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Art and Museums "The Appearance of the Invisible"
Art flows in the veins of Oaxacan people and is reflected in its history, in the works of great contemporary artists, and artisans’ creations. Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Toledo, and Rodolfo Morales are the great Oaxacans in modern painting. Tamayo was born in Oaxaca, lived in Mexico and New York and is considered one the most important Mexican artists of the century. Morales, "constructor de pueblos" (builder of towns), according to Carlos Monsiváis, was born in Ocotlán, travelled throughout Europe and the rest of America with his paintings, and finally returned to Ocotlán, where he has produced fascinating, unique, and universal pictorial works. Toledo was born in Juchitán, studied in Paris, and as Morales, soon missed the magic of Oaxaca and returned to the capital city after showing his portentous and poetic imagination world-wide. Many young Oaxacan painters have followed the example of the above mentioned, and explore with their work the landscape, the traditions, the myths, and the stones of Oaxaca at the same time revealing their affinity for American of European vanguards that partly define their form or styles. But, overall, all of them share a unmistakable pride for their cultural heritage, for depicting history in anther time and another place, for expressing “la aparicion de lo invisible” [the appearance of the invisible], according to the definition penned by the Mexican writer, Juan García Ponce. A great many works of these new and renowned artists mentioned is exhibited in Oaxaca. It is displayed in museums where it is not uncommon to find famous world designers and artists that come to the land of light and magic to be inspired by the treasures of Monte Albán, the handcrafts of Ocotlán or Arrazola, or the so called "magic surrealism" of Oaxaca.
• Cultures of Oaxaca Museum ("Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca")
- City of Oaxaca, inside of the former Santo Domingo convent.
Formerly known as "Museo Regional" [Regional Museum]. The museum is composed of two floors that house seven rooms for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, and bookstore. The room where the most important changes that the ancient indigenous people of Oaxaca have suffered since the sixteen century up to the present is located in the lower level. There is a collection of pre-Hispanic musical instruments that flourished in Oaxaca from primitive times to the amazing manifestations of the Mixtec culture. This room leads to the ethnography room. The room that vigilantly protects the Tumba 7 treasure of Monte Albán also holds objects made of precious stones.
• Museo de la Soledad
- City of Oaxaca (Independencia, 107).
Indigenous articles and garments. The image of the Virgin is exhibited in one of the rooms, and surrounding her, a great quantity of bridal bouquets, blossoms and veils, among other objects. In another chamber there are old objects dating from the sixteen century. Four dresses and crowns worn by the Virgin, sarcedotal robes, a Christ in the Sacred Tomb of more recent creation, and many paintings the people’s religious fervour.
• Contemporary Art Museum of Oaxaca ("MACO Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca"
- City of Oaxaca (Casa de Cortés).
The House of Cortés is among the oldest and most representative examples of civil architecture in Oaxaca. The house was acquired by the Federal Government to institute the Urban Historical Museum of Oaxaca. It is currently home of the Contemporary Art Museum of Oaxaca (MACO). It has 14 exhibit rooms, six of which hold permanent exhibits: Oaxacan artists such as Rodolfo Nieto, Francisco Gutierrez, Rodolfo Morales, and Rufino Tamayo. MACO also hosts other exhibits, conferences, and cultural activities.
• Rufino Tamayo pre-Hispanic Art Museum ("Museo de Arte Prehispánico Rufino Tamayo")
- City of Oaxaca (Ave. de Morelos, 503).
It contains approximately 1,000 pre-Hispanic pieces corresponding to the early, middle, and late neo-classic, classic, and postclassical periods (from 1600 BC to 1521 AD). This museum includes three stages of art: Pre-Hispanic, Colonial, and Modern. Pre-Hispanic art comprises the entire collection, subject of the exhibit. The building itself represents Colonial art. Modern art, the museology.
• Community Museums ("Museos Comunitarios")
The Union of Community Museums of State of Oaxaca combines 13 towns of the Central Valley region and the Sierra Mixteca, in the heart of the ancestral Zapotec and Mixtec cultures. These communities have open to the public museums that exhibit archaeological patrimony that helps understand the history of indigenous people. The objective of this museum is to rescue the community’s patrimony, invigorate their cultural manifestations, and reinforce the population’s identity. Residents in each village organise to find financing, perform needed research, collect objects, set up exhibits, and build the museums. Currently, the following Community Museums are open to the public: San José el Mogote, San Juan Mixtepec, San Martín Huamelulpan, San Miguel del Progreso, San Miguel Tequixtepec, San Pablo Huitzo, San Pablo Huixtepec, San Pedro and San Pablo Tequixtepec, Santa Ana del Valle, Santa María Cuquila, Santa María Yucuhiti, Santiago Suchilquitongo, Teotitlán del Valle, Tepelmeme de Morelos, San Miguel Tequixtepec, and San Pedro Yucunama.