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During the construction of Mexico City’s UNAM campus, which was begun in 1950, architects and artists worked together to create buildings with murals on exterior walls. In this lengthy lecture, David Alfaro Siqueiros outlines the history of exterior murals since ancient times in Greece, Rome, and the pre-Hispanic and medieval periods. He offers his conclusions and discusses the murals of Juan O’Gorman, José Chávez Morado, Francisco Eppens, and Diego Rivera made for the campus. In his opinion, they were creating exterior murals in exactly the same way as their interior ones. Siqueiros claims they do not take into account that an exterior mural will be seen by people walking past or driving past in a car. In his discussion of his own project, which at that time was not yet finished, Siqueiros identifies what makes it different. He mentions the use of modern techniques rather than mosaics as if they were an -ism, a combination of painting and sculpture, monumental scale, colors that match the size of the project, and the fact that it is not painted on a smooth surface.      


The design and construction of Ciudad Universitaria (C. U., UNAM) changed the tone of development in Mexico City and could be considered the last great project of the so-called “Mexican school.” During those years of explosive growth in the early 1950s, the car became a necessity and soon influenced the development of the city. In the vicinity of Ciudad Universitaria and in Pedregal de San Ángel itself, Luis Barragán, among other architects, built an exclusive upper-class residential zone with aesthetic values different from the ones used at UNAM. 

Esther Acevedo
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City, Mexico
Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros