The SHCP Art Gallery is located in the ground floor of the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público (SHCP). Being literally the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit, it doesn’t sound like much of an art gallery.
In fact, it’s among the most important in the city and for art lovers, not one to miss.
The legend has it that, during the mid-20th century most of the country’s most successful artists found themselves short of cash. When the tax authorities – i.e.; the SHCP – came looking for them, what were they to do. “Pago en Especie y Acervo Patrimonial,” i.e.; payment in kind and cultural heritage, has been a stunning success. It took a while to catch on, but by the 1970s, it was a smashing success.
Today, the SHCP has one of the most important and groundbreaking collections of major Mexican 20th century and contemporary art. In a city like this one, that’s no small potatoes. In fact, most of the Mexican public seems to agree it was a good deal although it took some years to catch on.
It gets better, though. The SHCP Art Gallery is just the beginning. The same people also run a whole museum, just across the Zocalo. This small gallery is just for some smaller temporary exhibitions. The museum displays a relatively enormous permanent collection in a massive historical building.