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I preferred to walk rather than sit, so I chose the art show. On my way, I heard part of the
children's choir singing, young voices, sweet sopranos and high tenors. Then as I passed
the theater, I poked my nose into the lobby. The theater was built in 1949, but it has the
grace and style of a movie palace designed in the 1930s. It must be one of the last Art
Deco-styled buildings ever built.
The Museo Contemporaneo housed the art show. The museum itself has a colonial-styled
arched interior and a central patio with rooms on four sides. A security guard stood at the
door in front of each room. As I approached, the guard opened the door. It was warm on
the patio, but the room was air-conditioned. The guard was stationed not only to protect
the exhibitions but also to see that the air conditioning was not wasted.
In the second room, the featured exhibit started on the left with a photo of a rust-red bison,
a drawing from the cave wall at Alta Mira, Spain. A second photo was of a similar cave
drawing from central Baja California discovered in the 1950s. The show was a timeline of
art, a record of man's creative expression.
Photographs marched along the walls and up to a second floor and downstairs again. The
centerpiece was Michelangelo's masterpiece, titled in Spanish, “ God Giving the Spark of
Life to Adam .” Photographs of the world's great art masterpieces were featured in chrono-
logical sequence, from the cave drawings, to Greek statues, to Roman mosaics reclaimed
from Pompeii, to flat Byzantine iconography, to three-dimensional perspective European
Renaissance classics, Dutch and Spanish.
As I looked and walked, I retraced history, yet moved ahead era by era. Modern art added
Picasso, Dalí, Miró and the last featured piece was by Frida Kalo. Thus, the exhibit started
with a Mexican cave painting and ended with a Mexican artist. I felt like a student who
had just prepared for the final exam in Art History 1A.
It was time for another Montejo beer in the park. With my glass of a cold beer, I sat in the
park and thought of The True History of the Conquest of Mexico , the eyewitness account
by Bernal Díaz del Castillo. The Yucatan played a major role. Two Spaniards, Jeronimo
Agustin and Gonzalo Guerrero, survivors of a shipwreck and somehow not sacrificed on a
Mayan altar, spent five years living with the Mayan. Both learned Mayan and when Cortes
sailed the coast, he found them. Jeronimo chose to come with Cortes and ultimately was a
key translator during the conquest. Gonzalo elected to stay with his Mayan wife and chil-
dren. He's considered the Father of the Mestizo Race. I consider him a father who loved
his family.
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