The clock strikes 2017. Yet the Zocalo in Mexico City today is almost empty. All museums and most shops are closed, too. Most Mexican families celebrate the new year at home. On New Years’ Eve last night there were only a few strollers in the Historic Center as everything closed up by 4 p.m. and people dispersed.
I had an early birthday dinner with my son Jacob at Entremar in Polanco. After a great fish dinner and superb bottle of Valle de Guadalupe Nebbiolo, we returned to Hotel Catedral and I climbed into bed. It was not yet 8:30 p.m. I did not dream about sugar plums and fairies, but thought about the year past and the one to come.
Tips for Visiting Mexico City Over the New Year Holidays
- January 1 is a National Holiday. Most museums, shops and restaurants are closed. They begin to shut down at 2 p.m. on December 31.
- Check hours and make reservations in advance. Do your museum visits on December 29, 30 and 31
- We were turned away at Casa Azul Museo Frida Kahlo, even though we got there well before it opened at 10 a.m. on December 31. Most in line had bought advance tickets via the Internet, something I didn’t think of. And, the museum closes at 2 p.m. on December 31, is not open January 1.
- Use UBER. It’s totally safe and reasonably priced. We did not have to wait more than 5 minutes for a car to take us anywhere. No cash. Just a payment through your PayPal account.
No specific resolutions for me other than to walk and live with intention, focus on travel only between Mexico and the USA, spend time with family and friends, walk, reflect and do good in the world. The world needs our help.
My son Jacob has been with me this weekend, the best gift I could ever receive. It was his first time in Mexico City. On our first full day, we explored the Diego Rivera murals at the Secretariat de Educacion Publica and the Orozco murals at the Colegio San Ildefonso, had lunch at Restaurant El Mayor, then pushed on to the Tenochtitlan Templo Mayor archeological site and adjoining museum.
While we missed getting into the Casa Azul, we took an UBER from there to the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño near Xochimilco to see early Rivera works, the hairless xoloitscuincle dogs, and a special exhibition of Pablo O’Higgins, Rivera’s protege. NOTE: All paintings by Frida Kahlo in this museum are on traveling exhibition in Europe until April 2017.
Then, we saw more Rivera, Orozco, Siquieras and Tamayo murals at Museo Bellas Artes. When you get here, pay attention to the second floor mural painted by Diego Rivera, Man, Controller of the Universe. He recreates what was destroyed at Rockefeller Center.
Art historians interpret the Siquieros mural (close-up above) as liberation from oppression. This was especially meaningful for me as we are experiencing damaging political changes in the USA that could likely effect social justice and environmental causes well into the future.
Here, art is a universal language and reminds us that we must be vigilant.
On the same day, we visited Rivera’s mural Dream of a Sunday Afternoon on the Alameda at the Museo de Mural de Diego Rivera.
Out in front on the plaza in front of this last museum, the chess and Scrabble players gather. I accepted an invitation to join a Scrabble game until I realized they were playing in Spanish and returned my tiles to the bag.
In 2016, I legally changed my name to Schafer, bought a condo-apartment in Durham, NC, organized over a dozen workshops and study tours, contributed chapters and photographs to Textile Fiestas of Mexico book, volunteered at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, commemorated the anniversary of our mother’s death, traveled to India, and went back and forth between Mexico and the USA to vote, attend to health care, visit family and reconnect with friends.
In 2017, I want to stay put more and be present in Durham, North Carolina, and Oaxaca, Mexico. I have friends who dream of becoming vagabonds, taking to the open road, living with more freedom and unpredictability.
I want to think globally and act locally, make a difference in North Carolina, USA to effect change and make a difference, continue to bring people to Mexico to understand her art, history, culture, textiles.
Happy New Year to all. May we each participate in creating a world we are proud to live in, with respect for family, diversity and uniqueness.
Looking for Frida Kahlo + Diego Rivera in Mexico City: Art History Study Tour,
Arrive Thursday, October 17 and depart Monday, October 21, 2019. Space available for 4 people. Cost is $795 per person. (Does not include lodging)
Come to Mexico City to explore the lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera through their art. This is in-depth art history education at its best! We offer you a narrated, leisurely cultural immersion that you can miss if you visit on your own. Our expert guide is a bi-lingual Mexican art historian! Come solo, with a partner or friend. Norma Schafer participates in all programs. Small group size limited to 10 people for quality experience.
