Posts Tagged ‘public art’


Art, Music, Film, Dance: CCU BUAP Offers It All

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Complejo Cultural Universitario“Through art and culture, the Complejo Cultural Universitario provides a stage on which we’re able to demonstrate how modern the state of Puebla and the nation of Mexico are and offer a benchmark of modernity in the world,” Enrique Agüera Ibáñez told at a recent art opening. Agüera is rector of the Benemerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, the state’s oldest and largest public university, and the man ultimately responsible for the auxiliary campus’s construction.

If establishing a “benchmark of modernity” sounds like a tall order, it is. But since its grand opening in 2008, the cultural complex has hosted scores of world-class events, such as the Ciudad de la Ideas conference, concerts by international pop stars (from Enrique Iglesias to Morrissey), major art exhibitions, and live broadcasts of the New York Metropolitan Opera. It’s also mounted diverse national and regional fairs, festivals, and competitions celebrating literature, theater, music, arts and crafts, major holidays, and more. Add to that folkloric dance performances, movie screenings, hands-on workshops for adults and children, a well-stocked bookstore, and several restaurants with valet parking and, at the very least, Agüera seems to be putting his money where his mouth is.

Musicians perform at an artisanal fair at the CCU BUAP.“It’s important to note that, from Río Bravo to Patagonia, no other facility like the Complejo Cultural Universitario exists with the concept of integrating several areas dedicated to art, culture, and academics—much less one created by a public university, as is our case,” the university boasts on its website. To create the space, the BUAP invested some $69 million USD in the 945,900-square-foot facility, sourcing all of its materials in Puebla and creating some 3,000 jobs in the process, the online newspaper Periódico Digital reports.

Ciudad de las Ideas conference at the CCU BUAP, Puebla, Mexico (2010)Although the complex’s architectural design is decidedly minimalistic — its stark white exterior resembles a blank canvas — its devotion the liberal arts and regional culture is anything but. Beyond curating scores of events every month, what truly sets the institution apart from the rest is that many of its festivals, exhibitions, and other activities are free and open to the public, including students, residents, and tourists. The only drawback: You’ll pay about 100 pesos to get there from the historic center of Puebla in a taxi, or you’ll need to figure out how to get there by bus.

What’s On at the CCU BUAP

Here are a half dozen notable events (three of which are free) currently scheduled at the Complejo Cultural Universitario, which is located at Vía Atlixcáyotl #2499 in Zona Angelopolis. For a complete list of activities, visit its website. For other events happening in Puebla, check out our events calendar.

Today through Oct. 21 Renown Zapotec painter and sculptor Alejandro Santiago pays tribute to women of the world in this mixed-media exhibition of 21 works on display in the Galería de Arte, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Free.

Sept. 29 Los Mariacheros, flamenco guitarists Bufón Acústico, singer Itzel Lampallas, and the musical group El Cayuco perform in the Andador Cultural starting at 2 p.m. Free.

Oct. 6 The Canadian punk band Simple Plan rock the auditorium, 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost 270 to 880 pesos, available at

Oct. 20-27: 1er Festival Angelopolitano de Danza 2012, the first such conference organized by the CCU BUAP’s Contemporary Dance Company, includes lectures, roundtable discussions, a choreography competition, dance presentations, and more. All day. Free.

Nov. 8-10 Ciudad de las Ideas 2012, a TED-like conference of brilliant minds takes place in the Auditorio, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Speakers to include Craig Venter and John Underkoffler. Tickets cost 4,300 pesos, available from the organizers.

Nov. 17 Gloria Trevi, who’s been called the Supreme Diva of Mexican Pop, brings her live show to the Auditorio, 8:29 p.m. Tickets cost 210 to 1,800 pesos at Superboletos.

—Rebecca Smith Hurd

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A Botero Sculpture in Our Own Backyard

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Botero's sculpture "The Horse" is on display indefinitely at El Triangulo in Col. Las Animas.Fernando Botero is one of the most important artists in Latin America, perhaps best recognized for his bronze sculptures and painting of plump people, animals, and other figures. To celebrate his 80th birthday this spring, the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City held a major exhibition of 177 pieces representing various periods of his career. In June, shortly after the close of the show, one of its large-scale sculptures, “The Horse,” was installed in the city of Puebla. It’s on display indefinitely at El Triangulo mall at the corner of Circuito Juan Pablo II and Boulevard Atlixco in Colonia Las Animas.

