On Thursday, January 26, 2012, I went to see the Dr. Alt exhibit at the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco in México City’s Tlatelolco hood, not too far from where I live. I went with some American friends that are now living in México City: Jim Johnson, Nicholas Gillman and Brad Conrad.
I had heard about the Dr. Atl art exhibit while I was in Dallas and just had to go because not only had I admired Atl’s paintings but I also live in the neighborhood Dr. At lived in, Col. Santa Maria la Ribera, and too, I live on Dr. At street as well.
The is show was great, I loved seeing all the works in one place, in the Museo Colección Blaisten in the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco. Andres Blaisten, art collector and connoisseur, and for whom the museum is named after, did a great job in the presentation of Dr. Atl’s works.
Dr. At, … was a muralist, an educator and a civic activist who once helped save a colonial-era convent from demolition by moving in and living there. He published books, invented paints and signed his works “Dr. At,” an imaginary honorific using the Nahuatl-language word for water.
Born Gerardo Murillo in Guadalajara in 1875, Dr. At is one of the most accomplished and enigmatic figures from the golden period of modern art in Mexico. …
I say, this is a must see exhibit of one of México’s utmost painters and a big part of Mexican history. Exhibit runs through April 16, 2012.
click image below for a slide show exhibit of Dr. Atl
Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco
Ave. Ricardo Flores Magón N. 1
across from the Plaza de las Tres Culturas – “Square of the Three Cultures”
Cost is only $20.00 pesos, like $1.50 USD
How to get there
I went to Xochimilco the other day with Michael William Parker Stainback and his out of town guest. Every time we (México City residents) have visitors come in from out of town, we go to Xochimilco, an area best known for its canals; left over from the Aztec period. When I take my Dallas guests to Xochimilco, we first go to the Dolores Olmedo Museum and then we go to the canals to ride the small boats called Trajineras.
With Michael Parker we didn’t do the Olmedo museum because we were going to spend the whole afternoon on the canals – stopping at the la Isla de las Munecas – Island of the Dolls.
click image above for slide show of my day
Though I had been to the canals in Xochimilco several times, this was the first time I was going to the Island of the Dolls, a place I often heard and read about: and I was looking forward to it.
I won’t say much except to say the island creepy and I wouldn’t want to be there after dark alone. The time we went, there were no people just dolls, dolls that were slowly deteriorating. There was a sitting area so all eight of us had tequila drinks! LOL
click here for a short video of my day visit to Xochimilco
So why the dolls?
The story goes that the island’s only inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, found the body of a drowned child in the canal some 50 years ago. He was haunted by her death, so when he saw a doll floating by in the canal soon after, he hung it in a tree to please the girl. He hoped to both appease her tortured soul and protect the island from further evil.
One doll in a tree, however, was not enough to ease Santana’s troubled mind. He continued to fish dolls and doll parts out of the canal whenever he saw them, hanging each one carefully on the island. There weren’t enough canal dolls to satisfy Santana’s tortured spirit, so he began scavenging more from trash heaps on his rare trips away from home. Later in life, he began trading his home-grown fruits and vegetables for dolls.
Many stories have been associated with the island over the years. A popular tale was that Don Julian had gone mad and believed the dolls to be real children who he pulled from the canal and tried to revive. But the truth, as told by his family members who now run the island as a tourist attraction, is that Don Julian simply believed the island was haunted by the spirit of the little girl. For reasons only known to Don Julian himself, he believed that he could make the dead girl happy and keep evil at bay by hanging discarded dolls in all of the island’s trees.
Info from the Web Urbanist.
On the evening of January 21st I had my first party in my apartment in Col. Santa Maria la Ribera. It was a small intimate one – a time to say hello and to see old friends. It was great and fun. Michael William Parker Stainback, Mexico City’s glamorous party boy from El Centro Historico came with his entourage. It was muy fun.
Below is a picture of me with my landlord and friend: Bernardo Plasencia:
Without Bernardo’s help, I wouldn’t be back in Mexico City