A big point in favor of Guadalajara during the time between Christmas and New Year is the relative calm here – many locals take off for beach destinations, reducing traffic. And the major cultural institutions listed here remain open, closing only on their normal days and on Christmas and New Year Days, and making this a good season to take in the many museums in town.
Cabañas Cultural Institute (Instituto Cultural Cabañas) is always a great stop simply because this large and elegant institution invites wandering and houses the renowned chapel murals of José Clemente Orozco.
Besides the murals and building, the ongoing mega-show from Madrid that follows on that city’s role in November’s FIL book fair, Pongamos Que Hablo de Madrid (Let’s say I’m talking about Madrid) continues until February 25.
In addition, until January 7, the 76 works in Por Siempre Cuevas (Always Cuevas) allow a glimpse of the legacy of the controversial (some say dark) artist José Luis Cuevas, who died only this year. Cuevas challenged the eminence of the Mexican Muralists and became part of a movement called La Ruptura (The Rupture).
Also showing, until January 14, are two salons of photographic images by Russian-born, Paris-bred Alexei Vassiliev. The show, Rulfo Invita a Dostoievski – Por Eso Vine a Comala (Rulfo Invites Dostoyevsky – That is Why I Came to Comala), refers to a town in the iconic Jalisco writer Juan Rulfo’s very influential book “Pedro Páramo,” which, like Dostoyevsky’s work, examines human psychology in troubled times.
Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Plaza Tapatía, Guadalajara. Note slightly broadened holiday hours. Holiday schedule: open Tuesdays to Saturdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m; Open Sunday, December 24 and 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Closed Monday, December 25 and January 1. Open Sunday, January 6, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance costs 70 pesos; free on Tuesdays. Information: (33) 3818-2800 ext. 31642. Website: www.hospiciocabanas.jalisco.gob.mx.
Jalisco Museum of Popular Arts (Museo de las Artes Populares de Jalisco) is a small, free museum whose permanent exhibits reflect Jalisco arts and handicrafts very well, making it a good stop for introducing oneself to Jalisco or for becoming an aficionado of important regional arts, such as ceramics, stone work, textiles and even kitchen ware.
Museo de las Artes Populares de Jalisco. Note slightly restricted holiday hours. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sunday, December 24, Monday, December 25, Sunday December 31, Monday, January 1 and Monday, January 7. Calle San Felipe & Pino Suárez, Zona Centro, Guadalajara, (33) 3030-9779.
The University of Guadalajara Museo de las Artes (MUSA) is the second most substantial museum in metro Guadalajara after the Cabañas, tending perhaps toward the contemporary. It is the two-story, gray and white “wedding cake” located midtown near the pretty Expiatorio cathedral at the corner of Juarez and Avenida Enrique Diaz de Leon.
An ongoing show, “Fragmentos de la Memoria II” (Fragments of Memory II) fills the entire second floor of MUSA until February 25 with the work of Elena Asins, an artist from Madrid (called conceptual and avant garde) who died in 2015. Her brilliant paintings are inhabited by delicate, geometric lines and light-hued shapes.
Until January 28, “Cronicas de un Instante” (Chronicles of an Instant) showcases the imaginative, colorful and abstract work of Carlos Rodal (who divides his time between Guadalajara and New York). Rodal, it is said, depicts and celebrates ordinary parts of his everyday world.
MUSA is also hosting, until January 7, Chilean artist-in-residence Norton Maza, whose work, entitled “Geografías del Olvido” (Geographies of the Forgotten), focuses on challenges facing refugees around the world.
Museo de las Artes de la Universidad de Guadalajara (MUSA), Avenida Juárez 975, corner of Enrique Díaz de León. Usually closed Mondays and the holidays on Monday, December 25, and January 1 are no exception; otherwise open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free entrance.
Guadalajara Regional Museum (Museo Regional de Guadalajara), as its name indicates, celebrates the distinctive art, history and culture of Guadalajara, leaning toward educational displays. It contains the famous mastodon skeleton and, currently, three other exhibits that show through Saturday, December 30: “Etnografía de Jalisco” (Ethnography of Jalisco), with displays of the pottery, handicrafts, spinning, weaving, fishing and other economic activities of rural Mexicans of this area; “Pintura del Siglo XVIII” (Painting of the 18th Century), showing the style named Baroque Novohispano, which mixes indigenous and western styles; and “La Historia de Jalisco” (History of Jalisco) with documents, photos and more, from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Museo Regional de Guadalajara, Liceo 60 (occupies the whole block between Hidalgo and Independencia). Tel (33) 3613-2703. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. 55 pesos to enter.