What do you think of when you hear the name “Frida Kahlo?” Her lush, Tehuantepec-inspired dresses? Her flowered headdresses? Her unmistakeable unibrow? These days, one of the most iconoclastic and eccentric artists of her time is often reduced to a mass-produced fashion icon. With all the Halloween costumes and kitschy Frida-printed magnets, bags etc, she’s surely one of the most recognizable Mexican figures in the world–and the most commodified. (Though those El Chapo t-shirts could change that.)
Guillaume “G” Guevara, owner. (Photo Credit: Sam Gillette)
Guillaume “G” Guevara isn’t a big fan of the way local businesses represent Mexico: “When I go to a restaurant here it looks like a museum for wackos,” he told us. That’s why he’s opening Miscelanea New York, a grocery, gift shop and takeaway torta/coffee spot featuring products sourced from or inspired by his homeland.
“It’s an extension of Mexico, in a way,” said Guevara. When his store opens in the East Village on July 15, he hopes it’ll be more true to contemporary Mexico than what he has seen in other places during his 12 years of living in New York. “I don’t mean to diminish people’s businesses, but I’ve had an issue with the way Mexico is presented in other establishments,” he said. “It works and it sells, but I don’t like when I go to a Mexican store and everything is luchador masks and mariachi and tequila shots. That’s not the Mexico I grew up with.”
Eduardo Sarabia, “Ballads” exhibit. (photo: Rob Scher)
Paper holds much value, even when it’s not green, with Franklin’s unsmiling mug on it. A recent MoMA exhibit, for instance, showed Henri Matisse’s appreciation for the potential beauty of tree pulp. Another fellow who seems to have received the memo is Mexican-based artist Eduardo Sarabia, whose most recent exhibit, “Ballads,” opens today at Other Criteria gallery in Soho. More →
In 1994, with the signing of NAFTA, the Zapatistas—a revolutionary leftist group—emerged in Chiapas, under the aegis of Subcomandante Marcos. Chiapas is an impoverished agrarian region in southeastern Mexico, and the anti-capitalist movement’s base is made up of indigenous people eager to thwart the state’s military, paramilitary and corporate incursions into the mountainous region. Join activists fromLa Universidad de La Tierra en Oaxaca (University of the Earth) and the collective Veredas Autonomous (Autonomous Trails) for a discussion of the history and future of social struggles, in Mexico and across the world.