The Last Laugh
April marked the opening of an exhibition by artist Jose Antonio Gomez Rosas, El Hotentote (1916-1977) in the Mexico City Museo Mural Diego Rivera. Featuring 150 works, including paintings, sketches, drawings and 7 enormous canvases that were originally used as backdrops for the famous annual San Carlos dance and theater festival, the exhibit is accompanied by a limited edition, color publication on the art and life of this prolific Veracruz-born artist.
Many of the works currently on display highlight Gomez Rosas' satirical sense of humor. The painting "Funcionarios de Bellas Artes," for example, depicts Guanajuato artist Diego Rivera attached to an air pump, being inflated like an oversized balloon by the Secretary of Culture. Rivera's art can be seen spilling out of Mexico City's fine arts building, smothering the town as a grinning Diego hovers overhead.
Other "untouchables" of the time, including Orozco and Siqueiros, were also the brunt of Gomez Rosas' accomplished hand. Although Rosas may have held a more important role in the grand scale had he shied away from the politics surrounding Mexican art of the time, it certainly appears that his place is being recognized with this current exhibit in the Diego Rivera museum. (And of all places!)
Home Could Be Where the Hacienda Is
Do you wish you had a sprawling place in the countryside that the Jones' could never even hope to copy? Or perhaps you're just tired of paying outrageous prices for Mexico's favorite golden beverage? Well then, take a look at the hacienda San Andres.
Located just 6 miles from Magdalena, Jalisco, this 26 room antique villa, surrounded by Weber agave plants (the only type of cactus legally sanctioned by the Mexican government for the production of tequila), pine trees, oak forests and huge untapped deposits of opals, is currently on the market.
Measuring just under 27 million square feet, the property also boasts vintage stone-constructed stables and arenas capable of holding more than 600 bulls or thoroughbred horses, and an abandoned train station, which is just four miles away from the main building. With a little investment and work, hacienda San Andres could easily be converted into a very lucrative estate.
Asking price is just under 6 million dollars, or about twenty-two cents a square foot (offers considered). For more information, contact El antiQuario Magazine: firstname.lastname@example.org
The United States' continued fascination with Mexico's popular arts can be evidenced by the recent release of another excellent publication on the topic: Casa Mañana, The Morrow Collection of Mexican Popular Arts. Published by the University of New Mexico Press, this 199-page color book not only examines some of the country's varied types of folk art, but also offers a rounded look at the artists and their idiosyncrasies, as well as how art can be used as a vehicle of communication between two countries.
Following the Revolution, Mexico experienced a renaissance in artistic creation. It was during this period that Casa Mañana was built and filled with Dwight and Elizabeth Morrow's fabulous collection of arte popular. The book examines how Dwight, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico during the time, and Elizabeth used folk art as a bridge of understanding between the two countries. Casa Mañana is not just another book on Mexican folk art, rather it is a historic narrative of political, social and cultural life in post-revolutionary Mexico. www.unmpress.com
The Blue Agave Wars
First there were the drug wars. Now, would you believe it's the tequila wars? Jalisco owns the world trademark on tequila, and only allows its production in specific regions of the country. Trouble is, with both national and international consumption on the rise, agave farmers are complaining that there just isn't enough to go around. At 17 pesos a kilo for the blue agave plant, hijacking and bootlegging are not uncommon.
In order to fill the demand, clandestine Weber blue agave farms have started springing up in "uncertified" regions around the country. The Federal Tequila Commission is cracking down on these "covert" operations with the help of drug eradication planes. (They don't yet have permission to use herbicide sprays or guns, however.)
Although we can't help but wonder just how much difference there is between a plant grown on the Jalisco side of the fence compared to one from the Zacatecas side, this enterprising tequila maker, "El Olvido" (The Forgotten), has the right idea. Let's ignore all that BS and just enjoy the drink.