Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno (Carlos Merida)

I chose Guatemala City over a return trip to the lake, both because I had never spent any time there, despite having passed through a few times, and also because I was desperate to see some art, any art really. So I chose the National Modern Art Museum, and across the street there was an archaeological museum worth visiting too: plenty of Mayan history and artifacts, and also traditional clothing and textiles from the region of Nebaj, where I'd visited only a couple of weeks prior. 

The museum in Guatemala City, by global standards, is nothing particularly special, although as far as I'm concerned it's the Hermitage of Central America. I asked one of the museum employees whether or not the paints and accessories where replicas or if they had belonged to Carlos Merida, Guatemala's most famous artist, friend to Picasso and others. The man insisted that they were authentic, had belonged to Merida, and then he took me behind the barrier to not only show me but let me hold some of the artist's belongings. That really shouldn't be happening. It surprised me a bit, but not really. There aren't as many rules here, only American fruit companies.

Carlos Merida's work station.

Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, with art that's not especially modern. There is more than is 100 years older or more, than there is from the past 30 years.

I really shouldn't be holding this.

Materials to make pale gold paint.

Carlos Merida's final, unfinished painting.