We will send you the zocalo area meeting location after you register.
Arrive by 4 p.m. and meet for a group dinner on Thursday at 7 p.m. We will have a long weekend — three full days — to learn about Diego Rivera‘s stunning Mexico City murals, visit Casa Azul where Diego and Frida Kahlo lived, and see the largest private collection of their work at the Dolores Olmedo Museum.
Man Controller of the Universe mimics destroyed Rockefeller Center mural
Through their eyes, you will better understand Mexico’s political, cultural and social history, and their personal lives together. Theirs is a story of Mexico’s development as a post-revolutionary modern nation.
If you want to register, send me an email.
A few little nips — Frida painted this after Rivera’s affair with her sister
This is an incredible experience! The Rivera murals at the Secretary of Public Education building were like nothing I expected. The scale, the intensity, the variation of themes, the continual flow of connecting vignettes – just mind blowing! It isn’t just an art tour. It is an intense immersion into the beginning of an art movement, a cultural movement, and a culmination of historic events that come alive. — Christine Bouton, North Carolina
Our expert guide is a noted art historian who holds a master’s degree in art history. She will soon begin a doctoral program. She shares her passion for the Mexican Muralists, narrates the expedition, and leads us through these spaces to give you the most meaningful educational experience:
Yes, you can visit these places independently. But it’s not likely you will get the same in-depth knowledge, insights, and perspectives we offer.
She called him toad. He was 20 years older. They were passionate about life, politics, each other. They shaped the world of modern art and she became an icon in her own right, creating an independent identity that serves as a role model for women. They were twice married and unfaithful, the subjects of books and film, and art retrospectives around the world.
Rivera’s Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Park
Rivera’s mural at the Palacio Nacional (National Palace) covers detailed Mexican history, from pre-Hispanic America to the Spanish Conquest through industrialization, including the French and U.S. invasions, from 1521 to 1930.
David Alfaro Sequieros, Rivera rival; Palacio Bellas Artes mural
Plus, you will have lots of options for independent exploration: shop for outstanding folk art, and eat at local markets, historic and fine contemporary and traditional restaurants! Visit the Anthropology Museum.
Lunch at the gourmet market, Mercado San Juan
See our reviews on Trip Advisor!
Base Trip Includes:
One of 125 Rivera painted at SEP, 1923-28, this one mocking the bourgeoisie
Palacio Bellas Artes built during the 30-year Porfirio Diaz presidency
The oldest street in Mexico next to the Palacio Nacional looks like Europe
Be ready to WALK and then, walk some more! Don’t forget to bring an extra suitcase to pack treasures you pick up along the way.
Please make your own lodging arrangements, reserve and pay your hotel directly. You are asked to book your hotel in the Historic Center of Mexico City within walking distance to the Zocalo. We recommend Hotel Catedral or Chill Out Flat or El Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico.
Tiffany ceiling, El Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
What the cost does not include:
You might like to arrive early to stay later to discover Mexico City and her incredible museums and restaurants. We will give you a list of recommendations to explore on your own.
Katharsis, 1934 mural by Jose Clemente Orozco, Palacio Bellas Artes
Reservations and Cancellations. Full payment is requested to reserve. We will send you an itemized invoice using Square. You can use your credit card. It’s easy.
If you cancel on or before September 1, 2019, we will refund 50% of your deposit.
Frida died July 13, 1954, at age 47, soon after she painted these watermelons
Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance. Proof of insurance must be sent at least one month before departure. Unforeseen circumstances happen!
To register, email us at email@example.com. We accept payment with Square only. Thank you.
Frida’s sketchbook & journal; notice the deformed leg from childhood polio.
This workshop is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We reserve the right to adjust the itinerary and substitute leaders without notice.
A note to Frida from Diego two years after her death … “you live in my heart.”
Paint brushes in Frida’s studio at Casa Azul, exactly as she left them
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Mexico City, Travel & Tourism, Workshops and Retreats
Tagged art history, Casa Azul, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Mexico City, murals, road scholar, study tour, tour, travel