Thursday, October 27, 2016

Frida y Diego: Museo Anahuacalli and the Casa Azul

The studio of Frida Kahlo

For my first full day in Ciudad de México I didn't want to waste any time not seeing all the painterly wonderfulness that exists here. I've been a fan of Frida Kahlo for years as a person, artist, woman. I also appreciate the artwork of Diego Rivera even if I don't think he's quite as baller a person as Frida (but that's a lot to live up to).

Knowing our super budget (and I mean suuuuper budget), I knew I'd have to make some decisions. Mexico City has several amazing options for museums and not just art either. Even so, I chose the Museo Anahuacalli and Casa Azul. Angelo and I headed to the metro for the hour or so ride south to Museo Anahuacalli from where we are staying in Chilpancingo. It's quite a walk from the closest metro stop, so I'd recommend grabbing a cab or bus from there.

SIDE NOTE: The street the museum is on is full of taco shops. We stopped at one and had carnitas. So so yummy.

Due to some issue with the museum's credit card machine and our lack of cash (finding an exchange place here is much more difficult than expected), they gave us the student price! Tickets for both museums we planned to visit for just 60 pesos (less than 4 USD). Yeah Yeah. That, plus the fact that our 4 huge tacos were less than 3 USD makes for happy us.

Diego Rivera designed and built the Museo Anahuacalli. He designed the aztec symbols on the ceilings and the pro-colombian mesoamerican architecture of the building. AND he collected over 55,000 individual artifacts to fill this baby up.

View from the top of Anahuacalli

Each room's ceiling portrays Aztec gods or myth
It took about 2 hours to view almost everything. We skipped some info cards towards the end but the space is a lot bigger than you think from the outside.

Afterwards, we headed over to the infamous Casa Azul. I recognized the outside from photographs and the awesome movie with Salma Hayek. It was everything I wanted it to be. A space so full of traditional Mexican life (including a wood burning hearth in the kitchen even though gas was definitely available in the 1930's); lovingly chosen paintings, sculptures, fabrics, and plantlife; detailed stories of Frida and her very interesting life; and just for Dia de los Muertos next week: an enormous vibrant alter dedicated to Frida and all the things she loved and lived for. I was just in awe running around the place.

Just waiting for Frida to paint my portrait

One of these clocks is set for the time Frida and Diego got divorced and the other for the time they were re-married. 

Photo of the mirror above Frida's childhood bed placed there so she could paint during her months bedridden from the bus accident that broke her pelvis in 3 places, among other injuries. She kept this bed throughout her life and used it as a daybed for resting in a separate day bedroom.Frida's dresses in Tehuantepec style, her signature look. Frida's shoes with one taller than the other to even her legs which were forever different due to polio at age 6.

Books in Frida's studio. Casts she wore. The kitchen at Casa Azul which includes only that wood burning hearth for appliances.

Her studio was by far my favorite. The light in there! Two walls of all windows that look over the garden. She used walnut oil for mixing and had collections of pressed pigments which she obviously ground herself in her little painting molcajete. Nelson Rockefeller gave her a huge easel. I know she went through a lot of pain due to her injuries, but this house seemed like such a warm and happy place. I loved to walk in her home and the home that hosted so many incredible artists and minds of the time.

TIPS: If you're planning to visit these two museums, go to Anahuhacalli first and buy the double ticket. The ticket line at Casa Azul is pretty lengthy the entire day. We skipped about 25 people when we just walked right in with our tickets purchased earlier that day. Even if you don't go to both, buy your tickets online and print them. Do not miss the special exhibition which is on the other side of the garden.

Cheers to another day on permavaca ;)