City and Cosmos: The Arts of Teotihuacan

Resnick Pavilion
March 25, 2018–September 3, 2018

The ancient city of Teotihuacan flourished in central Mexico in the first millennium CE. This multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan city was the largest urban center in the Americas in its day. City and Cosmos: The Arts of Teotihuacan presents recent findings from Mexican national and international archaeological projects excavating at Teotihuacan's three main pyramids—the Sun, Moon, and the Feathered Serpent—and major residential compounds. These discoveries have fundamentally changed our understanding of the city’s history. 

City and Cosmos focuses both on the main pyramids and residential compounds to explore the central question of how the city worked to create a cohesive civic identity. Featuring both monumental sculptures and buried offerings, the exhibition also emphasizes how artworks relate to place, both above and below ground. New discoveries reveal that both visible and buried works were arranged in specific ways to commemorate the city’s ancestral foundations and to forge relationships with vital, essential forces such as fire and water.

Organized in collaboration with Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), City and Cosmos will provide visitors an extraordinary opportunity to see the new discoveries, many of which have never been exhibited in the United States.

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Secretaría de Cultura through the Insituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México. 

Secretaria de Cultura Logo

This exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. 

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Additional support is provided by The Arvey Foundation. 

All exhibitions at LACMA are underwritten by the LACMA Exhibition Fund. Major annual support is provided by Kitzia and Richard Goodman, with generous annual funding from Jerry and Kathleen Grundhofer, Lauren Beck and Kimberly Steward, the Judy and Bernard Briskin Family Foundation, Louise and Brad Edgerton, Edgerton Foundation, Emily and Teddy Greenspan, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross, David Schwartz Foundation, Inc., and Lenore and Richard Wayne. 

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Image: Standing Figure, Tlalocan [tunnel under Feathered Serpent Pyramid], Teotihuacan, Mexico, 200–250, Zona de Monumentos Arqueológicos de Teotihuacán / INAH, [Proyecto Tlalocan], Photograph by Jorge Pérez de Lara Elías, © INAH

Walking through the City: Teotihuacan in Los Angeles

This week at LACMA, we open the exhibition City and Cosmos: The Arts of Teotihuacan, a thrilling show featuring many new discoveries from the ancient city of Teotihuacan, which is located about 30 miles from Mexico City. Teotihuacan was founded in the first century BCE, and over the next centuries it grew to be the largest urban center in the Americas. In its day, it was the sixth-largest city in the world.