San Ildefonso 28, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 2583 9131
Walking down the southern portion of Insurgentes Avenue there’s a colorful and peculiar-looking building right next door to the towering World Trade Center, and naturally, everybody who hasn’t been to this part of town has sort of the same reaction: “What is that place?” The funny-looking building is none other than the Polifroum Cultural Siqueiros, which is indeed a part of the World Trade Center and was designed by controversial muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros in the 1960s. The forum deems itself a cultural, political, and social facility for the city and it has a theatre, galleries, and more; but its main attraction is the Forum Univeral, which contains Siqueiros mural and a rotating stage where the audience can hear Siqueiros himself narrate the content and inspiration behind his work.
The forum is a decagon that was built as part of the World Trade Center complex in this southern part of Insurgentes Avenue (it has a Metrobús Línea 1 station, “Poliforum”, just in front of it) and was built just outside of Parque de la Lama, the exterior is in the form of a diamond and the interior has 8 sides. The Polyforum’s exterior is a 2,750 ft. area that features a mural painting made up of 12 sides, with each one depicting a different symbolic concept: destiny, ecology, acrobats, masses, decalog, Christ, indigenous people, dance, mythology, the mingling of races, music, and the atom. This mural painting is designed to be a sort of introduction to the main work inside and to ultimately incite people to ponder these complex concepts and their own existence as it’s related to these concepts.
The Poliforum Siqueiros opened in the summer of 1968 amidst one of the most turbulent political climates in Mexico’s history. The Summer Olympics were just a few days away and the right-wing conservative political movement in Mexico had just regained power from the left, which included communist muralist Siqueiros (who was a member of the Communist Party of Mexico and organized the first attempt on the life of exiled Russian communist Leon Trotsky), and many of the other muralists and artists in Mexico. The commission of the project happened sometime before 1960 before Siqueiros had been actually charged with attacking police, resisting arrest, firing an illegal weapon, and inciting violence, which didn’t go over very well with the public.
The outer mural, called “The March of Humanity” is nowadays considered the largest mural in the world. Just outside the building, there’s a sculpture of both Siqueiros and Manuel Suárez y Suárez, one of the most prominent patrons of muralism during its golden age in Mexico. The Poliforum Siqueiros is being remodeled and work has been ongoing for a number of years now, it’s unclear when it will be open to the public once again, some say that a brand new multi-level tower will be built in its surroundings and that the mural will be projected onto the street, but something’s for sure, the original artistic work from the building will be preserved, and it will be open again for the public at some point.
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