City of Arts, a Compound Conceived by Diego Rivera, Has Finally Opened

Rivera imagined that the city would contain "everything that is a pure and high expression of the people of Mexico."

The Anahuacalli museum on October 25, 2019. OMAR TORRES/AFP via Getty Images

Close to 100 years after Diego Rivera first imagined the City of Arts, a sprawling compound that would house and foster artists of many different disciplines, such a project has finally opened in Mexico City. The City of Arts, which contains 64,000 square feet of performance space and a library, various workshops, enough storage for Rivera’s sprawling art collection and an experimental cinema, was constructed in tandem with the site of the Anahuacalli Museum in Coyoacán, a space which has also designed with Rivera in mind. The City of Arts took six years to build and cost approximately $960,000 to execute.

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“Dialogue with Rivera and with Juan O’Gorman, who collaborated with him, is one of the most important challenges in my career,” Manuel Rocha, one half of the architect team that designed and delivered the City of Arts, said in an interview with El País. “The idea is that, as in pre-Columbian cities, the buildings are connected and allow a relationship between the parts. What we are trying to do is recode Rivera and O’Gorman’s idea in a contemporary language.”

SEE ALSO: The Art of Mexico City, On and Off the Beaten Path

In his original manifesto laying out his dreams for the City of Arts, Rivera imagined that the final product would marry “the school and academy artist with the potter, with the weaver, with the basketmaker, with the stonemason, with everything that is a pure and high expression of the people of Mexico.” When Rivera originally purchased the property that would come to contain both the museum and the City of Arts, he also began construction on a Mesoamerican pyramid-like building to house his mammoth art collection and also serve as his workshop.

A Frida Kahlo portrait of Rivera entitled Diego y yo (Diego and I) will also go up for auction later in November, indicating the longevity of the famous couple.

City of Arts, a Compound Conceived by Diego Rivera, Has Finally Opened