Anyone who has poked around bookstores in Mexico City, the magazine section at Sanborn's, or the gift shop at almost any museum in the country, has probably encountered the publication Artes de Mexico.
Founded by Miguel Salas Anzurez, with Vicente Rojo as graphic designer, this large glossy magazine has been celebrating Mexican culture since 1953. After more than 200 issues, it fell on hard times in 1979 and lay dormant until 1988, when a group of investors decided to bring it back to life. Margarita de Orellano and Alberto Ruy Sanchez were invited to be general directors and since then, they have maintained its position as one of Mexico's most important cultural publications. They have enlarged the scope of the business to include books on poetry, photography, travel, as well as titles for children.
According to the website, the magazine's function is to promote "el placer de contemplar nuestra cultura" (the pleasure of contemplating our culture) and "comprender mejor quiénes somos" (to better understand who we are). Artes de Mexico is recognized around the world for the high quality of the research and writing, as well as for its elegant graphic design.
Margarita, (or Magui as she is known to friends), is the 'hands on' manager of the magazine. It's comfortable, old-fashioned offices are located in a converted Porfiriato mansion in Colonia Roma. Magui recalls first seeing the magazine as a young girl when she got into trouble at school and was called to the principal's office. "He had a copy on the table in the waiting room that I looked through--I was very impressed."
Alberto Ruy Sanchez, her husband as well as co-director, is a renowned poet, novelist and essayist. He travels the world as unofficial cultural ambassador, speaking frequently about Mexico and literature. France's Le Monde recently published a series of articles he wrote about contemporary Mexican culture.
The bi-lingual (Spanish and English) quarterly has covered a wide range of topics. Some of the most popular issues have been those on Talavera of Puebla, the Centro Histórico of Mexico City, Dia de los Muertos, architect Luis Barragán, and the textiles of Chiapas. There are hundreds more.
Artes de Mexico's Colonia Roma headquarters features a store which carries the magazine and a selection of Mexican handicrafts. Be sure to go
upstairs and check out the beautifully preserved interior of this architectural gem, located at Cordoba 69, between Durango and Colima. The store is open Monday through Friday from 9 to 6.
You can buy Artes de Mexico at the places mentioned above, or through the website: www.artesdemexico.com