Sure, Mexico beckons with its endless sun, sea and margaritas. But the land south of the border is also rich with cultural delights.
Home to more than 150 museums — and the enduring legacy of Rivera and Kahlo — Mexico City has long had a great wealth of modern art to show off. Over the past decade, however, in addition to a booming food scene, the contemporary art movement has been exploding, with seemingly endless new galleries popping up across the city.
What to Do: The most famous names in Mexican modern art are, of course, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. To see Rivera’s murals, head to Palacio Nacional; Museo Mural Diego Rivera, and Palacio de Bellas Artes, which houses his Man, Controller of the Universe, originally created for, then partially destroyed and removed by, New York City’s Rockefeller Center. (The artist portrayed patron John D. Rockerfeller, an outspoken teetotaler, sipping champagne, so the elaborate fresco project was squelched.) for an insight into Kahlo’s work and life, go to Casa Museo Frida Kahlo (also known as the Casa Azul), where she was born and spent much of her life. And Museo Dolores Olmedo houses the biggest collection of works by both Rivera and Kahlo. For a primer on the vibrant contemporary art scene, visit Polanco’s Museo Tamayo (founded by the eponymous artist in 1981), which showcases international artists in Mexico. Opened in 2013, Museo Jumex houses more than 2,000 works by big-name contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons and Olafur Eliasson, as well as Mexican creators including Abraham Cruzvillegas and Mario García Torres. A few steps away, the Museo Soumaya, funded by Carlos Slim (once the world’s richest man) and named for his late wife, boasts more than 66,000 works.
Photo courtesy of @Morizbernoully
Where to Stay: In the Polanco district, Camino Real Polanco — designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and said to be one of the buildings most representative of Mexican architecture of its period—offers an immersive experience in the late-20th century Modernist Mexican art scene. The 712-room hotel, which opened in 1968, is home to a large collection of works by significant Mexican artists, including a striking pink sculptural wall by Legorreta at the entrance and a mural by Oaxacan painter Rufino Tamayo in the lobby (room rates start at $145 a night; caminoreal.com).
Photos courtesy of Camino Real Polanco