Graffiti as Art in Oaxaca

A trip to Oaxaca a few weeks back gave the opportunity to see some excellent graffiti/art throughout town.  Much of the graffiti really should be classified as art, while others, including the fat Ronald McDonald, are political or cultural messages.

What a good burger.

Loosely (and politely) translated as: "McDonalds stinks / Dedicated to making... / Messes with me / Makes me fat / Contributes to the destruction of the planet / ??"

Shown below are some of my favorite examples, many from the walls surrounding an art workshop in the center of town.  I may post some more from Oaxaca as well as graffiti/art from other cities in Mexico to show some contrasts.


México, D.F.

Saboree Lo Maximo

At a random fonda, far off the tourist beat, there was this great image painted on the wall.  I find it to be very stereotypical of a type of Mexican art (at least in my opinion): a mix of ingenuity, social commentary, humor, commercialism, and American iconography, with a decidedly local twist.

Savor the best....

Savor the best....

Of course, perhaps it also fits the stereotype as the custom-made sign is partially obscured by a television and an aquarium with a couple of turtles.  The small note on the left reads: “Nota: qualquiera parecido con el personaje es pura coincidencia,” or “whatever similarity with the person is pure coincidence.”  It refers, I assume, to the figure in the center of the bill; although the face is obscured, the two donkey ears are not.


México, D.F.

When art and science collide

Today after work, I joined my roommate at the Centro Nacional de las Artes for a forum on art and science.  I must admit, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was looking forward to a few of the presentations, especially one by Dava Newman from MIT, who happens to be the advisor for several of my friends.  Listed on the ECAM program were several sessions, including Dava’s at 6:30 PM.  

My timing couldn’t have been better and I arrived almost exactly at 6:30 (not so easy in Mexico!), and I found that the first session was just wrapping up, with a very interesting presentation about the geometrical structure of C60, aka buckminsterfullerene (symmetry is beautiful!).  Unfortunately, instead of the second session, the host then invited members of the audience to participate and we began a lengthy Q&A session.  Though, in fairness, many of the “questions” were 10-minute extemporaneous running comments about everything from computer code to Fibonacci numbers to the upcoming U.S. presidential election.  At times, I got the feeling that some members of the audience just wanted to hear themselves talk!

At 7:30, an hour later, we adjourned for cocktails and, well, a “concert” — though, all I can do is describe it: a gentleman placed two bare wires and a small microphone in a jug full of water; he connected a large battery to the wires and brought them close enough so that they arced, creating a brilliant flash and a large stream of bubbles.  The microphone was connected to several large speakers… and out came what I can only describe as the most hideous sound I’ve ever heard, a mix between finger nails on a chalkboard and a loud rumble!  Such is art and science.  Needless to say… we decided to leave.

It was an interesting experience… but I never quite figured out what happened to Dava.  If anyone out there cares to provide an update, please do!


ps… I’ve got a whole bunch of pictures that I am hoping to upload to the blog in the next few days.  Been a bit busy at work, if you can imagine it (seriously!).  Stay tuned.


México, D.F.

Art in the D.F. Metro

Previous BBC report on art in the Mexico City Metro.  I’ll have more to say later in the year, I’m sure!