One of the pleasures of even a brief visit to Monterrey is the chance to explore its art museums and galleries. There are three important art museums in the city. The Museo de Monterrey (at Ave. Alfonso Reyes 2202 Nte, open Tuesday to Sunday 11:00 to 20:00), housed in the original buildings of Cervecería Cuauhtemoc, boasts a fine collection of Mexico’s artistic greats including works by Diego Rivera, Dr. Atl and Rufino Tamayo. The brewery (tours available) serves complimentary glasses of beer to visitors who wish to relax for a while in the garden. A few steps away is Monterrey’s Hall of Fame (El Salón de la Fama) where you can relive the exploits of all your sporting heroes, especially those associated with baseball.
The Pinacoteca de Monterrey (open 11:00 – 18:00) is in the Parque Niños Heroes. The Pinacoteca’s permanent exhibition of some 200 pieces focuses on the development of the regional artistic styles associated with Nuevo León. It provides a fascinating journey through time and includes some magnificent works by a large number of artists, including examples by “an-apple-in-every-painting” Martha Chapa, Federico Cantú and Angel Zárraga. The museum’s collection is worth revisiting many times.
The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Marco, at the southeastern corner of the Macroplaza (open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11:00 – 19:00, Wednesday and Sunday 11:00 – 21:00) provides the perfect cultural counterbalance to the bevy of government offices west of the plaza. Marco cost 11 million dollars but it was money well spent and underlines the importance Monterrey has attached to diversifying its tourist attractions in the 1990’s. Renowned architect Ricardo Legorreta has designed a shrine to Mexican modernism, inside and out. Even before entering the salons, your sense of scale is challenged by Juan Soriano’s huge bronze, “La Paloma”, outside the entrance, and by the open spaces of the foyer inside. Wandering around Marco’s superb collection of modern (predominantly Latin American) art brings fresh surprises and pleasures at every turn. Some of the artists featured are not well known to the general public – at least, not yet!
All three Monterrey art museums complement their permanent collections with temporary exhibits. All three museums also have gift shops, perfect places to find unusual and classy presents for family, friends and business colleagues. The gift store at Marco has an outstanding collection of high quality gifts, priced from $20 to $5,000.
Monterrey also has several premier art galleries for those who prefer to invest, rather than simply admire, art. A listing of galleries, current exhibitions and opening hours will be found in your courtesy copy of Fondo Mixto’s monthly publication Disfrute Monterrey, placed in all of the city’s top hotels.
If looking at fine art stimulates your appetite for fine food, then try the Restaurant Luisiana, just across the Macroplaza, on the smaller and more intimate Plaza Hidalgo. This is definitely the outstanding restaurant of the city center, justifiably a traditional favourite of all regiomontanos. But a word to the wise…. don’t overindulge in the tasty soups, scrumptious salads and excellent entrees for fear of missing the delectable desserts — which include Grand Marnier crepes and baked ice-cream. The Luisiana’s varied entree menu features as many seafood specialities as meat dishes, a refreshing change of pace in this norteño city whose regional cuisine is based on goat and kid meat. Everything at Luisiana is done correctly — from well-made cocktails to attentive, personal service. After a long business day, where better to dine out?
© Copyright 2000 by Tony Burton. All rights reserved.