A new cultural center touted as the biggest in the world will be established on a military site in Mexico City, President López Obrador announced today.
The president said that renowned artist Gabriel Orozco will direct the project in conjunction with the Secretariat of Culture and the Mexico City government.
The center will be built on an 800-hectare former military base that will become the fourth section of the Chapultepec Park.
“It’s going to be the biggest and most important artistic and cultural space in the world,” López Obrador said, adding that Orozco will not charge anything for his services.
A luxury real estate development had been planned for part of the site but López Obrador said last month that idea had been scrapped.
The president said today that the government already has the resources required to build the cultural center although he didn’t specify how much it would cost.
“Not a lot of funds will be needed because the creative side [of the project] is going to be provided voluntarily,” López Obrador said.
“We’ll seek not to waste resources, it’s not [a project of] buildings that will turn into white elephants,” he added.
López Obrador said that a detailed plan of the project, including its cost and how long it will take to complete, will be presented in two or three months.
Orozco, who said in 2015 that Mexico needed a contemporary art museum of the stature of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Paris’ Centre Pompidou or London’s Tate Museum, described the opportunity to coordinate the cultural center as an “honor.”
The federal government has made a point of returning space formally occupied by the government to the people of Mexico.
The president’s former official residence, Los Pinos, has already been turned into a cultural center, and metal barricades that prevented citizens from getting close to the National Palace were removed shortly after López Obrador took office on December 1.
Protesters with a range of grievances have since established makeshift camps cheek by jowl with the facade of the National Palace, located in Mexico City’s downtown opposite the zócalo, or central square.