Mexico 2019 Part 6.

More art! First, the Museum of Modern Art which has an awesome interior if you like mid-modern architecture. The gift shop is in a pit under the stairs for God’s sake. Big fan.

Outside the museum is a sculpture of the beloved Mexican protein source, the grasshopper. I love his buck teeth.

The modern museum has a sweet little cafe in the back and they will give you a picnic basket full of sandwiches and such so you can go eat in the small but lovely sculpture garden. I didn’t get a chance to do that this time but next time for sure.

Alright, more murals by Not-Diego-Rivera. Now we delve into José Clemente Orozco. Here’s a brief description from Wikipedia:

José Clemente Orozco (November 23, 1883 – September 7, 1949) was a Mexican caricaturist and painter, who specialized in political murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others. Orozco was the most complex of the Mexican muralists, fond of the theme of human suffering, but less realistic and more fascinated by machines than Rivera. Orozco was known for being a politically committed artist, and he promoted the political causes of peasants and workers.

A truncated version would be, “This dude has STRONG OPINIONS and would like you to know them.” Get ready.

Orozco was commissioned to do a series of murals all around the inside of a courtyard. He started to create them, they were beautiful, they were inspired by Renaissance paintings, etc. And partway through he was like “Too nice! Repaint! Make oppressively depressing!”

Here’s an excellent example. Drunk rich man dancing with Blind Justice who’s blindfold has slipped and who’s wearing fancy shoes, possibly bought by the rich man. Don’t have to look too deep to figure out what Orozco is trying to say with that one.

Workers shaking hands, one of whom has a hammer. Communism? Sure, probably. Wouldn’t surprise me.

This was kind of funny. These beaten workers and folding a flag while Freddy Mercury’s head floats above them. Turns out the head was part of the original Renaissance-style painting and Orozco liked it so he didn’t paint over it, he just left it there.

Say what you want about the grim sentiments of his paintings, Orozco could paint hands. Like, really well.

Upstairs was a painting of God with the fat and rich off to one side wearing halos and on the other side are devils chasing a poor mother carrying her baby.

This was the only painting left from the original painting. It’s supposed to represent motherhood. Isn’t it nice and not a horrifying statement on society? Well, people couldn’t leave it alone. Women were upset because the ladies are naked so Orozco left it to piss those women off. But that’s not all. He said “I’ll make a portrait of you, good upstanding women.” Surprise, it was wildly unflattering.

This mural is called “Motherhood.”

Aaaaaand it’s fat rich women ignoring and stepping on a starving woman in the street. You couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you? You had to antagonize the already angry mural-painter, didn’t you? Nice job. You deserve this.

One more muralist. I can’t remember his name but his story is interesting. The muralist started his mural on one underside of an arch but he kept getting arrested and going to prison for acts of protest so it took him 40 years to finish the mural and you can really see how his work changed and evolved over time by the time he got to the other side.

Here’s a bit of his original style on one side of the stairs.

And the 40-years-later-style on the other side.

Despite the population being literate, murals continue to be a huge part of the Mexican experience. The street art is some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Next, Mexican craftspeople bringing their top-notch skills.

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