Estanquillo Museum, Mexico City, Mexico

The Estanquillo Museum is located in the Historic Center of Mexico City, Mexico. The museum accommodates the personal collection of the writer Carlos Monsiváis that includes paintings, photography, toys, albums; Calendars, advertising and books.

The Estanquillo Museum Collections Carlos Monsiváis is a public trust created by the Government of the Federal District and sectorized in the Ministry of Culture, whose governing body is made up of: Head of Government, Chief Official Office, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Finance, Foundation of the Historic Center ac, Cultural Association “El Estanquillo” ac and National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Carlos Monsiváis for more than 30 years dedicated himself to collecting, acquiring about 12,000 objects, which have been grouped into photography, miniature and models; drawing and cartoons; Engraving and everyday life. In general, the collection is centered on the life of Mexico and popular art.

“… I went every Sunday to La Lagunilla and every Saturday to the Plaza del Ángel with vendors where I was watching the academic rise; at the beginning they were very rustic and now they teach Harvard in matters of possessions”
Carlos Monsivais

The idea of the museum was supported by Rafael Barajas el Fisgón, Carlos Payán, Carlos Slim and the then head of government, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Rodolfo Rodríguez Castañeda. The name was coined by Carlos Monsiváis himself since his collection includes such dissimilar objects. A small shop of small items is understood as a small bottle. The 23 of November of 2006 the museum was inaugurated with the exhibition In order of appearance on the identity of the capital from Colonial times to the present day.

The Estanquillo Museum was founded in 2006 from the desire of Carlos Monsiváis to share his collection with the Mexican people, this collection is made up of more than 20,000 pieces, including historical documents, paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, sheet music, cartoons, miniatures and models. From the diversity of these collections, the name of the museum emerges, which establishes an analogy with small businesses, which in Mexico in the 19th and first half of the 20th century were known as “little shop”, in which it was possible to acquire practically all kinds of merchandise

This is how this collection allows us to appreciate different perspectives and conceptions about the political, social and cultural life of Mexico throughout its recent history. In the inventory there are representative works of Teodoro Torres and Susana Navarro, Roberto Ruiz, Teresa Nava, Claudio Linatti, Constantino Escalante, José Guadalupe Posada, Julio Ruelas, Leopoldo Méndez and the Workshop of Popular Graphics, Miguel Covarrubias, Lola and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Mariana Yampolsky, Nacho López, Héctor García, Armando Herrera, Vicente Rojo, Francisco Toledo, Rafael Barajas “El fisgón”, Andrés Audiffred, Alberto Isaac, Eduardo del Río “Rius”, among others.

The museum is located in the La Esmeralda building, which housed La Esmeralda Hauser-Zivy jewelry and company at the end of the 19th century. Throughout the twentieth century the building had several turns, from jewelry to government office, then to bank; He even housed the La Opulencia disco. Currently, it also houses a record store.

The Museo del Estanquillo is located in one of the most iconic corners of the historic center of Mexico City, at the junction of the streets of Isabel La Católica and Francisco I. Madero. The building is named La Esmeralda, having been specifically built, at the end of the nineteenth century, to house one of the most luxurious jewelry stores in the country, La Esmeralda Hauser-Zivy y Compañía, a company specializing in the sale of select works of art, jewelry, watches and music boxes.

The La Esmeralda building was built by architects Eleuterio Méndez and Francisco Serrano and was inaugurated as jewelry on November 27, 1892, by President Porfirio Díaz himself. Throughout the twentieth century, La Esmeralda underwent various changes in its use: jewelry became a government office at the end of the 1960s, later became a bank branch and at some point even became the disco “The Opulence.” In the first years of the current century, a deep recovery process began to receive and show the public, the collections of Carlos Monsiváis.

To reverse the deterioration of the property and adapt the spaces to the needs of the museum, around the writer and collector met, in addition to his closest friends, the Federal District Government; the Trust of the Historic Center, which entrusted the architect Gabriel Mérigo Basurto the restoration project; the National Institute of Anthropology and History of CONACULTA, as well as the Foundation of the Historic Center of Mexico City.

The work was done in two stages. In the first, the facades were intervened with their friezes, cornices, pilasters and ornaments; In the second stage of the work, the architectural and engineering works were carried out, in order to create the museum spaces.

At present, the La Esmeralda building and specifically the Museo del Estanquillo, has three exhibition halls, in which, on a temporary basis, different exhibitions with the collections of Carlos Monsiváis are shown; a reading room, with more than 2,000 books with themes specialized mainly in Mexican history, literature and fine arts. Finally, a terrace in which, periodically, editorial presentations and cultural activities are carried out with an impressive scenographic framework.

The culture in Mexico has been built thanks to public and private efforts. In the preservation of popular culture, one of the most important places is occupied by Carlos Monsiváis, who with an extraordinary curatorial eye, gathered more than 20 thousand pieces that make up the permanent collection of the Museo del Estanquillo.

In the Museo del Estanquillo. Collections Carlos Monsiváis you can see a common thread that corresponds to the collector’s own passions: photography, cinema, folk art, cartoons, graphic works, editions, miniature, music, culture, politics, among other.

The collection began with a drawing by José Miguel Covarrubias “El Chamaco” and continued for four decades in which, tirelessly and acutely, Carlos Monsiváis dedicated himself to locating objects that reflected his proximity to the country and Mexico City. It was not uncommon to find it in La lagunilla, Bazar del Ángel, old bookstores… He also acquired pieces with private or custom collectors. It is a totally Mexican collection and bought from Mexicans or foreigners who worked in the country.

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Carlos Monsiváis was a man of many passions and his collection corresponds to it; therefore, it is impossible to divide it without falling into arbitrariness. In any case, it can be said that it is composed of four major items: photography, toys and miniatures, cartoon and drawing and graphics. But it is also made up of plastic art, manifestos, posters, historical documents, scores, cinema… Hence the name of the museum is “del Estanquillo”, a clear evocation to the premises that until a few years ago offered a large number of objects of diverse nature.

In photography – an important part of the collection – highlights the lens of Hugo Brehme, Nacho López, Héctor García, Guillermo Kahlo, Agustín Jiménez and Armando Herrera.

In graphic work and painting, it has pieces by Claudio Linatti, Leopoldo Méndez, Pablo O’Higgins, Raúl Anguiano, Diego Rivera, Francisco Toledo. In addition to one of the largest collections of works by José Guadalupe Posada

Within the cartoon and drawing the cartons of Alberto Isaac, Naranjo, Rius, Abel Quezada and Rafael Barajas “El Fisgón” occupy a special place. Ernesto García Cabral, Miguel Covarrubias and Andrés Audiffred. As well as a very large collection of “The Orchestra”, a nineteenth-century newspaper that devoted much of its edition to this form of expression.

Among the artists dedicated to folk art, there are works by Teodoro Torres, Susana Navarro, Roberto Ruiz and Teresa Nava.

Together, the thematic nuclei of the collection allow us to make a portrait of the history of Mexico and its society from the political, economic and everyday life.


Temporary exhibition

Leopoldo Méndez and the Popular Graphic Workshop. Passion on paper
1st floor

In his speech, this exhibition is divided into six sections in which Leopoldo Méndez’s contributions in movements and artistic collectives such as Estridentismo, LEAR (League of Writers and Revolutionary Artists) and the TGP (Workshop of Popular Graphic), in addition to abounding on the work Melodic Incidents of the Irrational World, as well as in its participation in cinematographic projects and complementing the information on the career of the outstanding capitalist engraver, sketches, drawings, oils and personal documents of the artist are included.

The days of the earthquake
2nd floor

It shows that it commemorates the 30 years of the tremor that Mexico City suffered on September 19, 1985. It will highlight the reflections made by Carlos Monsiváis regarding the participation of the population exposed in his book Not without us. The days of the earthquake 1985-2005. The exhibition seeks to reflect on the way in which society organized independently before the inaction of the federal government, as well as remembering the time of the tragedy, the disaster that caused this natural phenomenon as well as the repercussions it had on the production of the art and culture of the second decade of 1980 in Mexico. There will be talk about neighborhood movements by colonies, the appearance of the Seamstress Union September 19, rescuers known as “moles” and figures like Superbarrio.

South of the millennium. Photographs by Pablo Méndez
3rd floor

Among the hundreds of friendships that Carlos Monsiváis cultivated, Pablo Méndez is among them. Disciple of Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Méndez eagerly seeks to rediscover the lost Mexico in the maelstrom of its contradictions between the change of the post-revolutionary structures and the current ones, rescues images of the traditions of some communities in southeastern Mexico that today seem to us very ancient. Monsiváis would say of him: “Pablo Méndez, witness, traveler, photographer, gives us his version of the southeast, one of the possible ones, one of the necessary ones.”

South of the Millennium is a work designed and conceived by the photographer Pablo Méndez, with The main purpose of highlighting the permanence and vitality of ancient cultures, the Maya, above all, in the current life of the Indian and mestizo peoples of southern Mexico. And also to be able to say through his photographs, that this permanence is increasingly powerful and creative, despite the vassalage to which these peoples are subjected, which lasts so many hundreds of years.

For Pablo Méndez this work is a tribute to that newborn world in his eyes, and for this reason he wanted to give us clearly and naturally, without trying to make innovative technical and aesthetic proposals. He has only wanted to make those who see this work feel the strength of the presence of the Indians of the south of the country. By assuming his work with simplicity and professionalism, Méndez has found himself fully as a photographer, not without forgetting his already long career as such. For all this and other things, these photographs have a unique color and rhythm: they are a high artistic selection.

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