Lobby Huichol (Mexico City)

Mexico City. Hotel Lobby. There’s a slippery gray area between art exhibitions and commercial art endeavors. I have an aversion and deep mistrust of exhibitions in places like hotel lobbies. I went out of my way to see this excellent Huichol Arte Bienale, but I still felt uncomfortable about the context. An intricate dog watched as travelers met in the lounge area…

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An elaborate coffin was lined up beside the check-in desk.

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A vibrant torso faced the entry where the taxis pulled up…

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And bell boys circled around a huge skull in the middle of the space…

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It was a serious exhibition of current regional art. And I sensed that it was also on sale. There was a table manned by Huichol representatives. They were there to answer deeper questions about the symbolism of the art…and yes, there was a price list…I suddenly felt sympathetic to their dilemma; a hotel lobby is an obvious place to solicit needed financial support for an important tradition.

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Telling visitors WHAT NOT TO THINK! Make no mistake, this negative text is meant to correct visitors (and shame them for their misconceptions)

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