CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Mexico City | AttractionJune 20, 2013

Museo Rufino Tamayo de Arte Contemporanea

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Amonf my favourites in a city that has the highest number of museums in the world, has been the Museo Rufino Tamayo .

It is an art museum located in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park, principally dedicated to the former private collection of artist Rufino Tamayo and temporary exhibits of contemporary art. The building was the first major museum in Mexico built with private funds, with Tamayo participating in its design, which won the Premio Nacional de Arte in 1982.

The permanent collection is still mostly the Tamayo collection with over 300 paintings, sculptures and more by artists such as Picasso, Joan Miró and René Magritte. The Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) has run the museum since 1986 and in 2012, the facility was expanded from three halls to five.

The museum building is a modular construction from the 1980s, expanded in 2012 in a small section of Chapultepec Park it shares with the Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia, separated from the main part by Paseo de la Reforma. The vestibule contains a mural painted in 1952 by Tamayo called Homenaje a la raza India. It has five main halls for exhibitions, along with a cafeteria, and museum shop. It has an auditorium named after Moisés Cosío, who founded the Alumnos 47 Foundation. One other feature is the Cyberlounge, opened in 2001 and dedicated to electronic art. Visitors can see artwork online, view videos and listen to music. It is also designed for artistic experimentations, with furniture especially designed for it by Bernardo Gomez-Pimienta.

The permanent collection contains 315 works including paintings, sculptures, engravings, photographs, textiles, drawings and art objects, mostly representing trends from the mid 20th century. It includes artists such as Picasso, Mark Rothko, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Fernando Botero, Francis Bacon, Pierre Soulages, René Magritte, Isamu Noguchi and Robert Motherwell.] The collection still is mostly that originally donated by Rufino Tamayo but some new pieces have been bought such as the 2009 purchase of photographs by Italian Luisa Lambre taken in 2005 at the Luis Barragán House and Studio .

The museum is part of the Institucion Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Mexican national network of museums, with its current director Carmen Cuenca Carrara. It is operated in conjunction with the Olga and Rufino Tamayo Foundation, whose director is David Cohen. Most of its activities relate to the permanent collection and the hosting of temporary exhibits but it also host night events, guided tours, workshops, classes and a club for children. As of 2006 the museum attracts over 126,000 visitors each year.

Later in life, artist Rufino Tamayo and his wife Olga collected international contemporary art. In the late 1970s, the couple decided to donate the collection of about 300 pieces with a value of over ten million USD to the government with the purpose of created a museum.Tamayo initially tried to get the Mexican government to fund the opening of the museum but was rejected several times, with the only result being the donation of its current land, which was the former Chapultepec Golf Club. Instead, Tamayo turned to private sources to fund the building, principally with Grupo Alfa and the Televisa Foundation, making it the first major museum in Mexico founded with private funds.

The building was designed by architects Abraham Zabludovsky and Teodoro González de León. The building was designed with the participation of Tamayo, to be another piece of art for the collection. The design won the National Architecture Prize in 1981 and the Premio Nacional de las Artes in 1982. Worth the visit!

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