A sculptor, painter, muralist, and illustrator, Botero was born in Medellin, Colombia, in 1932 and has been part of the world art scene for more than 45 years. Botero typically represents universal themes in a figurative way: His work is widely recognized by its exaggerated and disproportionate volumes. Just as Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens idealized female beauty as a full-figured woman during the Baroque period, which gave rise to the term “Rubenesque,” the women known as “Las Gordas de Botero” (Botero’s Fat Ladies), as they are affectionately called in Spanish, are the maximum expression of “Boterismo.”

“Boterismo” is tough to classify, but it’s generally considered to be part of the Naïve movement, due to the artist’s simple technique and the use of many colors (in his paintings). However, one of the characteristics of Naïve Art — the impression of simplicity — cannot be applied to Botero, because some of his works deal with contemporary or painful issues, such as politics, death, and personal vices, albeit in a satirical and ironic way. For a long time, the Naïve style was considered childish and was not recognized as art, but more recently artists like Botero, Henri Rousseau, Grandma Moses, and Alfred Wallis have become appreciated for their refreshing worldviews.

Today, Fernando Botero has a major influence and presence in Mexico. In addition to “The Horse” sculpture on display in Puebla, other works can be seen at the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City and the Esplanade of Heroes in Monterrey.

This is not the first time a large public art sculpture has toured Puebla: A dozen larger-than-life works by beloved and celebrated Mexican artist Juan Soriano, adorned the zócalo as part of a national tour of his work in 2006; he died that same year. Meanwhile, permanent monumental sculptures include “El Hombre Azul,” by Bolivian artist (and Puebla resident) José Miguel Bayro in Paseo de San Francisco, and “The Guardian Angel,” by Mexican artist Sebastián, which since its installation in 2003 has become a landmark of the city.

—Vica Amuchastegui

El Triangulo, located at 35 Poniente #3515 in Colonia Las Animas, is open from seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. To get there from downtown, take bus route 72-A on Boulevard 5 de Mayo (from the Cathedral side of the street, or opposite the Convention Center).

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A Walk in the Park at Ecoparque Metropolitano

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

I never had the occasion to visit Valle Fantástico, the now-defunct amusement park next to the Tec de Monterrey campus on Vía Atlixcayotl, but from what I can tell, there really wasn’t anything all that fantastic about it. Among the park’s lingering remnants is a bizarre structure the shape of a blonde girl lying face-down, blue jean-clad buttocks aimed skyward, a door at her feet. I imagine that the building once served as some sort of “fun house,” though I shutter to think of what awaited visitors inside the horrifyingly huge güerota. (I’ll admit that this may sound absolutely fantastic to some readers, but for me craptastic is far more apt.) Fortunately, the state government recently began transforming Valle Fantástico into an ecological park.

The orchid garden at Ecoparque MetropolitanoEcoparque Metropolitano permits pets on a leash.A water filtration system at Ecoparque MetropolitanoEcoparque MetropolitanoOne of the water filtration systems at Ecoparque MetropolitanoSculpture at Ecoparque Metropolitano

Ecoparque Metropolitano, which was inaugurated in May amid the festivities commemorating the 150th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo, is—as Mexico President Felipe Calderón put it during his visit—“truly a fantastic park.” The green space currently occupies 32 of the 47 acres of land once allotted to Valle Fantástico; the other 15 acres remain the subject of a legal dispute waged by its former operator.

Although Ecoparque Metropolitano is still a work in progress, it’s open now for the public to enjoy. Visitors are welcome to stroll through its various gardens (orchids, cactus, bamboo, regional plants) to admire the diverse flowers and greenery as well as a dozen art sculptures and several natural water-filtration systems. The park also provides access to a cushy new 5.2-kilometer jogging path, made from recycled tires, that runs alongside the Atoyac River between boulevards Niño Poblano and De Las Torres. What’s more, the site is bicycle and dog-friendly (for people who keep their pooches on a leash and pick up after their pets); special park access points are under way.

The ecological park was conceived as part of a plan to rescue the Atoyac River, which for years has been contaminated by illegal dumping. Workers and volunteers removed nearly 9,000 cubic feet of garbage, planted 5,000 trees and 300,000 plants, and hauled in 8,000 tons of compost in order to revitalize the area. Amy Camacho, the state’s environmental secretary, in May told Milenio news that the effort has prompted the return of wildlife, including butterflies, hummingbirds, turtles and other reptiles, and even a pair of hawks. Camacho noted that while the area is safe to visit, people should avoid contact with the water (because environmental remediation takes time).
—Rebecca Smith Hurd

Ecoparque Metropolitano is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The main entrance is located on Vía Atlixcáyotl next to the Tec de Monterrey campus; ample parking provided. Alternate access behind Cabo San Lucas restaurant near Plaza Palmas (follow the blue MIRAtoyac signs); Paseo del Río is on the other side of the river. Admission is free, but parking costs $10 MXP per vehicle.

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