Loved In Translation: American Artist Channels Mexico

You have probably heard the phrase “If you remember the 1960’s, you weren’t there.”  Well, Anado McLauchlin was there and he remembers a lot. He hung out with the Grateful Dead in San Francisco, Rajneesh in India, and the literati in Greenich Village. And then 17 years ago, Anado (not his original Born-in-Oklahoma name) settled down in the countryside outside San Miguel de Allende to pursue his passion for art.                           

Anado’s gallery — I think you can call it a gallery — is Casa de Las Ranas and is “dedicated to the Outlanders of the world.” It covers more than an acre of shaded, quiet hillside on the road to Guanajuato. On our tour of what Anado calls this “viseral playground,” I got the feeling I was enjoying a good acid trip (of course, I wouldn’t actually know what that is…). Every square inch of every installation is full of playful and surprising detail. 

Anado has an unrelenting passion for creating art in all kinds of media that is technically expert but also unmoored and deeply metaphorical.  So much of it combines the sensibilities of 60’s psychedelia with traditional Mexican motifs and processes. The pieces, which include several buildings, employ  bright colors, mirrors, skulls, animals, tile and cultural artifacts.

As we walked around the property, Anado told many stories related to his work, and I am sure there are hundreds we didn’t hear. He is very comfortable with his audience and has been the subject of a full length documentary, as well as many articles in media of all kinds. And his work is a community project. He has engaged local artists and crafts people to work with him. Anado is obviously a treasured — and curious — member of this otherwise conservative corner of Mexico.

We had been forewarned that our tour was only an hour and when our hour was up, our taxi driver was waiting for us outside the gate.  We didn’t have enough time to see and absorb it all, but I left feeling like a junior member of a far-flung cult. If you visit San Miguel, you gotta join.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s