The Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS), located in the neighborhood of Polanco in Mexico City, and the Casa Estudio La Tallera David Alfaro Siqueiros (La Tallera) in Cuernavaca, Morelos, were donated to “the people of Mexico” by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974), along with an important collection of paintings, graphic works, drawings, mural studies and projects, as well as his personal archive and library.
On December 12, 1973, 25 days before he died, he expressed his desire that these spaces were preserved to promote his work and ideas, as centers of analysis and experimentation for the “public art” of the future.
In the late fifties, the Siqueiros family acquired the property in Polanco due to its proximity to the Chapultepec Castle, where the artist was at the time creating the mural Del Porfirismo a la Revolución (1957-66). On August 9th of 1960, this project was abandoned because he was charged with the crime of “social dissolution.” The muralist was imprisoned. During this time, the house received countless writings, pamphlets, advertisements and statements of solidarity from the international community, which demanded his freedom. When he left prison, on July 13, 1964, Siqueiros finished the mural, and built a house and workshop in the city of Cuernavaca. There, he lived and executed the mural La Marcha de la Humanidad (1971-73), currently located at the Polyforum Siqueiros.
With the notion of turning the house into a center for theorization and innovation for future generations, Siqueiros transformed the Polanco house to the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros on January 29, 1969. The architectural changes to the house allowed him to paint Maternidad (1971-73) y Mural para una escuela del Estado de México (1971-73). Also, the artist painted on the walls and ceilings of the living room traces of the muralLa marcha de la humanidad. In the rooms on the first floor, he also created photomontages and dynamic strokes that pertain to other of his murals.
Between 1974 and 1988, the Trust David Alfaro Siqueiros was formed to manage this important legacy, which was directed by Angelica Arenal (1909-1989), widow of the painter. Upon the dissolution of the trust, the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros and La Tallera became part of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (the National Fine Arts Institute), which has since been responsible for the collection.
Today, the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros is a museum and research center, but is also hosts countless of lectures and panel discussions on contemporary art.
The SAPS is dedicated to give continuity to the technical and thematic concerns of the muralist in relation to contemporary art.
The SAPS promotes the legacy of Siqueiros. In recent years, the murals at the SAPS were restored. While, more than 80, 000 documents and materials were digitized. Also, the institution was renovated, which changed the façade and bookstore.