just truly great art by so many different people (even a Picasso). I was also inspired by a collection of portraits of a single woman who was considered a “muse” in the early 20th century — which got me thinking about the positionality of being subject/object — oops, sorry, I’m getting too post-structuralist here. Anyway, here are a few of the masterpieces to be seen at this museum:

Diego Rivera’s cubist masterpiece: Zapatista Landscape:

Self portrait by Siquieros (who, by the way attempted to assassinate Trotsky – he was a Stalinist)

Jose Clemente Orozco: The small nation (I think Orozco REALLY HATED WOMEN)

Dr. Atl (really, the promoter of Mexicanidad in Mexican Art:

and a religious piece that just has to be dedicated to those suffering migraines (if you can’t tell, she has a nail sticking out of her forehead): Santa Rita de Casia: