The exterior of the Casa Taller José Clemente Orozco
La Buena Vida, by José Clemente Orozco.
José Clemente Orozco, one of the “Tres Grandes” of Mexican muralists (along with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros), is one of Guadalajara’s most famous sons and unlike another one, the architect Luis Barragán, many of Orozco’s most important works are in the city (at the Hospicio Cabanas, the University of Guadalajara, and other buildings). It may come as a surprise, then, that there is no museum dedicated to the painter and his works in his hometown. You might think, given its name, that the Casa Taller José Clemente Orozco would be it, but the house and studio was only used briefly by Orozco on visits to Guadalajara in the last three years of his life.
After his death, in 1951, his widow decided to turn it into a cultural center. There is only one work by Orozco on display in the building (La Buena Vida). Painted for the exclusive Turf Club, it shows a scene of festive debauchery, complete with scantily clad female dancers. Except for some perhaps veiled criticism, it shares little in common with Orozco’s more typical scenes of revolution. While the Casa Taller is not the place to go to learn about Orozco or see his works, it should be on your list if you want to see current works by contemporary Mexican and international artists. Its galleries regularly house temporary installations and shows by current artists following in Orozco’s footsteps by creating challenging socially engaged works. Admission is free.