At Your Home Without Me: The Artistic Mankind of Betsabeé Romero
“Art needs to express itself to safeguard humanity.” These are the words of Betsabeé Romero, a Mexican fixture, sculptor, and a generous, greedy painter who is exhibited around the world. She is a poet and activist too. This humanity—a damaged, confused and self-reflecting humanity—was not prepared to face the brutal consequences of the Covid19 pandemic.
Betsabeé Romero is now listening to the suddenly silent streets of Mexico City, North America’s largest city.
From her little street house in the Villa de Cortés district, the artist is on the lookout for the sadness that invades the world faster than the disease. The absence of funerals. the hidden violence against the women and children in her country. And of course, her own personal fight fight for female artists.
Confined, she writes, draws, and reads, mostly philosophy at the moment. She is thinking about art installations to illustrate the staggered mourning that many people will experience. Incidentally, she has been invited to create and speak on this topic at the Frieze in London this Fall, as well as in Sydney and Rome.
Tres Abejas for a Nectar Named Happiness: The new Café in Mexico’s Colonia Roma
Just like his brother Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, the former and first ever Mexican minister of Culture who wanted his country to shine through ideas, music, dance and visual arts, the late Guillermo Tovar de Teresa was a man of letters and knowledge.
Until his death in 2013, Guillermo spent his life in various homes of la Colonia Roma in Mexico City, chronicling from his wooden office the life of a city he was enamored with. His latest address of more than two decades was on 52 Valladolid, steps away from Parque Mexico. The writer’s two bedrooms—one for the winter; another one for the summer—have remained as they were at the end of his life, and tucked behind his office, a courtyard still hides a marbled angel. The 119-year old house, filled with Tovar’s collection of more than 10,000 books, paintings and furniture from the 19th century, porcelains from France and a Victorian lush garden, is now part of the Soumaya Museum.
Somewhere inside 52 Valladolid, there are tiny purple-pale blue flowers with a yellow pistil alongside a green ivy. They could be hidden on a painting or an object.
Try to find them or venture pass the tall, heavy door, next to the villa’s entrance on Valladolid. Separating the home in two, a long narrow-path has morphed into a contemporary European-style bar: a place for people to reflect, think, exchange ideas, and perhaps even love.
Its name is Tres Abejas (three bees).