Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Dolores Olmedo Patino Museo - Los Ofrendas

The Day of the Dead is a popular time of year for families to honor and celebrate departed ancestors and Dolores Olmedo was known for her "ofrendas" (offerings) dedicated to the deceased.  Every year there is a new theme and a portion of the museum (located at the entrance, next to the gift shop) is dedicated to these displays of ofrendas.
This last year, 2019, the ofrendas were dedicated to architects and engineers whose talents have enhanced the landscape of Mexico City.
The Cathedral Metropolitana in the main zocalo, 
 one of the greatest religious buildings in Latin America. 
The exhibition also included the Metro, the great mass transit system that moves the population from one place to the other.
I don't know if many spotted this, but the train is taking passengers to Mictlan!  The ancient Xolos were used to protect and guide the deceased spirit through the perils of Mictlan.  I don't think I will be taking this particular train.
I love that the ceiling is row after row of the papel picados.
A section of Diego Rivera's fifty foot mural, "Dream of a Sunday Afternoon" in Alameda Park, Mexico City's first city park that was built on the grounds of an ancient Aztec marketplace.
The well dressed gentleman with the black suit and derby hat is Jose Guadalupe Posada, an illustrator and engraver who created the  La Calavera Catrina (standing next to him).  The Catrina, a conceited female dandy, mocks the European-influenced ruling, upper class during the reign of Porfirio Diaz.  Posada's narrative style was hugely influenced Diego Rivera.  The Catrina is an allusion to the Aztec Earth Mother, Coatlicue.  The plumed serpent boa around her neck is symbolic of her son Quertzalcoatl.  Her belt buckle is the Aztec astrological sign of Ollin, symbolizing perpetual motion.  Frida Kahlo is in her traditional Mexican dress.  In her left hand she holds the Yin-Yang symbol of duality and the other rests protectively on the shoulder of a young Diego Rivera.
The World Trade Center designed by engineer Guillermo Rossell de la Lama.
The World Trade Center Tower elevators have a seismic detector that detects any movement of earth and therefore automatically stops the elevator at the nearest stop to allow passengers to get off.
And one of my all time favorite buildings in Mexico City, the Museum of Anthropology by the "father of Mexican Architecture", Pedro Ramirez Vasquez.
The museum’s large, central patio is almost covered by a 275 foot canopy which sits on a 36 foot pillar, the largest concrete structure in the world supported by a single pillar.   This handsome museum only took 19 months to build.
Palacio de los Deportes - Sports Palace
Built between October 15, 1966 and September, 1968, it is circular in design with a square-patterned dome spanning 380 feet and enclosing an area of 6.7 acres.  Designed by architect Felix Candela, the dome consists of hyperbolic paraboloids of tubular aluminum covered with waterproof copper-sheathed plywood and supported by huge steel arches. The Sports Palace seats 22,370!
The building was host to the basketball games for the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
Satellite Towers by architect Luis Barragan. 
His use of color was remarkable.

 An altar of skulls, marigolds, photos, water and salt in honor of the deceased from the earthquake of September of 1985.  And the reconstruction of Mexico City.

These Ofrendas are on display from the end of October to the end of December.  It will be interesting to see what the theme is for next year.  Stay tuned for I am taking another group to Puebla and Mexico City next October.

Avenida Mexico 5843
La Noria

Tuesday - Sunday
10am - 6pm

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Dolores Olmedo Patino Museum - Part Three

