Most visitors to Oaxaca think that Oaxacan art is just folk art; which is easy to see as many of the items are wooden figures, black pottery, and wool rugs. However, what they do not realize is that Oaxaca has a very long tradition in the art world that continues to be successful today, both locally and internationally due to the large amount of interest from the tourists that visit the area. In fact, Oaxaca has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many artists that are renowned internationally including Demian Flores, Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Toledo, and Rodolfo Morales.
It should not come as that much of a surprise then that the city of Oaxaca has plenty of offer to its visitors in the way of art. In fact, close to the heart of the downtown area are more than thirty art galleries and museums allowing you to easily spend an entire holiday just wondering around looking at art and buying the pieces that you love the most.
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However, most travelers have diverse vacation plans and do not have time to stop by every single art gallery, which is why the following guide might help you narrow down your plans a bit.
To start with, the two most well known and respected museums in Oaxaca are the Museo del Arte Contemporaneo (MACO) and the Museo de Pintores Oaxaquenos (MUPO). They are both great institutions to get start with to really get a taste of the spirit of art in the city. From here you can branch out start to take a look at more unique images at the galleries that you can buy to take home with you to mark the time you spent in Oaxaca.
MACO Oaxaca Mexico
The MACO has been refurbished and is now housed in a colonial building that sits on Alcala which is a main pedestrian walkway in the city making it easy to find. The second floor has some of the best original frescos found anywhere and it is hard to not feel like you are walking through history while touring the floor.
Art Work By: Hernandez Alcazar
The colonial building is a very stark contrast against the minimal design of the museum and helps to accentuate the placement of the art pieces. The minimal background also helps visitors to fully appreciate the art because their attention is drawn straight to it without any competing influences. Artists’ exhibits are a mix of artists from abroad and Mexico and are changed on a bi-monthly basis.
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The other top art museum is the MUPO and it is also fairly easy to find due to its proximity to the central post office downtown. The museum is dedicated to featuring the works of Oaxacan artists making it the perfect place to get a true taste of the local art flavor. It features rotating exhibits of new and upcoming artist and many artists that have already made a name for themselves both locally and on a global approach. Every year the museum also hosts fine art auctions in order to donate to charity and to offer assistance to local artists.