Don't miss the Mexican Cultural Institute's annual Day of the Dead Altar this first week of November! This well-known community event features an intricate altar dedicated to Juan García de Oteyza, former director of the Institute who passed away earlier this year.
In addition, 2013 marks the centennial of the passing of José Guadalupe Posada, one of Mexico's most famous and beloved artists, partially responsible for popularizing the calavera, or skull, through his engravings and images, which have become iconic representations of the Day of the Dead and Mexican culture as a whole.
The Altar will remain open to visitors and school groups until November 8th during regular hours; click here to get more information on how to bring a class or group to the Institute for a tour!
This year's Day of the Dead Altar is dedicated to editor, writer, diplomat and cultural promoter Juan García de Oteyza, son of writer Juan García Ponce. The Mexican Cultural Institute laments the early loss of such a great man, and are honored to dedicate the 2013 Altar to his remembrance. As a cultural attaché, Juan served as the director of both the Mexican Cultural Insitute in DC (2007-2008) and New York (1996-2000), providing invaluable leadership to Mexico's cultural promotion here in the United States. His expertise and warmth will be dearly missed.
In addition to his cultural work in the US, he was executive director of Madrid's Turner publishing house from 2000-2004, and founder / director of Turner's Mexico branch from 2004 to 2007, where he was well-regarded for publishing Mexican editions of Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Daniela Rossell, and others.
Born in 1962, García de Oteyza was a cultural attaché in the United States and executive director of the Aperture Foundation in New York.
Oteyza is also well-known for co-editing the Noema Collection, a series of books aimed to promote wider understanding of various academic and historical topics, including Historia del jazz by Ted Gioia, El Hitler de la historia by John Lukacs, and Sanche de Gramont's El dios indómito: La historia del río Níger.
His death echoed throughout Mexico's well-known personalities—noted writer and commentator León Krauze described Juan as a "fine, sensible, and brilliant man," and Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, the current president of CONACULTA, lamented his passing and remarked that he was a stupendous editor, cultural promoter, and human being.