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Provocative paintings on a feminine theme steal the day at Cabañas

For someone who is always looking for an excuse to visit Guadalajara‘s Instituto Cultural Cabañas, three current exhibitions (all lasting until well after the first of the year) were perfect.

pg5aI expected “Los Teules [the Gods or demons in Nahuatl]—José Clemente Orozco” to provide illumination on this iconic and iconoclastic master whose frescoes are spread across the ceiling of the ICC’s main chapel and are the prime reason UNESCO designated the large institution a World Heritage site. And I thought this temporary Orozco show, consisting of just five large paintings (using pyroxylin, a new industrial material in the 1940s, on masonite), would perhaps provide a comparison with “Agustin Jimenez and Photography—the Minimum.” 

The two artists, after all, were groundbreakers in modern Mexico and roughly contemporaries, working in the first half of the twentieth century. (But among their many differences, Jimenez, from Mexico City, was relatively unknown—he worked a lot in cinema—while Orozco was Guadalajara’s luminary contribution to Mexican mural painting and aimed to confront history, especially the Conquest of Mexico, through art.) 

The two shows fulfilled my expectations and provided an opportunity to again bask in the general beauty of the ICC—especially its many breathtaking and serene patios, and also its mundane delights such as a Black Coffee shop and even its bathrooms! The Cabañas isn’t Disneyland but more contemplative types may find they never get tired of hanging around there.

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