Tag Archives: Mexico City

Finding Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo: Photo Highlights

After a week in Mexico City with eight wonderful participants who came along for our Looking for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Art History Study Tour, I came back to Oaxaca to immediately welcome four Australian women, all textile lovers. We have been all over town and out into the craft villages from sunrise to sunset, with more to go!  Sunday, Tlacolula market. Monday, Guelaguetza.

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I must confess I haven’t had a moment to process photos and report on the incredible pre-Guelaguetza activities that make Oaxaca a must-see destination this time of year.  The streets are packed with parades, revelers, music, dance, textile vendors and food.  Yesterday, after circling for over an hour in search of a parking spot (all lots filled, no empty street spaces), instead of sleeping over as I had planned, I gave up and returned to the Teotitlan del Valle casita I call home.

Okay, so here are photo highlights of our Mexico City adventure — a wonderful time was had by all!  Next Art History Study Tour:  August 7-11.  Three spaces open!  This is a great way to ease into discovering Mexico City.

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Several of our travelers had been to other parts of Mexico many times but shied away from the big city.  They discovered that Mexico City is vibrant, safe, rich in art, and has some of the world’s most amazing restaurants.

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It was a really amazing experience for me.  I had never been there before and am left with so much more information and reading to do and historical research to do that it will keep me busy for quite a while. — Susan Sandoval, California

 

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Our art historian, Valeria, is going to Switzerland for advanced study in September, so the August 7-11 repeat study tour will be the last for a while.  It is an amazing introduction to the Mexican Muralists:  Rivera, Orozco and Siquieros, plus provides an in-depth look at the mystique and mastery of Frida Kahlo.

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We enjoy fine dining, market fare, artisan galleries, and much more, too.

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In Mexico City: Popular Art–Folk Art Shopping Hideaway

Tucked behind the tall 17th century heavy wood doors of an imposing colonial residence at Isabel la Catolica 97 is Victor Arts Populares Mexicanas.  There is no sign, only a small poster affixed to the only window facing the street.

Don’t knock on wood, the guard admonished me, after I did several times.  He instructed me to use the original brass knocker now burnished with age.  I smiled, assured him I would behave myself next time, and made my way up to the second floor where there are three rooms stuffed with an amazing collection of new and vintage collectibles from all the important craft villages of Mexico.

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Here I met Pilar Fosado Vazquez (above left) and her assistant.  Pilar continues to run the shop her father founded many years ago.

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Take note:  Hours are limited.  The shop is open 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Tel. (55) 55-12-12-63.  Email: victormex@hotmail.com.  There is a Facebook page, too.  But the shop recently relocated and most of the information available online is not updated.

Diego_Frida_July2014-13The family works with a silversmith in the State of Mexico (Estado de Mexico) to recreate outstanding jewelry pieces in the style of Frida Kahlo. Some are embellished with coral, turquoise, garnet, onyx and obsidian.  The workmanship is excellent and the prices are moderate for the quality.

Diego_Frida_July2014-12     There is lots of handmade tin, papier mache, textiles, and the Huichol art is of particular fine quality.  Some of the pieces for sale are over forty years old.

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I searched out this spot to take people who attended the last Looking for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo art history tour, where we studied the famed Mexican muralists (Rivera, Orozco and Siquieros) and visited Casa Azul and the Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum.  There are THREE spaces open for our August repeat program!

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Mexico City in Summer Rain

Each afternoon this time of year, around four or five o’clock, the rains start.  They can last about thirty minutes, sometimes even an hour or more, and are occasionally accompanied by thunderstorms. People here are prepared. They carry umbrellas.  MexCityRain2014-7

Or, they have a late lunch-early dinner, as is the custom, and hang out in a favored restaurant or cafe until it all passes and cools everything off. It’s usually so beautiful and fresh in the morning that I forget to tote my own paragua and then find myself tiptoeing through raindrops or seeking shelter under an awning when the rains come.

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It’s impossible to find a taxi libre — one that is free and not filled with families, not prepared like me!

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Why not get on the bus? Join us for Day of the Dead Photography Workshop Tour starting October 27.

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Looking for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo: Mexico City Art History Tour

Come to Mexico City for an art history tour! The July 2014 tour sold out in days. So we immediately scheduled another one. Don’t miss this –perhaps the last this year!

We will have a long weekend — 4 nights and 5 days, August 7-11, 2014 —  to learn about Diego Rivera‘s stunning Mexico City murals and visit Casa Azul where Diego and Frida Kahlo lived.  Through their eyes, you will better understand Mexico’s political and social history. Our guide is art historian Valeria Espitia who shares her passion for the Mexican Muralists and guides us through these spaces:

  • Palacio Nacional
  • Palacio Bellas Artes
  • Museo de Mural de Diego Rivera
  • Secretaria de Educacion Publica (SEP)
  • Casa Azul — the home of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
  • Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño

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Casa Azul  – Museo Frida Kahlo is a tribute to the life of both artists. Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño has the largest private collection of Frida and Diego paintings in the world. She was a benefactor of Rivera.

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Note: Valeria is planning to go to Europe to continue her advanced studies in art history in September 2014, so this may be our last tour for the year!  Don’t miss it.

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Plus, we will shop for outstanding folk art, and eat at local markets, historic and fine contemporary restaurants!

