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The Museum of Modern Art Mexico City

Mexico City, Mexico
1 of 10
Courtesy Museo de Arte Moderno

The Museum of Modern Art or MAM was inaugurated in 1964 and designed by architects Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Rafael Mijares. It is part of a broader cultural program conceived as a museum circuit located in the Chapultepec Forest, the largest forested area within the urban land of Mexico City.In this way the MAM was also part of a process of institutionalization of museums whose buildings would now be designed and built exprofeso, that is, the Government, the main promoter of culture in the country, would no longer be dedicated to rehabilitate old buildings but to create new areas of educational dissemination where the previous narrative could be questioned and modernized but also somehow controlled and driven by a government agenda, which according to many, had the main interest to show the "kinder side of the regime".With an organic, irregular and asymmetrical geometry, the building, made mainly of steel, glass and aluminum, seeks to detach itself from historical references and is rather embedded in the narrative of the International Style with clear intentions of transmitting a certain transparency and lightness, both aspects that in later years would be relevant issues for certain sectors of the Mexican architectural scenario, especially when it comes to a development of an architecture with a national identity.

The Museum of Modern Art (Museo de arte moderno – MAM) is among the biggest museums of its kind in Latin America. An extraordinary collection focuses on the evolution of modern art in Mexico, especially with the Mexican School of Painting and the Breakaway Generation. In the Chapultepec Park, the museum is housed in two circular buildings with two floors each and divided into four halls, and a gallery. A remarkable sculpture garden connects the two buildings. The building was based on the design of the architects Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Carlos A. Cazares Salcido (Professor at the University of Sonora), in collaboration with Rafael Mijares Alcérreca. A part of the original project, which included an auditorium, library and wineries, was never completed. The gardens and walkways were designed by Juan Siles, with the direction of the artist Helen Escobedo.

The Structure

The main body of the museum takes an organic form, curved in parallel to the Paseo de la Reforma. It was intended to respond to the landscape and surrounding undulating trees. It’s also, importantly, always been understood as a highly modern capstone to the country’s modernization process. Having been designed, built, and opened at the very peak of the “Mexican economic miracle,” the Museum of Modern Art might also be understood in that light.

Art Works

The Xavier Villaurrutia and Carlos Pellicer halls allow visitors to admire the museum’s considerable permanent collection. This includes works by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Frida Kahlo, among others. Other halls are used for temporary exhibitions which display parts of the museum’s collection curated under varying themes and topics. These exhibitions often reach some considerable international notoriety. The MAM plays an important role in research and investigation related to modern and contemporary art.

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bostjan, February 6th, 2024
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