Mexican Cultural Institute Visit

Roughly 20 AAFSW members got together on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 and enjoyed a guided tour of the beautiful Mexican Cultural Institute.  After that, the AAFSW members enjoyed the stunning “GM de Mexico Collection of Drawings and Graphic Art.” Later, we had a tasty lunch at a great Mexican pupuseria close by.

The Mexican Cultural Institute, which is currently the cultural arm of the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, was built in the European style between 1910 and 1911 for the Chicago banking family of Mr. Franklin MacVeagh, who served as the Secretary of the Treasury since 1909 with the administration of President William Taft.  From 1916 to 1921, the mansion served as the Blair House, President Woodrow Wilson’s and President Warren Harding’s guest house.  

In 1921, the mansion was purchased for $330,000 by the Mexican Government to house the Embassy of Mexico in the United States and the Official Ambassador’s Residence.  Diego Rivera recommended his student Roberto Cueva del Rio to paint the Embassy’s murals from 1933-1941.  The spectacular murals include scenes from the Tehuantepec Festival, the Industrial Mexico, the Pan-American history, the landing of Columbus and the pre-Colombian Mexico.  In 1990, the Embassy and Residence were relocated and the Cultural Institute was inaugurated.

The GM de Mexico Collection of Drawings and Graphic Art is a collaborative effort between the Government of Mexico and the GM company that has been an active contributor to the economy and culture of Mexico for more than 80 years.  The works were organized in five thematic sections: Works from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s; contemporary to the Mexican Muralist Movement; the Persistence of the Past; Dreams, Imagination, and Fantasy; Abstraction and Deconstruction; Psychedelic and Optic Art.  We saw notable works from artists such as Myra Landau, Maria Izquierdo, Diego Rivera and others.

We ended this wonderful AAFSW event with a lovely Mexican lunch shared with the lovely company of our great members.  We are looking forward to many more great events at the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Joanna Athanasopoulos