A special gallery space has been dedicated to folk art from various states around Mexico.  The display on the main floor in the central courtyard is dedicated to the Catrinas from Capula in the state of Michoacan.
The Catrina, a conceited female dandy, mocks the European-influenced ruling, upper class during the reign of Porfirio Diaz. The word Catrina is the feminine form of the word catrin, which means elegant. Today, the Catrina is one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations and a symbol that has been mass produced.
The pottery of Juan Mata Ortiz is the recreation of the Mongollon pottery found in the archaeological site of Casa Grandes in the state of Chihuahua.  Named after the town, it was JUan Quezada Celado who recreated this pottery with updated designs.   Eventually friends and neighbors learned this technique and by the 1990's, pieces were being sold in high end galleries and shown in museums.
The burnished pottery of Tonala is well know.  In the 1960's, it was Jorge Wilmont who made two major contributions to the ceramics, introducing firing the pottery at high temperatures and introducing modern designs into them mix with the traditional Mexican Designs.  He said, “La cerámica de las artes es una de las más antiguas y a su vez de las más modernas” (Ceramics is one of the oldest and most modern art formsThus, the need to preserve tradition but modify it.
He also was known for his creations of the “bruñido” pottery in the form of animals: lions, cats, quail, turtles, doves...
Petatillo pottery from Tonala in the state of Jalisco.  Created in the early 20th century, Petatillo decoration refers to the crosshatch pattern of lines in the background of the main design.  The name comes from the petates, the woven straw mats.  Once the main design is applied, the petatillo fills in the empty spaces.
Like Puebla, the ceramic Mayolica or Talavara ware, is also well known in the state of Guanajuato.   Made in a similar manner, the designs from Guanajuato are a bit less formal with a looser style.
Gorky Gonzales, originally a painter and sculptor, was responsible for revitalizing the Majolica industry.   In the early 1960s he came across an antique piece of pottery imported from the Mediterranean and began experimenting with the double glaze technique known as Majolica. The technique, traditionally associated with Spanish colonialism, had been abandoned in Mexico after they gained their independence in the 1820’s.  Today Guanajuato and the nearby town of Dolores Hidalgo have a successful talavera industry.
The state of Michoacan is famous for its numerous artisans.  The stacking green pots, Torres de ollas, is a well known design from Patamban.  Patamban and San Jose de Gracia is well known for their greenglazed pinas, large pineapple-shaped water jars.   The large black glazed tree of Life candelabra comes from San Fe de la Laguna. 

The state of Guerrero is known for its numerous masks used in ceremonial dances celebrating many different occasions.  Usually made of wood, from the avocado tree, copal, pine and willow. 
Another important product of Olinala, Guerrero is lacquerware, seen in these handsome chests.
The state of Mexico surrounds the country's capital city.  Metepec is best known for its Trees of Life and Death.   Metepec's patron saint is San Isidore, the farmer (as shown above). 
"La Pulqueria" by Pedro Linares - Mexico City.  The Linares family in Mexico City are among the best known artesans of the craft known as "cartoneria" or the use of papier-mache to create hard sculptured objects. Famous for the creation of forms such as skeletons, skulls, Judas figures and fantastical creatures called alebrijes.
I can totally relate to the next three photos, for this is the area I am taking my next group to, Chiapas. 
The Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo  takes place from January 8 to 23 of each year, to celebrate the feast of San Sebastian.
The whole city of Chiapa de Corzo participates actively in the celebration, taking part in the dances of the Parachicos (masked dancers) and parades. 
The beautiful textiles that the mannequin is wearing is from Zinacantan.  A town knowfor their textiles and their Sunday market.
Pottery from Amatenango del Valle in Chiapas.  The women are the primary potters and the jaguar is a popular theme. 
Textiles from Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula,   Note the large jaguar from Amatenango del Valle. 

A wonderful collection of folk art and textiles.

Avenida Mexico 5843
La Noria

Tuesday - Sunday
10am - 6pm

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Dolores Olemdo Patino Museum - Lithographs by Pablo O'Higgins

One gallery/room at La Noria is dedicated to the works of Pablo O'Higgins (March 1, 1904 - July 16, 1983), an American-Mexican artist, muralist and illustrator.  He studied at the School of Fine Arts in San Diego before moving to Mexico at the age of 20.   He became  a primary assistant to Diego Rivera and a life long friend and mentor.   Like Rivera, he became an active member of the Mexican Communist party.
The lithographs by O'Higgins are very powerful. 
Many of his themes are the dispossessed, the forgotten, friends, urban and rural workers, of the Mexican countryside and even his wife Maria, appeared in some of his works.

In 1937, O'Higgins became the co-founder along with artists Leopoldo Mendez and Luis Arenal, of the Taller de Grafica Popular (People's Graphic Workshop).  
In 1940, he was the only non-native Mexican artist to have his work included in the seminal "Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art" exhibit organized by the Museum of Modern Art.
I love the somewhat tormented, Agave.
A photo I took of this twisted Agave on the grounds of the Museum.  So reminisce of the lithograph above.
In 1961, he was awarded honorary Mexican Citizenship for his contributions to the national arts and education.

