mndigo to Mexico, part uno

A few weeks ago, Mexico City called. The exhibition “Mexican Red, the Cochineal in Art” at the Belles Artes was too good to resist, as was a too-good-to-be-true airfare. So Kim and I hopped a flight. (This is the first of three posts: the next feature a day in the dyeing studio and the exhibition itself.)

IMG_1566Naturally, the person next to Kim was also a knitter, so their row clicked away the whole flight.

In Polanco, we had the buena fortuna to stay with the family of Claudia Cornew, fiber artist extraordinaire whom we met a year ago at the International Shibori Symposium in Oaxaca City. She and her husband, Frank, and their whipsmart daughters made us feel extraordinarily welcome.

On Saturday, we joined Claudia for a trip to the San Angel market, where some of Mexico City’s top designers and craftspeople have booths. I always appreciate the indigenous textile fashions of Carla Fernandez, so finding her shop there was a treat, and we also met a new brand, 1/8 Takamura, that captured our eye—and a few pesos. (We later visited Carmen Rion’s shop in Condesa, another design standout.)

After the market, our next stop was MUAC, the contemporary art museum on the university campus. Brilliant shows by Russian provocateurs Chto Delat and local artist Yoshua Okun reinforced the power of art to skewer. Plus, MUOC’s shop had a gorgeous shibori poncho by none other than Carla Fernandez. (No need to buy; we know how to dye that!) A complete museum recap of our visit: the Museo Jumex, with a show called “Learning To Read with John Baldessari,” and the Museo Franz Meyer and Belles Artes.

After tortilla soup at MUAC, we raced to Coyoacan to catch Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. Alas, even an hour before close, the line snaked down the block. We had each been before, so the tragedy wasn’t as grave as the self-portrait of us against its exterior blue wall shows. And just like that, we had a marvelous evening in the wildly vibrant zocalo of one of the funkiest neighborhoods of D.F. Mole, mescal, guys playing ancient concertinas, a man with two chihuahuas, plus a sighting of the indigenous hairless Xoloitzcuintli—Kahlo’s favorite breed—made everything all right.

itzcuintli-dogs-with-frida-photo

Next installment: “Dyed and Gone to Heaven,” a day in Claudia’s fiber studio.

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