Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros
The Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros is a cultural, political and social facility located in Mexico City as part of the World Trade Center Mexico City. It was designed and decorated by David Alfaro Siqueiros in the 1960s and hosts the largest mural work in the world called “La Marcha de la Humanidad.” The building has a theatre, galleries and more, but the main focus is the Foro Universal, which contains the interior portion of Siqueiros mural work. Visitors may see the seven panels while on a stage that rotates while hearing the voice of the artist narrate.
The Polyforum is a decagon shaped construction with different exhibition spaces that feature David Alfaro Siqueiros’ work. The building is part of a business complex called the World Trade Center Mexico City in the Benito Juárez borough of Mexico City. This complex was designed by architects Joaquín Alvarez, Guillermo Rossel de la Lama and Ramón Mikelajáuregui, and built just outside of Parque de la Lama, but the Polyforum was designed and decorated by Siqueiros, who nicknamed it “El coronelazo.” The exterior is in the form of a diamond and the inside has eight sides. The building with its murals is considered to be an “artistic heritage site” for Mexico, registered by the Centro Nacional de Conservación, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura and Registro del Patrimonio Artístico Mueble. The Polyforum is a multiple event facility dedicated to cultural, political and social events. Its main aspects include a 500-seat theatre, two galleries, offices and the Foro Universal or Universal Forum.
Foro Universal and Siqueiros mural
The main feature of the complex is the Foro Universal, which contains Siquiero´s mural called “La Marcha de la Humanidad” (The March of Humanity). The panels on the Foro plus the exterior work measure 8,700m2, the largest mural in the world. The Foro takes up most of the interior space, covered by a vault which measures 900m2 and with 2,400m2 of its walls and ceiling covered by Siquieros’ work. There are seven main panels to the work. Panel 1 is dedicated to man representing the creation, domination and use of science. Panel 2 has three main elements: a volcano, a nahual and a tree. Panel 3 consists of an amate tree, a “leader” and a recently sprouted tree. Panel 4 is called “The Woman” and represents peace, culture and harmony in a future society. Panel 5 contains seven compositions which are named “Primitive man,” “The proletariat woman pregnant,” “The Crow Man,” “The march of the mothers,” “The mix of races,” “The lynched black” and “The Pimas and the Yaquis.” Panel 6 has three main elements of “The demagogue,” “Men, women and children” and “The leader.” Panel 7 is painted on the ceiling and consists of four main elements called “The eagle,” “The red star,” “The astronauts” and “The white star.” Visitors to see the mural can also experience a sound and light show about the work, with narration in the voice of Siqueiros. For this show, the stage can hold up to 1000 people and rotates towards the different sections of the mural.
The building also contains a theatre, two joined galleries and other facilities. The Teatro Manuel Suárez is one of few circular Greek style theatres in the world. This theatre has 500 seats and has hosted a number of works acted by famous actors. This has included works such as “Diary of a Madman” by Nikolai Gogol, performed by actor Carlos Ancira . This was the only theatre in the World Trade Center until the 3,000-seat Centro Pepsi was completed in 2012. The two galleries named after Dr. Atl and Mario Orozco Rivera. The first serves at the site museum with a space of 145m2. Its permanent exhibit consists of photographs and models and sketches related to the painting of the site’s mural. It also contains biographical information in the form of documents and photographs of Manuel Suárez y Suárez, the sponsor of the Polyforum along with that of Siqueiros. The gallery contains a statue of Manuel Suárez y Suárez and personal effects of Siqueiros. The second dedicated to Orozco Rivera measures 169m2 and is dedicated to temporary exhibits of painting, sculpture and photography. One temporary exhibit held in 2011 was called “My Trend Week” designed to display the works of new artistic talent in architecture as well as graphic, industrial and interior design. In 2011, the two galleries were linked and renovated with a modern system of lighting and ultraviolet film on its glass and other elements designed to protect the works shown there. The works are set against white, curved walls with a total exhibition space of just over 300m2. The combined space has been tentatively renamed “Espacio de Arte Emergente” (Emerging Art Space) .
The Polyform is a private institution which is supported through its activities and through private donations to the Siqueiros Foundation. Its main goal is the promotion of “new values” in the fine arts. The foundation preserves a collection of periodicals, audio, video and photography related to the artist, whose digitalization was begun in 2010. This collection consists of 102,908 documents and images with elements such as correspondence with contemporary intellectuals, writers and politicians, including that from the Siquieros was incarcerated in Lecumberri from 1960 to 1964. It also includes 7,000 postcards from Germany alone, and 10,000 photographs of family and 80,000 texts written about the artist.
In 1960, Manuel Suárez y Suárez offered Siquieros work with the construction of the Hotel Casino de la Selva in Cuernavaca. Siquieros was incarcerated at the time and the work commenced after he left prison in 1964. The work evolved into a chapel with the interior completely covered in mural work. However, it was decided to change the location of the work to a new site in 1966 as part of what was then called the Hotel de México, today the World Trade Center. Over its first forty years, the building suffered significant deterioration to its structure and its murals. The deterioration of the mural work is due to environmental factors and the materials Siquieros used to create the piece.(restaurant) In 2011, remodeling work was begun on the facility to mark its fortieth anniversary. Some restoration work had been performed in 2011, but lack of funds has prevented completion.
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- "Description". Government of Mexico City. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Notimex (August 28, 2011). "Alistan nueva galería en el Polyforum Siqueiros" [Enlist new gallery at the Polyforum Siqueiros]. El Universal (in Spanish) (Mexico City). Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Posponen remodelación del Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros" [Postone remodeling of the Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros]. El Informador (in Spanish) (Guadalajara, Mexico). May 30, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Restaurarán de manera integral el Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros, obra del laureado muralista David Alfaro Siqueiros" [Will restore in an integral maner the Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros, work of lauded muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros]. Azteca 21 (in Spanish) (Mexico City). December 12, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "¿Qué es el Polyforum?" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Descripción" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "El Mural "La Marcha de la Humanidad"" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Teatro Manuel Suárez" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Galerías del Polyforum" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
- "Continuará en 2011 digitalización del Fondo Siqueiros" [The digitalization of the Siqueiros collection will continue into 2011]. Azteca 21 (in Spanish) (Mexico City). January 23, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.