It is a great collection of his lithographs.  

Avenida Mexico 5843
La Noria

Tuesday - Sunday
10am - 6pm

Friday, February 7, 2020

Poly-Angularity, from every angle, I see you!

I was inspired by Diego Rivera's painting of Dolores Olmedo's daughter, Irene, 
that I just wrote about on my last post.   I had to find this one photo I took a while ago and share it with you.   It is my version of "Poly-Angularity", a technique in which the subject looks at the viewer from every angle she is seen from.  It is a pretty haunting effect.

As I mentioned, in my last home in San Miguel de Allende, I had many of my photos made into giclees,  a highly detailed printing process on canvas.  I had them framed and hung in the house.   The photo below is a very creative artisan, Emilia, from the town of Ocumicho in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.  The artisans of Ocumicho are known for their creative, many times bizarre and fantastical, clay figures and scenes.  I have quite a collection, and many wonderful pieces made by Emilia herself.

Her image hung in the hallway off the kitchen, and I swear, her eyes followed me everywhere.  I felt her presence all the time whether I was on one side of the kitchen or the other.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Dolored Olmedo Patino Museum - Part Two

The Dolores Olmedo Patino Museum has 145 works by Diego Rivera and 25 by Frida Kahlo.   The progression of works start with the post-impressionist period, to the cubist phase, sketches and paintings for Rivera's MoMA show in 1931-2 to portraits and on to Rivera's later years when in Russia.
Self Portrait with Small Monkey
Frida Kahlo
At the age of 38, Frida had created her own identity, drawing attention especially in the way she dressed and presented herself.  She was fond of wearing Tehuana outfits, the typical dress of the women in Oaxaca, and wearing her hair in braids wrapped into a crown like style adorned with flowers or colorful ribbons.   In this self portrait, she is with her favorite pets, Senor Xololt, a xoloitzcuintle dog, and Fluang Chang, a spider monkey.
Self Portrait with Broad-Brimmed Hat
Diego Rivera
Rivera adapted this style while studying at the Eduardo Chicharro atelier, a Spanish master with whom he studied at his arrival to Spain at the age of 21 in 1907.
Frida and Diego
This entire wall displays effigies known as Colima dogs, depictions of the Xolos in terracotta.  These dogs were found buried in ancient tombs through out Mexico.  They were used to protect and guide the deceased spirit through the perils of Mictlan and also serve them in their afterlife.
El Picador
Diego Rivera
A painting of a Spanish bullfighter seated slightly of center against a neutral colored wall.  Similar to his self portrait, the brush strokes really show off the texture of the fabrics by using the impasto oil technique.
El Matematico - The Mathematician
Diego Rivera
Rivera considered this to be one of his most important works.   The proportions and disproportions works beautifully.  The colors, lightening and shadowing is everything he learned when studying at the Eduardo Chicharro atelier along with the influences left by post-impressionism, Spanish realism and Costumbrismo and cubism.. 
Boceto del Fusilamiento a Maximiliano
Sketch of  Execution by Firing Squad of Maximillian
Diego Rivera
Once the hacienda's chapel, this room houses preliminary sketches and works for his large scale murals.  Above is a preparatory work by Rivera for the mural he painted in the National Palace in Mexico City.  An old technique, made in sepia ink on paper, this stencil technique was used by artist like Michelangelo.
Fondos Comgelados
Frozen Assets
Diego Rivera 
 Rivera produced eight portable murals for the MoMA, The New York Museum of Art, in 1931.  Frozen Assets represents life in New York City during the Great Depression which is divided into three sections.  The top section is that of the great skyscrapers of New York City  with such buildings as the Daily News, Bank of Manhattan, Rockefeller and Chrysler, a reference to the economic development and Capitalism.     The middle section is a large glass and steel structure filled with sleeping men or corpses, a homage to the unemployed overseen by a guard.  The bottom section, a large bank vault with those seated are waiting to examine their earnings.  Maybe guarded by the same guard.  It was a journalist who was covering the exhibition that gave the name for this work, Frozen Assets.
A handsome room with the hefty wood beams and corbels.
Retrato de Dolores Olmedo (La Tehuana)
Portrait of Dolores Olmedo (The Tehuana)
Diego Rivera
A beautiful example of Mexican textile design with Dolores attired in the colorful Tehuana.  The Tehuana was a popular mode of dressing in the 1930's and 1940's among the wives and models (muses) of painters, musicians and writers.
Frida adopted the Tehuana dress as her signature look.  She identified with the dress for her mother Matilde was from Oaxaca and had been photographed as a child wearing the Tehuana dress.  And the traditional dress of the Tehuanas was known nationwide to be the symbol of the most independent and proud indigenous women in all of Mexico.
A typical colonial kitchen with the Talavera tiles and large cazuelas. 
The swallow bird motif hand-painted tiles from Puebla.
Naturaleza Muerto (Soy de Samuel Fastlicht)
Still Like (I Belong to Samuel Fastlicht)
Frida Kahlo
Frida painted this still life for their friend and dentist, Samuel Fastlicht, a man of European origin who arrived to Mexico in 1921.   He was deeply interested in pre-Columbian history particularly in the areas of dental mutilation and herbal medicine used by the ancient Mexican cultures.

