Wet, wet, wet: The Museo Subacuático de Arte in Mexico

5.04.2018

Most of the time, satisfying one’s cultural hunger can easily be accomplished by simply walking into a museum. Theoretically. Yet, the Museo Subacuático de Arte, located in different sites on the map of Mexico, demands a little more effort than that – but surely does offer an additional thrill: its life-size exhibits are mounted to the seabed and thus best inspected in the sporty scuba-diving or snorkeling mode. Accelerated heartbeat assured. Those who would rather keep their noses above sea-level, are invited to explore the arcane population of underwater sculptures conveniently aboard a glass-bottomed boat, with or without a preceding jungle tour.

MUSA: mystical underwater salons

"Man on Fire" sculpted by Jason DeCaires-Taylor

“Man on Fire” sculpted by Jason DeCaires-Taylor (Salon Manchones).

The contemporary Museo Subacuático de Arte – MUSA – was created below the waters near Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc back in 2009, and has been receiving worldwide acclaim since for its two sculpture „galleries“: Salon Manchones lies eight meters deep and is suitable for both divers and snorkelers, whereas in the shallower Salon Nizuc at a depth of four metres only snorkeling is permitted (and access by boat).

The project founded by Jaime González Cano, Director of the National Marine Park, Roberto Díaz Abraham, then President of the Cancun Nautical Association and English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, consists of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures and is one of the world’s largest and most ambitious underwater art attractions.
"Understanding" by sculptor Elier Amado-Gil.

“Understanding” by sculptor Elier Amado-Gil (Salon Punta Nizuc).

Sitting on the seabed like enigmatic sunken treasures, the exhibition enhances the existing reef structure for marine life aiming to develop more biomass. All installations in total cover an area of more than 420sq.m and weigh over 200 tons, whereby a specific material was chosen for their construction to help boost the diversity of coral life.

Anthropocene-underwater-sculpture-Jason-DeCaires-Taylor

Anthropocene-underwater-sculpture-Jason-DeCaires-Taylor (Salon Manchones).

Photo credits: All images courtesy of and copyright by ©Museo Subacuático de Arte. Header image: The sculpture titled “Inertia” was designed by Jason DeCaires Taylor and is exhibited at Punta Nizuc.