World-class Mexican Museum rises in San Francisco

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The Mexican Museum in San Francisco invites the community to a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, July 19, at Jessie Square, adjacent to 706 Mission Street. Photo: Facebook
The Mexican Museum in San Francisco invites the community to a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, July 19, at Jessie Square, adjacent to 706 Mission Street. Photo: Facebook

The Mexican Museum, which opened in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1975, is being dedicated tomorrow as a world-class museum to showcase the largest collection of Mexican and Latino art in the United States.

The ceremony is the realization of a dream by Mexican-American artist Peter Rodriguez, who opened the city’s first museum for Latino art in a storefront in 1975. Sadly, Rodriguez died before he could be part of the dedication. He passed away July 1 at age 90.

“We have begun,” said Andy Kluger, chairman of San Francisco’s Mexican Museum, whose long-delayed dream of building a new home South of Market is finally coming to fruition.

Kluger and the museum board have raised $6.5 million toward an endowment and are talking to people who could contribute an additional $6 million this year. Their names will be displayed on gallery walls. The long-term goal is $30 million, according to SF Gate.

The museum’s architects are working with Jan Hendrix, the Dutch artist from Mexico City, who is creating a vine-like metal work that will wrap around the glass facade.

The art original collection has grown to 16,000 pre-Columbian, colonial and contemporary works of Mexican and Latino art.

“My uncle worked tirelessly, and with passion and drive, to personally demonstrate that, as a Mexican-American, we can achieve any dream by ourselves.” said Irene Christopher, his niece, in an interview with the Associated Press.

A rendering of the planned Mexican Museum at Jessie Square in San Francisco shows how it fits in with the larger condo development. The museum was designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norten.
A rendering of the planned Mexican Museum at Jessie Square in San Francisco shows how it fits in with the larger condo development. The museum was designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norten.

What’s to come

The 60,000-square-foot museum will house 800 works of Mexican folk art donated by the family of Nelson Rockefeller and pieces by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and painter Miguel Covarrubias.

The new museum is set to open in the spring of 2019. Most of the art is now in storage, though some pieces are exhibited at the tiny current site in the Fort Mason neighborhood.

 

The four-story museum will operate at the base of a luxury condo tower in Yerba Buena Gardens, nestled between historic St. Patrick’s Church and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

 

An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, one of the museum’s first exhibits will be “Frida and I,” a children’s exhibition about the life of Frida Kahlo.

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