Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Art and Architecture Battle It Out in Mexico City

     Centro Cultural Universitario (UNAM), 2015. Via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0.

Centro Cultural Universitario (UNAM), 2015. Via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0.

“Espacio Escultórico” was inaugurated in 1979 on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, otherwise knows as the UNAM. According to the paper of record, it “is considered one of the most important pieces of land art in Mexico… .” Yet the recent construction of a white eight-story building nearby has prompted a furious protest that pits the university’s needs against Mexico’s cultural heritage, artists and intellectuals.

Prominent cultural figures, including the writer Elena Poniatowska, have published letters in the press or posted video statements on Facebook defending the sculpture; about 300 students and faculty members of the university’s architecture school signed a letter to the head of the department in April calling for the building to be modified or demolished.

For the artists, the building, which belongs to the social science faculty, ruins the line of the sky against the flat tops of the pyramids.

The battle is also being spearheaded by artists such as Anish Kapoor and Pedro Reyes,

“You can’t move the lava. You can’t move the landscape,” said Pedro Reyes, a sculptor who is leading the campaign to dismantle Building H, as it is known. “So you have to move the building.”

More via the NY Times.


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