2016 Mexico City La Danze Macabra Workshop with Michael deMeng
October 21 to November 3, 2016
Monday, October 24, 2016
After breakfast with Michael at 7:30 a.m. (we were the only two up), I did a mini-walkabout the hotel.
This morning I went with Colleen, Bonnie, Cheryl and Brea to the murals of Diego Rivera at the Secretaria de Educacion Publica. This building is an imposing but magnificent structure that has three floors of Rivera murals spread throughout the building.
Also we could see work by Siqueros.
I thought the third floor murals were the best thing I saw on the trip by Rivera.
After the ministry, I went to an book store that sold antique books and held books printed in the 1800s. I want to buy these books to work on a paper project but although their age was right, the content of the books did not make my heart sing.
At noon, we checked out of the absolutely fantastic Hotel Catedral and moved to our workshop location, Hotel Maria Cristina. I went to lunch at La Provoleta, an Argentinian establishment, with Sue, Michael, Lois, Marilyn and K.D. While we were eating, Janet and Colleen showed up with new arrival Theresa.
How can you not like a hotel with a hotel cat?
In the afternoon, Michael and I went back to the zocolo in the historic district to buy cardboard, paper, tape and string for our mask making workshop. I decided I wanted to go to the art store to get molding paste because we could not find the right kind of silicon at the hardware store. Michael sent me on my own around the corner to an art store that had the gesso he wanted but not molding paste. When I got back to the paper store he apologized for not knowing there was an art store across the street. I ducked into that but when I asked for molding paste the man in the store pointed at the wall. It took me awhile to realize he wanted me to try a third art store which was next door. There I found a woman who spoke some English but did not know molding paste. She had me type it on her computer and when Google showed her what it was, she offered a product called Plasticalle (or something like that). We will see how it works once the workshop starts.
We uberred back to the hotel and I rested before taking a mini-walkabout the hotel area before we all headed to the bar on the Hotel Maria Cristina campus for some drinks and a round of YMCA on the stereo. Then it was off to the La Frontera restaurant for good food, a three piece Mexican singing combo and some Michael Jackson impersonations.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
After the ubiquitous breakfast at the hotel, Marilymn, Bonnie, K.D. and I decide to walk to the historic district of Mexico City, about a half-hour walk from our current hotel. Our destination was the Museo de Arte Popular.
Why do you see the number 43 on so many protests or graffiti marks in Mexico City. It refers to the death of 43 students (see this link for all the current details: LA Times.
That morning we walked to our destination so it provided more photo ops for me.
City workers are starting to put out the cempasúchil (marigolds) for Dia
This museum has three floors of popular art that stretches throughout Mexico’s history and in some cases makes ancient pieces sit next to contemporary efforts to great effect. I especially loved the masks as they most related to our current project.
Oddly, on the first floor, the museum was debuting an assemblage project called Hacia el Mas Alla y De Regreso (Toward the Beyond and Back--we think from Germany) by various artists all using a suitcase as the base and filling it with content for their stories. Unfortunately for me, this exhibit, the last thing we looked through, was the weakest of all.
Our next stop was the Museo Nacional de Arte were went to see an exhibition of the works of German artist Otto Dix. Dix served in the trenches of WWI, lived it up during the Wiemer Republic days, got labeled a degenerate by Hitler and lived until 1969. He did etchings, lithographs, oil, acrylic and other mediums and was a chameleon in order to survive. He was remarkably adept at all of them but had a very depressing world vision and it shows in most of his work. Powerful but so sad.
A short walk brought us to Los Girasoles which not only had good good but proved to be in the movie Spectre about James Bond.
Duncan--K. D. Duncan
We walked about the rest of the afternoon. We were on our way to the Museo Archivo de la Fotografia but were unable to find where it was in relationship to Temple Mayo. We tried one side of the excavation site, all the way around the temple to the other side and then back to the first side before K.D. discover a note on a boarded up building that the museum was closed for renovation.
We did stop at the Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público that was having a Dia celebration and having a show called Signa Mortis, sculpture by Luis Alberto Martinez. I bought two tee shirts from one vendor that have cool Dia images on them.
Here is the work of Luis Albert Martinez called Signa Mortis.
We then made two stops at antique book stores but I still could not find the books I want for my art projects. We then cabbed home and joined everyone in the hotel bar. That night we walked over to 222 shopping mall of Reforma Boulevard and art dinner in a restaurant that I did not catch the name of. We were joined by Leslie that night and a big surprise—Joann from Canada who had cancelled managed to work it out and show up.
Kelli, Robyn, Sue and I hit the hotel bar before we called it a night.