Having just got back from Mexico, where I spent some of my vacation visiting the galleries – as I love to do – I noticed a few peculiarities, nay major differences I should say, in the way art is perceived and shown in the two different countries.
First of all I must add that I was visiting Mexico during what is typically a quiet period for the art world if not many businesses – Christmas & New Year. However, despite that or perhaps precisely because of that I decided to write these observations.
In Mexico City I was unable to find one decent guide that easily allowed me to locate the galleries. The best only showed the general area in relation to an ad in order to look at a map and try and find the street. Given that most of the major galleries are located in one principal area (Polanco) I am pretty surprised that I could not easily obtain a guide.
In Bogotá I would say the situation is generally similar. It is not easy to locate a map that pinpoints gallery locations. Ok, there is an area in Bogota calle “Galerías” where you will find a number of galleries but sincerely most of the works you will find there are not from noted artists at all. If you are serious about your art you will have to go to the Parque 93 area – although there are a number of isolated but important galleries in other areas.
Also, in Mexico I could not find a great deal of info on what was happening in the city in art terms. Sure there was plenty of information on the top artists like Tamayo, Rivera, Kahlo etc, but no real info on general exhibitions. Whereas in Bogota, just by consulting the local newspaper you should be able to find out information. Indeed one of the things that inspired me to write this article was that in todays paper (El Tiempo – EsKape) there is a whole section at the end dedicated to promoting art events – also, in the social section you can find cultural events and in section 2 there is almost always information on international or local art & culture. Indeed my inspiration was mostly surprise because I was really amazed to see so many small art events going on in Bogotá – and that´s great I think.
Now, in this sense I was really surprised by Mexico – because it is not only a major Latin country but has a VERY strong and supportive role for its arts in relation to its history and this can be seen everywhere – but perhaps it is relying too much on the past, I ask, and not promoting enough contemporary work? Maybe I am wrong on this too. If you go to La Reforma you will see many public sculptures as well as on Calle Geneva (close to the Angel of the Reformation). However, most of these were place around5, 10 or even 15 years ago and a lot are missing the placards informing us about the artwork . . . however, at least Mexico helped promote its artists during that period – that is still (I believe) a period that has yet to be aroused in Bogota and Colombia in general – but it will come.
Anyway – if you live in Mexico or simply can share more information on this theme than I can or perhaps think I have got this wrong, please write a comment and let all readers know where they can find out more detailed art & cultural events in and around Mexico by writing a comment!
PS: Here is a useful link if you are in need of an art gallery in Bogota.