The Museo de la Estampa (MUNAE) is NOT a museum dedicated to stamps as this false cognate might insinuate, but rather a museum devoted to graphic art, prints and engravings, inaugurated in 1986 to fill the gap in public space earmarked for graphic work. Do not be put off by the building’s semi-abandoned, somewhat dilapidated façade, particularly in contrast to the oft visited and highly lauded neighboring Franz Mayer Museum to its left. Both museums are located on the Plaza de la Santa Veracruz (on Hidalgo Avenue), flanked by two churches (San Juan de Dios and The Santa Veracruz Parish Church built in 1586, one of the oldest in Mexico City, from which the plaza gets its name), behind the Alameda Park, yet the Museo de la Estampa rarely gets its due of publicity, and is seldom visited.
Don’t miss the MUNAE’s currently show entitled “The Double Fold Dream of Art; 2RC – Between the Artist and the Artifact.” “2RC,” for those unfamiliar with the art world, is one of the most important and well-known contemporary graphic art printing houses, founded in Italy by Valter and Eleonora Rossi. This itinerant exhibit has already toured the United States (in Chicago, Indianapolis and San Francisco) as well as Russia and Saint Petersburg, Indonesia and Japan, and includes the collective work of 40 conceptual European artists, representative of the contemporary graphic arts movement of the 60s, including Francis Bacon, Lucio Fontana, Eduardo Chillida, Henry Moore (studies for his later sculptures), Man Ray, Julian Schnabel and many, many more.
The 160 pieces on display aim to illustrate the idea behind the title of this show. Although many art forms are achieved solely by the artist (oil painting, sculpting, water color, etc.), graphic arts, by nature, demand a collaborative effort of many players. This genre of art is produced through teamwork, as required by the process itself.
Even if you are not a fan of contemporary art, be sure to check the MUNAE’s calendar of ongoing exhibits which rotate regularly, since the realm of graphic art is amazingly broad – encompassing pre-Hispanic art (made from clay seals which, by definition, fall under the category of print work) to pieces by Dali or Picasso, part of the museum’s permanent collection, and everything in between, including notable Mexican artists who worked in this medium such as Jose Guadalupe Posada (known for his Catrina skeletons), and Siqueiros and Tamayo, whose works are shown sporadically. Definitely worth a visit to the grimier northern edge of the city’s first urban park!