|Diego Rivera at the Crossroads|
Mexico’s contemporary art scene has long attracted art dealers, museum curators, collectors and academics. But clients need not be international art experts to appreciate an art-centered tour. Mexico City, in particular, offers endless possibilities. Its nearly 200 museums showcase all manners of artistic endeavors. And tour operators are increasingly catering to that artistic bent.
Visual art spaces, exhibitions, galleries and internationally-acclaimed art festivals are cropping up on a number of itineraries.
Ann Arbor, MI-based boutique tour company Tia Stephanie Tours has organized trips for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Textile Museum, the Toledo Art Museum, the Obsidian Arts Center, and Florida International University's Alumni Association.
“Travelers are amazed by the sophistication, complexity, history and artistic expressions of Mexico and Mexico City especially,” Tia Stephanie founder Stephanie Schneiderman tells Travel Agent.
|Frida Kahlo's Blue House|
A new Tia Stephanie tour taking place from August 8 to 16 showcases Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The timing coincides with heightened interest in the iconic artist duo, thanks to much-anticipated new exhibit openings. Among them: Diego and Frida in Detroit at the Detroit Institute of Art and Frida Kahlo’s Garden at the New York Botanical Garden.
Tia Stephanie’s “Diego and Frida in Mexico City” includes visits to the National Palace for a look at Diego Rivera’s mural masterpiece. The tour ventures to the pre-Hispanic site of Teotihuacan and the markets of the Coyoacan neighborhood. Also on tap: the Frida Kahlo Museum (known as the “Blue House”); the Dolores Olmedo Museum, home to the largest collections of Diego and Frida pieces; Rufino Tamayo Museum; Palace of Fine Arts; National Museum of Anthropology and the Luis Barragán House and Studio. The latter is a UNESCO World Heritage site, dedicated to the father of modern Mexican architecture.
Looking ahead to next year, consider tours that include the Zona MACO Art Fair.
Held annually in Mexico City in February, “it is one of the most important international contemporary art fairs, akin to Art Basel Miami and the Venice Bienniale,” Schneiderman says.
Zona MACO takes place in the enormous Centro Banamex convention center on the outskirts of the city. This year’s edition featured 120 galleries from 22 countries and drew a global audience.
Tour operator Journey Mexico handled groups from the Tate in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
“We managed their entire experience. That included VIP pre-opening access, meetings with the fair's artistic director, off-hour visits to art museums, private dinners in art galleries, visits to impressive private contemporary art collections and more,” Lillian Aviles, Journey Mexico’s director of marketing tells Travel Agent.
“We will absolutely receive groups for the fair again in 2016,” she adds.
Next year’s Zona MACO dates are February 3 to 7, 2016.
Tour operator Catherwood Travels is another company that puts art tours together for museum boards, collectors and those involved in the arts. And interest is spreading.
“We might have a group from the Tate Museum in London, or from the L.A. Country Museum of Art. But they go back and talk about the experience so that word gets out. Art tours of Mexico may be a small niche now, but they’re becoming mainstream,” Angelica Espinosa, Catherwood Travels sales and marketing manager says.
As for finding the right client for art tours of Mexico, Schneiderman has this advice.
"People travel the world for art and culture, not realizing there is so much in Mexico, our neighbors to the south. Do your travelers dream of seeing the pyramids of Giza in Egypt? Then they’d be amazed by a visit to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan. Do your travelers crave the chance to view Monet’s vast "Nympheas" series covering the walls of the Musee de l'Orangerie or Berthe Morisot paintings at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris? Then, they’d swoon over Diego Rivera’s murals at the Palace of Fine Arts or Frida Kahlo’s paintings at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City."