Saturday afternoon anthropology

By Rob Packer

I’m now starting my fourth month in Mexico City and I’ve been an embarrassingly bad tourist in the city. It’s not that I really feel that I should be spending my weekends with guidebook in hand, ticking off the sights; but if anyone ever comes to visit, it’s a little awkward if you don’t know where anything is. In my defence, I have visited the city several times before, but with one trip to the Centro Histórico and zero visits to museums, I was starting to feel a like a bad visitor. To make up for lost time, I went to the Museo de Antropología (Anthropology Museum) yesterday for the first time in four years. The museum is enormous and, in my opinion, one of the best in the world in terms of ancient, and some modern ethnological, artefacts. Here are the photos:


Two Museums in Bogotá

By Rob Packer

Bogotá’s Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) is one of the biggest in the country and although the name is deceptive—there is a fair amount that isn’t gold—it gives a very thorough, if poorly explained, rundown of Colombia’s pre-Columbian cultures. Rather than trying to explain, I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

The balsa muisca, the Muisca raft, one of the museum's most famous exhibits.

These (tiny) figures reminded of Fritz Lang's masterpiece, Metropolis.

The other museum I’ve visited in Bogotá is the Botero Museum, which is a showcase of Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero. Just like the Museo del Oro, this museum is run—rather strangely—as a subsidiary of the Banco de la República, Colombia’s central bank. The overwhelming feeling you have while looking around the museum is that nothing’s thin in there: his “proportional exaggeration” (podginess) extends beyond the body. Until I’d seen his still-lifes, I never knew that fruit could be fat. The reason for it is beyond even the artist: “An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it.”

After rooms of proportionally exaggerated men and women, I couldn't work out it this was a podgy hand.

There was something beautiful about this very curvy Leda and Zeus.

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