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The trip includes:

  • 4 nights lodging at a highly rated, historic center hotel
  • 4 breakfasts
  • gala welcome dinner
  • guided discussions by art historian Valeria Espitia, MFA, educated at UNAM and Southern Methodist University
  • visits to folk art galleries
  • introduction to Norma’s favorite restaurants (meals not included)
  • transportation that is part of the itinerary

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Preliminary Itinerary

  • Thursday, August 7 — travel day, arrive and check into our hotel, gala welcome dinner (arrive by 6 p.m.)
  • Friday, August 8 — guided visit to SEP, San Idlefonso, and the Palacio Nacional
  • Saturday, August 9 —  guided visit to Palacio Bellas Artes and Museo Mural de Diego Rivera, folk art shopping
  • Sunday, August 10 — guided visit to Casa Azul and Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño
  • Monday, August 11 — depart

Be ready to WALK and then, walk some more!  Don’t forget to bring an extra suitcase to pack the treasures you pick up along the way.

Cost:  $595 per person double occupancy.  $795 per person single occupancy.

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What the trip doesn’t include:

  • lunches, dinners, snacks, alcoholic beverages
  • transportation to/from Mexico City
  • museum admission fees
  • mandatory international health/accident insurance
  • tips for hotels, meals and other services

Cost:  $595 per person double occupancy.  $795 per person single occupancy. Maximum: 8 people.

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Reservations and Cancellations

A 50% deposit will guarantee your spot.  The final payment for the balance is due by June 10, 2014.  Payment shall be made by PayPal.  We will be happy to send you an itemized invoice.

Please understand that we make lodging and other arrangements months in advance of the program.  Deposits or payments in full are often required by our hosts.  If cancellation is necessary, please tell us in writing by email.   After July 10, no refunds are possible.  However, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute.  If you cancel on or before July 10, we will refund 50% of your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance:  We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance.  Proof of insurance must be sent at least two weeks before departure.  If you do not wish to do this, we ask you email a PDF of a notarized waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Hawthorne and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  Unforeseen circumstances happen!

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To register, email us at  normahawthorne@mac.com.  If you have questions, we can arrange a Skype call. We accept payment with PayPal only. Thank you.

This workshop is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  We reserve the right to adjust the itinerary and substitute leaders without notice.

 

In Mexico City: FONART for Folk Art Shopping

FONART is the national fund for promoting arts and crafts in Mexico.  Folk art and crafts of every type from every Mexican state are represented.  Textiles, red and black ceramics, Talavera, carved wood figures, beeswax candles, tinware, etc. The pieces are more collector quality than what you would find in crafts markets like Mercado Cuidadela.  Prices are higher, too, and there is no bargaining.  Some FONART shops have more variety and a wider selection than others.

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The largest and main repository where the pieces come in, are catalogued and priced, is the flagship FONART Galeria Patriotismo, Ave. Patriotismo. No. 691, Colonial Mixcoac, Mexico D.F. Tel. 50-93-60-60 or 50-93-60-61.  I discovered it on my search for a hand-hammered copper vase from Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacan.

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The trip by taxi from the zocalo/centro historico takes about 30 minutes in moderate traffic.  I went on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.  Weekdays are probably longer.  The hotel arranged the driver for me and I paid an astonishing 300 pesos for the round trip that included a 45-minute wait, but I was on a mission.  You could take the Metro or a taxi on the street for far less.

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The next largest FONART store is Galeria Reforma, Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, is closer to the historic center than Galeria Patriotismo, but is not within walking distance.

Galeria Juarez is within walking distance of the Zocalo, but has limited choice and staff helpfulness is variable.  When I returned to buy a copper piece I had seen on my last visit in August, I arrived to find the store dismantled and the copper display decimated.  The clerk told me all the copper was moved to Galeria Patriotismo, which is why I ended up paying 300 pesos to go there.   When I arrived, the staff told me, no, they didn’t have any pieces from Galeria Juarez.  I asked them to call to find out the discrepancy in stories. Seems all the copper had been moved to the Juarez storeroom.  The clerk either didn’t know, didn’t ask, or couldn’t be bothered. So, when I returned, someone else took me to the storeroom where I climbed a 20-foot ladder to find my pot piled up on one of the upper shelves.

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Why a copper pot from Santa Maria del Cobre?  It represents an important pre-Hispanic indigenous craft. Usually, I like to go directly to the source and find the artisan who creates the most outstanding work.  But, Michoacan is one of those places where the drug cartels have established a foothold.  Because of that, it is not someplace I plan to visit soon.  And, these pieces are incredibly beautiful.

Allan Gurganus wrote a piece in last week’s New York Times about why he collects, the passion and the psychology.  I understand.  I struggle with my desire to live a simpler life and have it surrounded by artfully made beauty in support of artists and crafts people whom I admire.  How to reconcile this?  I don’t know.

No photos allowed.  No exceptions.  Bags are checked at the door.  A guard watches over the treasures.  Still, with the obstacles, the best place for folk art shopping.

FONARTAt Remigio’s, an indigenous textile clothing shop at Isabel la Catolica #30, Centro Historico, Mexico City, I found this antique hand-woven Triqui maize basket.  I asked my friend Lupe to model so I could show it to you.