TO PUBLIC OPINION
Posted on 10 October, 2018
The Academic Council of the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información de Artes Plásticas (Cenidiap), of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), hereby expresses its concern regarding the works being carried out at the building once occupied by the former Secretaría de Comunicaciones, Transportes y Obras Públicas, (SCOP), in Eje Central and Xola, in Mexico City. We request that INBA make a public pronouncement in defense of the preservation and restoration of the murals and sculptures located in the building, through its corresponding department, in conformity with the laws regarding the protection of Mexico’s artistic heritage.
We are alarmed by the prospect of having unskilled hands, with no training in the material used in these murals made of Mexican mosaic, whose technique was taken up even outside our country, in charge of dismounting them. They must be preserved with all due care and knowledge by experts qualified in this technique. This was the first collective mural in this material, made by José Chávez Morado, Juan O’Gorman, Arturo Estrada,Rosendo Soto, Guillermo Monroy, Luis García Robledo, José Gordillo and Jorge Best, together with sculptures by Francisco Zúñiga and Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. We are interested in preserving this heritage just as its authors planned it; especially since they are placed on a Federal institution like SCT, which by its very nature ought to look after and preserve its assets, but has actually shown a lack of seriousness and knowledge of the proper way to handle the mosaics. We are well aware of the damages suffered by the building, whose demolition has already been decided. But the murals and sculptures need not be part of the destruction, fragmentation and removal, only to be stored away for any number of years, or installed in an inapropriate place, foreign to the intentions of its creators; this would be a crime against our Nation’s artistic heritage. We know the mosaics from the fifth story upwards cannot be removed, as they risk being broken and lost forever.
We are also alarmed by the hurry in which the company wants to dismount the murals, and its disregard for the indications made by INBA. According to the newspaper La Razón, the Institute authorized dismounting building A, which suffered the heaviest damages; but they are working on building B, and have taken off five rows of mosaic, without any authorities coming to stop them.
Therefore, we request an immediate public pronouncement by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, as well as by experts in these techniques, aided by the expertise of researchers and profesional restorers employed by INBA, to make useful observations to help preserve this valuable building as part of Mexico’s artistic heritage.
Academic Council, Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información de Artes Plásticas of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes(Cenidiap/INBA)..
Mexico City, October 3, 2018