The Galería José María Velasco has been a major public art space in the City since 1951. Founded by the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA), it was one of just three popular galleries in the city. The location in Tepito aimed to spread more art to more people in a part of the city with almost no access to cultural events. The gallery’s mission has also been educational, offering conferences, courses, fine arts workshops, and guided tours.
A very large exhibition hall (27.40 x 15.84 meters) has a capacity for 150 guests. The property had been a warehouse for the INBA from 1947 to 1950. In 1951, Fernando Gamboa, director of the Department of Visual Arts, announced his intention to decentralize and spread more arts throughout the city through the popular gallery program. The next year, the property was adapted to be used as a gallery.
On September 7 of the same year, the José María Velasco Gallery opened its doors under the name of the José Clemente Orozco Gallery in tribute to the artist who had died two years earlier. In 1962, the name was changed in honor of the extraordinary landscape painter.
The GJMV does not have a collection for permanent exhibitions. The temporary exhibitions program changes throughout the year and viewers get an overview of contemporary and upcoming trends in Mexican art. Painting, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, photography, conceptual art, art objects, installation, performance, video, graffiti, and popular art have all been present. The main point is to keep the doors open to artistic, academic and independent creative values, and especially those which bear original, purposeful, and forceful backgrounds in aesthetic practice.
With six to eight temporary exhibitions each year, Galería José María Velasco shows focus on active Mexican artists, and those linked to contemporary urban cultural expressions, pop culture, and Mexican popular art.