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Hotel MexicoDwelling on the '68 Movement$
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George F. Flaherty

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291065

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291065.001.0001

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Gestures of Hospitality

Gestures of Hospitality

(p.98) 4. Gestures of Hospitality
Hotel Mexico

George F. Flaherty

University of California Press

In Chapter 4 the unfinished mega Hotel de México (started in 1966) performs as the double to the nation-state. The hotel—archetypal building of modernity—conceals its operations and administrative apparatus, very much like the ruling PRI. By extension, the metaphor of hospitality illuminates how this self-proclaimed host treated its citizens, “limiting” or “conditioning” their status as perpetual guests. The analysis of the late major mural by the famous Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros The March of Humanity on Earth and Towards the Cosmos (1964–71), housed in the cultural center adjacent to the Hotel, reveals contradictions that parallel the challenge of reconciling the revolutionary rhetoric with capitalist modernization faced by the regime and its elites. The chapter argues that militant Siqueiros contradicted the official vision of “cosmic communion” proposed by the architect Guillermo Rossel de la Lama by crafting the mural whose story lines and gestures, especially the motif of hands, contested Mexico’s political status quo, echoing the unruliness of the 68 Movement after the Tlatelolco massacre.

Keywords:   Hospitality, Guillermo Rossell de la Lama, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Hotel de Mexico, Polyforum, Capitalism, Revolution

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