The Mexican Museum, San Francisco, United States

El Museo Mexicano is a San Francisco, California, United States museum created to exhibit the aesthetic expression of the Latino, Chicano, Mexican, and Mexican-American people.

The soul and spirit of the arts and cultures of Mexico and the Americas are fundamentally linked. Through its programs, The Mexican Museum voices the complexity and richness of Latino art throughout the Americas, encouraging dialogue among the broadest public.

The Mexican Museum, initially located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, was founded in 1975 by San Francisco resident and artist Peter Rodríguez. The museum was the realization of Mr. Rodríguez’s vision that an institution be created in the United States to exhibit the aesthetic expression of the Mexican and Mexican-American people. Today, our vision has expanded to reflect the evolving scope of the Mexican, Chicano, and Latino experience.

In 1982 The Mexican Museum moved to Fort Mason Center in San Francisco’s Marina District, where it has amassed a permanent collection of over 16,000 art objects. This spectacular collection is unique in the nation and includes Pre-Hispanic, Colonial, Popular, Modern and Contemporary Mexican and Latino, and Chicano Art.

The museum is currently preparing for the completion of our permanent home which will be built in downtown San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Arts District. The museum continues to offer educational and public programming throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Founded in 1975 by San Francisco artist Peter Rodríguez, the museum holds a permanent collection of over 14,000 objects including Pre-Hispanic, Colonial, Popular, Mexican and Latino Modern, and Mexican, Latino, and Chicano Contemporary art.

The Museum is the realization of his vision, which was to create an institution in the United States of America where the aesthetic expression of the Mexican and Mexican-American population was represented. Since then, the museum has expanded this vision to reflect the evolution of the Mexican, Chicano and Latin experience. Through this cultural lens, new perspectives of American and international cultures are generated that generate bridges to life and public experience. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 14,000 objects, including: pre-Hispanic, colonial, popular; Mexican and Latin modern, and Mexican, Latin and Chicano contemporary art.

It is a first voice institution that uses Latin cultural expression as an objective to examine the parallel experiences shared by the many cultural communities that make up America. His philosophy grows from the idea that a community is composed of many influences, stories and experiences. As the world aspires to greater understanding and recognition among cultures, art remains one of the most enduring languages in history, providing an important vehicle for reinterpreting the past, exposing the present and referring to the future.

The Museum was originally located in San Francisco’s Mission District. In 2001, the Museum was relocated to its current location at Fort Mason Center, Building D, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, San Francisco. As of 2015, the museum’s new location is planned to be built in the SoMa district on Mission Street across from Yerba Buena Gardens, as part the 53-story Yerba Buena tower, which will consist mostly of luxury condominiums. The project is envisaged to cost $500 million ($30 million of which for the museum), and to open in 2020. The city of San Francisco granted the Mexican Museum a 66-year lease for its future use of the site, renewable for 33 years.

The Mexican Museum’s permanent collection contains five collecting areas of artworks from Pre-Hispanic times to contemporary. This exhibit features 150 of our best pieces, a tiny fraction of the overall permanent collection of over 16,000 artworks. These are highlights reflecting the diversity of The Mexican Museum’s vast, impressive collection acquired over 40 years as an institution.

Pre-Hispanic Art
The Museum’s Pre-Hispanic collection, encompassing Mesoamerican, Central American and South American cultures, span 2,500 years of history. Over 2,000 artifacts offer fine examples of vessels, ceremonial objects, tools, body ornaments and reliefs from major ancient cultures including Teotihuacan, Mayan, Zapotec, Nayarit, Colima and ancient Peruvian civilizations.

Colonial Art
Colonial art from the 18th and 19th centuries include carved wooden santos, oil paintings, works on tin, metal jewelry, ecclesiastical textiles, and decorative arts. There are over 1,500 objects in the colonial art holdings.

Popular & Folk Art
With over 5,000 objects, the popular and folk art collection represents the largest component of The Mexican Museum’s holdings. Spanning the 20th century to the present, the collection contains fine examples of handcrafted artifacts from all the major folk art regions of Mexico.

Mexican and Latin American Fine Art
The museum’s 20th century fine art collections from Mexico and Latin America contain over 2,500 objects including paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Mexican masters such as Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, Rosa and Miguel Covarrubias are well represented in the collection. The works on paper collection is historically rich and contains lithographs, serigraphs, etchings, photographs, posters, rare books, portfolios and archival material.

Chicano Art
Emphasizing the art of the present, the contemporary collection of Chicano art numbers over 1,000 works including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and ephemera. Nationally and internationally acclaimed Chicano artists such as Alejandro Colunga, Enrique Chagoya, Rupert Garcia, Carmen Lomas Garza, Ester Hernandez, Patssi Valdez, Gronk, and hundreds of other emerging and accomplished artists, working here and abroad, are represented in the museum’s ever-growing Chicano and Contemporary Mexican-American art holdings.

Online Exhibition
For nearly forty years, Feldsott’s work has defied easy categorization and has invoked controversial responses from his audience. This exhibit showcases unique selections of Feldsott’s visceral and prolific body of work.

In 2002, after more than two decades of refusing to show his work publicly, Feldsott consented to an exhibition at the Museo Guayasamín in Quito, Ecuador. This show marked his subsequent return to the art scene he had abandoned. Over the last decade Feldsott has had a number of shows in San Francisco, Santa Fe and Los Angeles and NYC.

Feldsott’s work was born from a life on the fringes of our culture— from interacting with drug addicts, beat poets and Rock musicians to becoming an indigenous advocate; working with tribal leaders in South America and Mexico. In his twenties, Feldsott was one of the first artists to link the modern art world with the grittiness of graffiti—art that was deemed “without merit” in the early seventies. Sandra Roos, a noted art historian in the Bay Area, said after the movement, “Feldsott was like the Matisse of the (then emerging) punk art scene.”

Early in his career, Feldsott had the distinction of being the youngest artist to ever display his works at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and seemed destined for stardom. But Feldsott quickly became disillusioned with the hyper-political art scene and issues of censorship and commercialism drove Feldsott to stop showing his work publicly for two decades.

Robert Morgan, the Arcale Award winning art critic, called Feldsott, “A born rebel, a pariah in search of his own standards. On another level, his point of view as an artist is not outside the parameters of recognized criteria that connoisseurs would choose to call significant. His paintings are less about art as a detached postmodern idea than about the artist’s uncanny mediumistic ability to simply allow works of art to evolve.”

Chants and Prayers demonstrates a form of modern art that is less about deciphering insider artist jargon and more about eliciting primal reactions in the viewer.

In partnership with CultureStrike, The Mexican Museum is honored to exhibit Visions from the Inside, a visual art project inspired by letters penned by detained migrants.

Featured artists include Crystal Clarity, Matice Moore, Francis Mead, Chucha Marquez, Zeque Peña, and Julio Salgado.