Saturday, April 21, 2007

More Museums

We went to see art and we did a damn good job in the two days we were in DF. Still we didn't see a fourth of the museums there. Although I like the museums around Chapultepec Parque, we decided to concentrate on the historical centro. And even there, we still haven't seen all that I want to see. We did go see two new museums, the Museo de Arte Popular and El Museo del Estanquillo. And then Museo Galeria Nacional de Arte, the fine art museum in the Centro.I guess that my favorite of all the Museums was the Museo de Arte Popular. I really liked seeing the regional costumes and masks and while I don't know a lot about folk art, it was fun to see the work of artisans that I already knew about and learn more about others. I also liked seeing the work from 40 or 50 years ago from some of the villages around Patzcuaro and seeing how the work has changed. A very good job has been done in adapting the building for the museum. The tienda in the museum is well stocked with some nice pieces from some of the artisans. Another small museum that was interesting and it is actually the newest one in the city was El Museo del Estanquillo. Learn more about it from Quade Hermann's article in the Globe and Mail.

Everything in the museum comes from the personal collection of Carlos Monsivais, who, at the age of 69, is something of a local artifact himself. For more than 40 years, the writer has been a sharp and witty observer of Mexican culture and politics. Along the way, he amassed about 10,000 pieces of art and photography, buying according to his interests and pleasure, which range from sombre historical events from the Mexican Revolution to the slapstick theatrics of lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling).

Actually of the museums that we saw, this one had the most interesting photography....all of it old and some of the most touching ones were the images of babies in their coffins.

While in this museum we talked with a man who was working with a TV crew who were filming in the museum....and I'm sorry that I didn't get his name....but he was asking us what we thought of the museum. I was telling him how much I liked the photography and that I was a photographer. He told me about his friend who had a business just across the street above Sanborns. His friend was the great grandson of Agustin Victor Casasola who is known as the photographer of the Mexican Revolution. Adrian, the great grandson, was a very pleasant young man and we had the opportunity to talk with him. He is currently making high resolution scans of his great grandfather's images and restoring them so that they can be saved and printed. He also sells copies of some of the images in his shop and if you wish, he has studio set-up and costumes so that you can be photographed as a Mexican from the 1920's. This was one of those unexpected treats that happens when you travel with an open agenda. The Museo Nacional de Arte was also on our list. The building was built around 1900 in the style of an Italian Renaissance palace with a grand marble staircase. It too has seen other lives but now is the museum and houses exclusively Mexican art in every style and school through the 20th century. Most of the collection is religious art. About the latest works we saw were paintings from the 1920's to the 1950's. I guess I was wearing down because I was as fascinated with the architecture of the building as the art. Ned just says he has seen enough religious least for a while.

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