This book is the culmination of a project by artist Eduardo Abaroa that began in 2012 as an art exhibition in Kurimanzutto gallery, Mexico City, and gradually increased in scope to include photography, drawing, group discussions, archives, essays, guided tours, and public presentations.
Abaroa’s hypothetical proposal is simple: to destroy the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Advised by demolition experts, this controlled destruction would include the building’s architecture and all its contents: pre-Hispanic and ethnographic collections, auditorium, library, gift shop, warehouses, o ce buildings, and school.
Conceived in the early 1960s by Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos, Secretary of Education Jaime Torres Bodet, and architect Pedro Ramírez Vazquez (among many others) as a complex didactic tool, the National Museum of Anthropology was intended to house the archaeological treasures of pre-Hispanic Mexico in order to make them avail- able for a growing population. Its program embodies symbolic concepts—specifically, indigenismo and mestizaje—that facilitated the blooming nationalism that followed the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The imagined destruction of this building and its pre-Hispanic legacies, often portrayed as a secular temple for modern Mexico, is an absurdity that only appears less so when compared to the ongoing and very real destruction of the environmental and living conditions of those indigenous communities it purportedly celebrates.
TEXTS: Mariana Botey, Abraham Cruzvillegas, James Oles, Francisco Reyes Palma, Sandra Rozental, Daniel Garza Usabiaga.