With a strong creative culture and an impressive artistic history, Mexico is home to some of the world’s greatest art galleries. The country was the birthplace of many notable artists, including Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, whose works have undeniably helped to shape modern art. So, it’s unsurprising that Mexico boasts a large number of museums and galleries celebrating works of art both old and new.
Let’s explore a selection of some of the best art galleries the country has to offer!
1. Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL)
Mexico City’s MUNAL, or the National Museum of Art, is located in a neoclassical building that represents the best Mexican architecture of the twentieth century. It houses a collection of works produced between the sixteenth century and the mid-twentieth century, making it one of the art galleries with the most diverse range of artworks. It’s certainly worth visiting for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of how the fine arts have developed over the last few centuries in Mexico.
Also known as the Blue House, this museum was established on the site of Kahlo’s residence in accordance with her wishes. Visitors can observe original works by both Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, along with more personal items, such as her dresses, household furnishings, other belongings, and the spaces that inspired her. Other popular pieces of art, documents, books, and sculptures can also be seen here.
The house, situated in Mexico City, has been sensitively preserved and appears largely the same as it would have done in the 1950s, making it a respectful ode to one of the world’s most treasured artists.
For those more inclined towards modern art galleries, Kurimanzutto is definitely worth a visit. Founded in Mexico City in 1999, the gallery aims to celebrate creativity and diversity, displaying the work of 34 artists from various nations and backgrounds. In 2018, the gallery also opened a space in New York and is rapidly expanding to become one of the leading contemporary art galleries. The gallery is currently running an exhibition entitled ‘Siembra’, which brings together, in an unrestricted manner, works produced through freeing creative processes.
4. Galería OMR
Founded in 1983, Galería OMR is located in the Roma district of Mexico City. It serves to display the great works of established modern artists and bring exposure to emerging contemporary artists. The gallery has gradually grown to become one of the most respected art galleries in Mexico due to its vibrant collections and success in advancing the careers of globally admired artists. The contemporary, industrial appearance of the building serves to reflect the modern styles of the exhibited artwork.
5. Museo Soumaya
The Museo Soumaya hosts an outstandingly diverse selection consisting of over 66,000 works, representing over thirty centuries of Mexican art history. For this reason, it is one of Mexico’s most visited and well-respected art galleries. Its extensive collections can be found in its two buildings: Plaza Carso and Plaza Loreto. The latter is a remarkable example of modern architecture and was designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. It’s certainly unmissable due to its iconic architecture and vast collection, and on top of that, entry is completely free!
6. Proyectos Monclova
This gallery was established in 2005 with the goal of bringing light to the works of some of Mexico’s most promising young artists and established contemporary practitioners. Ten years later, in 2015, the gallery expanded its collection to feature pieces by international artists as well as those from Mexico, enhancing its strong reputation as a local and global leader of modern art movements. Proyectos Monclova represents artists who seek to push modern art further and is praised for its celebration of diversity, creativity, and innovation.
7. Museo Jumex
Situated in Polanco, Mexico City, Museo Jumex is home to the famous ‘Colección Jumex’- one of the vastest private art collections in Latin America. Belonging to Eugenio López Alonso, the permanent collection, which features works from renowned artists such as Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol, is exhibited alongside changing exhibitions within the five stories of the museum. The museum itself was designed by architect David Chipperfield and was constructed using local materials to honor the building’s surrounding environment of Mexico City.
8. Galeria López Quiroga
Galeria López Quiroga, which can be found in Polanco, Mexico City, displays photographic and sculptural works, paintings, and more, by accomplished contemporary Latin American artists. Famous artists with pieces included in the collection include Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Toledo, and Vicente Rojo. The site also hosts a small library suited towards those with interests in photography and Mexican art.
Established in 1980, the museum is perhaps one of the lesser-known art galleries in Mexico, but it is slowly becoming known as a hub for the promotion of creativity in the nation.
9. Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo
Despite the fact that it was only launched in 2008, this museum, often abbreviated to MUAC, is one of the leading art galleries in Mexico City. It is known for displaying the largest public collection of modern Mexican artwork, which is constantly growing to accommodate more works that show how the nation’s art scene has developed over time. The museum strives to highlight how various modern artforms, including graphic design, sculpture, photography, and videography, have grown over recent years in Mexico.
10. Museo Tamayo
Museo Tamayo is a museum that exhibits pieces of art from the collection of the globally renowned Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. Alongside these works sit various modern and contemporary art exhibitions, shedding light on the creativity of artists from all over the world. Tamayo’s private collection consists of around 300 works and features works by artists such as Picasso and Joan Miró, along with other paintings and sculptures. Its high-quality selection of artwork has seen it become one of the country’s most famous art galleries.
11. House of Gaga
Although it is not as well-known as some of the other art galleries on this list, House of Gaga is definitely worth a visit from anyone with an affinity for modern art and design. It was founded in 2008 with the goal of shedding more light upon the works of upcoming artists practicing in the 21st century. The gallery hosts works ranging from installations and sculptures to photographic and mixed-media pieces. Located in Condesa, the space serves as an outlet for artists producing unique, daring pieces of contemporary art.
12. Museo de Arte Moderno
The Museo de Arte Moderno, often referred to as the MAM, displays artworks from the last century- dating from the 1920s until the modern-day. It is predominantly home to Mexican work but also exhibits some pieces of international origins. Alongside rotating exhibitions of contemporary works, the museum accommodates permanent collections of works by artists such as Kahlo, Rivera, and Tamayo.
It aims to act as both a heritage site and a cultural center, celebrating the diversity and creativity at the heart of Mexico’s art history.
13. Galería Enrique Guerrero
Galería Enrique Guerrero was launched in 1997 with the overarching goal of supporting young artists who represent the advancements in the modern art scene. The selection of works exhibited in this gallery is very diverse and includes paintings, photography, sculptures, videos, and digital arts. Although it is one of Mexico’s smaller art galleries, it acts as a great platform for emerging artists, raising awareness of their works on an international scale. Visitors can enjoy works from these young rising artists and guest artists from both Mexico and abroad.
14. Marso Galería de Arte Contemporáneo
Marso was founded in 2012, making it one of the newest art galleries on this list. It is home to an ever-evolving, rigorously curated collection of works of Mexican and international origins. They work to promote contemporary art and encourage participation in the international realm of modern art. Over recent years, they have chosen to operate as a non-profit organization, and have striven to carry out action projects, undertake research, and run exhibitions that showcase projects at the intersection of art and social justice.
15. Palacio de Bellas Artes
The Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) runs various exhibitions of artworks such as paintings, photography, and sculptures. The exterior and interior of the building itself are beautiful representations of Art Nouveau, Neoclassical, and Art Deco architecture, and the gallery also houses murals by Rivera and Siqueiros.
Alongside exhibiting visual artworks, the museum often hosts events related to music, theater, and literature. The palace has been named an artistic monument by UNESCO and is regarded as one of Mexico’s most important cultural centers.