Before attending last Saturday’s Bob Dylan concert, Colleen and I visited the “Museo de Arte Popular” – the Folk Art Museum of Mexico. Housed in a magnificent art deco building (the city’s former fire hall) the museum boasts one of the most extensive collections of this type of art.
The folk art of Mexico is among the world’s most varied. Some is whimsical and some is somber. There are pieces with more colors than the rainbow and others are monochrome. There are miniatures and gigantic works; ornate intricate designs are found alongside rustic plain ones.
Sunday, the day after the concert, we took a peribus to “Parque Sulivan,” a weekly art fair held near the “Monument to Motherhood”. The park is shaded by amazing palm trees, a lovely backdrop for the paintings and sculptures. I bought one unconventional piece with a violin theme… but not too many artists seemed to be selling. “Few people can afford to buy art during these tough economic times,” one of the artists said, “But we enjoy one another’s company and the pleasure of being outside on a warm day.”
Next we made our way via metrobus and pesero (two more of the capital city’s public transport systems) to Coyoacán to see “La Casa Azul” the home of Frida Kahlo. Many criticize the way this artist has been exploited and I would agree with them. Nonetheless, she has been a favorite of mine ever since being introduced to her art when I was a high school student. The home she lived in off and on throughout her whole life reflects her personality and tempestuous character.
We delighted in walking the streets and doing a wee bit of shopping in the market of Coyoacán. At one point we were approached by a stooped-over Mexico City matron who with arms spread wide cried out, “Look at this marvel of God’s mercy!” She then directed our sights to a lone amaryllis lily that had forced its way up through the dry hard-packed earth on the side of the road. The magnificent scarlet flower was certainly a “marvel of God’s mercy,” and I felt touched that this delightful stranger had pointed it out to us.
By this time, it seemed “not quite dark but it was getting there…” and we returned to the downtown area to see the Botero sculptures outside the “Bellas Artes” theater. Massive, curvaceous, sensual… so different from Frida’s phantasmagorical yet tortured canvases.
And to finish our day, we dined at “Sirenas,” one of Mexico City’s marvelous restaurants.
I will long remember the 48 hours full of music, art, and the eclectic energy that one can only find in place like Mexico City a one of the world’s great capitals.
Thank you Jorge… this was the BEST birthday present you could have given me: a BIG gift box stuffed to overflowing with Bob Dylan, Frida Kahlo, Botero, a host of other amazing artisans, and delicious food…
And if all this wasn’t enough, “thanks to God’s mercy,” I also saw that lone marvelous scarlet Amaryllis lily.
I don’t have the technical expertise to get the following slide show into proper order but I hope you enjoy the photos regardless… the best ones are Colleen’s shots, the others are mine.