Mexican Storefronts, Art, and Commercialism

Continuing in the theme of public art, I wanted to post a few pictures of storefronts, several from Mexico City and others from Tijuana, Xalapa, and Nativitas.  While public art may not be the first thought that most of us have when thinking about storefronts and advertising, they really are very closely related: both use graphic displays and text to convey a message and, similarly, affect the thoughts and experience of their audience.  Art can be commercial, just as the David LaChapelle billboard shows (see prior post), so why can’t advertising be art?

Ruta 61 in Mexico City

Ruta 61 in Mexico City uses several "border crossing" themes (and loudly offers no cover for ladies on Thursdays).

Of course, there’s much more going on in these pictures than just art and advertising.  The “Tacos McTeo” and “Taco Bells” both show — very directly — the use of gimmicks and U.S. themes in advertising to attract both Mexican customers and American visitors.  More subtly, the Chilango bar “Ruta 61” is not only named after the rock-famous U.S. highway (61?!?), but uses English language in its advertising.  Then there’s Nike, which has housed itself in a spectacular storefront in the centro historico and blends commercialism/branding (both art) with the tiled architectural elements of the classically-designed structure.  Finally, the last two, Serpico and the dental office, have their motifs painted directly on to the building’s face, a form of signage that exemplifies creativity and is popular in a country where many buildings have stucco facades and the labor required for custom paint jobs is inexpensive.


México, D.F.


One Response

  1. […] series of posts on public art in Mexico (graffiti in Oaxaca, graffiti in Mexico, David LaChapelle, storefronts and commercialism). […]

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