Beautiful Mexican ceramics.
I could have a full room of these.  From Tonala in the state of Jalisco.
Retrato de Irene Phillips Olmedo
Portrait of Irene Phillips Olmedo
Diego Rivera
Rivera and Dolores Olmedo renewed their friendship in 1955 and she commissioned him to paint a portrait of her daughter at his studio in the San Angel.   Only the great masters like Rivera could paint with this effect of poly-angularity, the subject looks at the viewer from every angle she's seen from.  I had a photo I took of a Mexican artisan that hung in the hallway of my last house in Mexico.  And it did not matter where I stood, she was always staring at me.  I'll have to write about that on my next post.
La Columna Rota
The Broken Column
Frida Kahlo
Every detail of Frida's shattered column is associated with pain from her accident; the nails and tacks on her body, the corset holding her exposed body together, the tears running down her face...  The background is void of vegetation with a blue sky, a symbol of hope that her health will improve.
Sin Esperanza
Without Hope
Frida Kahlo
A tragic scene with Frida lying in bed, crying from the pain and rejecting the food that the doctors wanted her to consume to get better.  The large funnel is supported by a similar wood easel that her mother had made for her.
El Camion
The Bus
Frida Kahlo
A recognition of the scene in the bus just prior to her tragic accident.  
Seated is a middle-class woman, a worker, an indigenous woman, a young boy, a young man and an eighteen year old Frida.  In the background one particular building was called La Risa (Laughter), an ironic statement on what was about to happen next.
Auterrstroto de Diego
Self-Portrait of Diego
An expressive self-portrait of a sixty-eight man with his protruding eyes which earned him the nickname "The Frog Painter" or "The Great Lord Toad".  He often mocked himself by drawing little frogs or toads on his letters or documents.  1954 was a very difficult year for him, the death of Frida Kahlo and a diagnosis of his cancer.  
Dedicated to his daughter Ruth, the inscription in the lower left corner reads: "Para la Chupulina de esta cara fea, Diego Rivera, 1954" ~ "To the grasshopper of this ugly face, Diego Rivera, 1954."
La Nina Virginia
Little Virginia
Frida Kahlo
Frida captured the innocence of this indigenous child.  The image certainly resembles Frida.
Mujer con Flores
Woman with Flowers
Diego Rivera
Rivera rarely painted using pastels due to problems with his eyes.  Beautifully executed, a mestizo woman carrying a bouquet of marigolds in preparation for the Day of the Dead celebrations.
Vendedor de Coles
Cabbage Seller
Diego Rivera
A vendor walking through the tiangus, street market, offering his goods.
La Hamaca
The Hammock
Diego Rivera
A portrait of Dolores Omedo's daughter, Irene and her school friend, lounging in a hammock at Dolores's Acapulco home with the Acapulco bay in the background.

A beautiful collection of works by Frida and Diego!

Avenida Mexico 5843
La Noria

Tuesday - Sunday
10am - 6pm