Yeah. Another beautiful courtyard. Some more moderately interesting murals. Instituto Allende. The other major art school in town. And I am getting aggravated.
The idea here was first of all to enjoy México, mix it up with the Mexicans, shop for Mexican groceries in Mexican grocery stores, eat Mexican food with Mexicans in real Mexican restaurants, see Mexican sites, watch Mexican entertainment, pick up a little about Mexican culture. Believe me, I am doing all that. However, a blog that consists of entry after entry waxing rhapsodic about all that gets stale fast.
The second objective arose out of the billing of San Miguel de Allende as the home of a large art colony. Lots of art. Stirling Dickinson and all. The whole rebirth of this colonial city back when was based upon art and the G.I. Bill. By the way Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters spent a lot of time here. Neal Cassady died here.
So this was going to be the frosting on the cake. I would get to see a lot of interesting, original art—the kind of stuff that glues your feet to the floor while you stare. I have found a little, particularly Magaly Padilla's work, but not nearly as much as I want.
There are not enough public galleries. Both Bellas Artes and Instituto Allende are schools, not galleries. There is some public gallery space, but I have yet to see anything worth telling you about. At Bellas Artes the current exhibit was of some woman's fractals for chrissakes. This is odd because every third non-Mexican and his non-Mexican brother in this town claim to be artists. A whole bunch of Mexicans claim to be artists, too. But hell, I could claim to be an artist for that matter.
Instituto Allende was full of commercial galleries. . . . . and three very snooty cafés. I left after not going into any of those, but I am going to have to change my approach.
I so wish my pals Hugo and Ruth from back in Iowa were here to go commercial gallery hopping with me. Hugo has the unenviable job of being my own lawyer and much more. Anyone with any sort of grievance against me should feel free to contact Hugo. He is a great listener, and he will probably be sypmpathetic.
Anyway, it would be so much easier for me then because I personally detest dealing with the help. The help hovers. Trying to sniff you out to see if you have money. Then obviously scornful if they conclude that you do not. Hugo and Ruth are great at blocking for me and dealing with those assholes. Then I am left alone to check out the art.
On the other hand those occasions when you get to chat up the actual artists in a gallery can be truly entertaining. Sure, they would like to sell some art, but they also usually appreciate someone who is simply interested in their art, too. Now that I no longer hammer the complimentary wine at those gallery openings, gallery hopping with Hugo and Ruth is a considerably more civilized affair.
In the circumstances as they currently exist, I am going to have to tighten my belt and start walking into these commercial galleries without Hugo and Ruth. But I am not going to pretend that I have money. It will be a deal where I say, “I do not have any money, but I am going to look at the art you have on display here. Do you have any problem with that?” I need to get that all down in Spanish. Although I probably will not have to use it. Most of these commercial galleries appear to be all set up to prey on Americans with a twang and no taste. But I prejudge. We shall see.
At times I daydream that I have Stagg here along with a 2005 black GMC pickup truck load of his art. We would rent some gallery space for pennies in high season, throw a big party with lots of complimentary wine (Hugo can arrange for that some way), and see whether we can sell some real art. I am not guarantying that we would, but I would certainly not bet against us either. I have not found the competition yet.
Relieve some of those Americans who are here in the winter of their money, which they worry about too much anyway. I would hover over 'em and talk about the art in my softest, most unctuous voice. Help them with their estate planning by reducing the size of their cash estate and converting it into art. The kids will only piss away the cash anyway.