First of all, I’m hoping anyone viewing this post is managing to keep their health (and sanity!) above sea level as we all deal with this crazy Coronavirus pandemic. We’re gonna get through this, my friends. Secondly, I want to remind you all that we will one day travel again. You know, get on a plane and fly somewhere far away? That. So, allow me to continue with my series of images from our trip to Guadalajara back in January BC (Before Covid).
Now you know that if I’m visiting a city and that city has an art museum, the smart money is on me paying a visit to that museum. While visiting the city of Guadalajara, I found my way to the Museo de las Artes Universidad de Guadalajara (MUSA), a charming art museum located a short 6 minute walk from our hotel. It’s a small museum but it featured artwork by some of Mexico’s most acclaimed artists – José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros & Diego Rivera.
A little history first, yes? In 1914, Mexican engineer Alfredo Navarro Branca was entrusted with the construction of two buildings that would be called ‘Constitución y Reforma’ and dedicated to education. The buildings were ultimately completed by architects Aurelio Aceves and Rafael Urzúa after Branca only managed to build the facade and an interior gallery of the Reforma building. On July 22, 1937, the University of Guadalajara was officially established and on November 20 of that same year the building was officially inaugurated.
The idea for an art museum was born out of the interest to highlight the importance of having two stunning murals by acclaimed Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco inside the building. Orozco specialized in political murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance that started in the 1920s and lasted until the 1970s. In 1935, the governor of Jalisco, Everardo Topete, invited Orozco to make murals in different relevant buildings in Guadalajara. During his stay in Guadalajara from 1935 to 1939, Orozco made three emblematic murals: the first was the dome and the stage wall of the Enrique Díaz de León Auditorium in the art museum (see image below); the second was the main staircase of the Palacio de Gobierno and the third was the dome of the Hospicio Cabañas.
In 1993, renovations were made to the ground floor to house the University Museum of Art and in 2013, after a 5-week remodeling period, the building’s name was officially changed to Museo de las Artes Universidad de Guadalajara (MUSA). Currently, the MUSA collection consists of more than 100 pieces (might not sound like too many but there are no duds in the whole bunch) and is made up of works of different techniques and formats by the most significant artists from Jalisco as well as international artists. It has 14 rooms for temporary exhibitions, two rooms for workshops, the Enrique Díaz de León Paraninfo auditorium (with a total capacity of 380 people), a conference room, a multipurpose patio and a store.