Intro to the Southwest

My half day exploring El Paso was enriched by a shop steward, a museum attendant, a taxi driver and a waiter, all adding to my crash course in Southwest history.

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The art museum in EP had numerous exhibitions including ‘Discovering the American Modern 1907-1936’ where I saw my first Georgia O’keefe in the raw. Tiny but beautiful – no pics allowed. But I could take a photo of this print by Pena and the art shop steward talked to me about the use of the skeleton in so many artworks and sculptures and house ornaments. Celebration of life not death though our impulse is to see it as macabre. More to learn there.

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A nice little Diego Rivera landscape, and some great pieces that confirmed I was no longer in Australia.

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The final piece is a retardo from the 19thC, a popular Mexican home altar adornment painted on tin.

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The museum attendant spent so much time with me, generously helping me decipher the timeline of Spanish and US land negotiations (aka wars), the Spanish and Indian land negotiations (let’s call that taking and then offering missions in the 17thC – very familiar histories we share), the final agreement about today’s border with Mexico, and all this before the Civil War. There was also a beautiful modern exhibit about 2 neighboring El Paso suburbs with some poignant statements about home.

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I heard the song sound of espanol all day, looked the wrong way when stepping out, over-tipped everyone – the waiter told me to tip the taxi driver 10% but if he spoke to me it should be 15%!

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And amongst the Halloween decorations in a pharmacy this jaunty Mexican piñata kept me chuckling. Is it true they get whacked on November 1 or 2?

And for everyone’s amusement, if I order another iced coffee ‘without cream’ I will get another black iced coffee.
Truly a great day, LC tomorrow!

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8 thoughts on “Intro to the Southwest

  1. WBHD folks – are my images a little fuzzy? They look fuzzy when I check the post. I may be uploading too low a resolution :-/

  2. Thanks Chris, cowboy at the end is better now, so I know what to pick next time. 🙂

  3. Hopefully by now the skips have been delivered and all the furniture has been moved out to the front yard to clear the dance space. Great posts….it’s always fascinating to see a different culture/locale through an artist’s eyes (or Adrienne’s if can’t find a real one).

  4. HI A – great report. We plan on getting to the ELP museum. One note though, is the “Retardo” not a Retablo? C.

  5. hahaha, Carey, when I read the ‘retardo’ I was thinking: Is that correct???? But for the life of me couldn’t think of the correct word. THANKS. Good one, Adrienne.

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