Postcard from Merida, Mexico: Contemporary art with metaphorical humor

Above, “Memento Mori,” by Rodrigo de la Sierra

Dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of modern and contemporary art in the Yucatan, the Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay Museum opened in 1994 in a prominent landmark (built in 1573) on Merida’s Plaza Mayor adjacent to the Cathedral. A passageway between the two was enclosed with glass in 2001 and offers the opportunity to house large works for the public to interact with on a daily basis.

The main exhibition while we were in Merida early this year placed Timoteo in the spotlight. The plump, elfin-like, endearing Timo allows artist Rodrigo de la Sierra “to embrace the subtle art of the metaphor.”

De la Sierra refers to Timo as everybody’s man, somewhat of an alter ego. With a closer study of this character one sees a seemingly comic veneer interpreting some real serious stuff….

…(the featured) maquette (above) for a major work depicting a black, bronze death figure marching behind (at a distance) a group of banner bearing soldiers, all helmet-wearing Timos in the baroque tradition of the memento mori. His latest oeuvre is based on the human ego and all its ramifications. The obvious charm in all these pieces is almost obfuscated by the serious message in each, while some works flirt with the surreal. 

Margaret Failoni, 2012

The Macay’s temporary exhibitions all are changed out completely every three months, so Timo, the grim reaper lurking behind him, probably will not be found there now. Works by some of Merida’s native-born artists, including Fernando Garcia Ponce, are on permanent display, and the temporary exhibitions tend to be impressive. Two other main draws to the museum are it’s admission-free and it’s air-conditioned.

The Macay represents another prime example of adaptive reuse of historic structures for contemporary museums. We absolutely cannot comprehend why The Alamo Plan in San Antonio is dragging its feet on reusing the fine buildings on the west side of its plaza for its new museum….

5 thoughts on “Postcard from Merida, Mexico: Contemporary art with metaphorical humor”

  1. On a totally different subject, I looked at the books you have read and noticed that you had read Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke. What were your thoughts on the book? I haven’t read it but have known Attica since she was a child. Her mother is a dear friend and business associate. Many decades ago, I designed Attica’s bedroom. Who knew she would grow up to be a prolific writer! Both she and her sister are writers and publishers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Babs – Always love books where the sense of place plays a starring role, essentially assuming the role of a main character. The plot reads like a murder mystery, heavily shaded by regional entrenched racism. Definitely worth reading. Take care.


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