Exhibition Details

Location: Steele Gallery
Dates: September 15, 2018
to January 13, 2019

Teotihuacan was the first, largest, and most influential metropolis on the American continent. In its heyday between 100 B.C. and 650 A.D., the city encompassed an area of 20 square kilometers with a population of more than 150,000. Both the inhabitants of Teotihuacan, its original name, and why the city was abandoned around 650 A.D. are still unknown. When the Aztecs, coming from the north in the first half of the 14th century, discovered its abandoned ruins on the Mexican Central Plateau, they named it Teotihuacan, the place where gods were born, and used it as the setting for their own creation myth.

Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire is a major traveling exhibition organized by the de Young Museum in San Francisco in collaboration with the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico. With more than 250 outstanding objects from the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, as well as important objects borrowed from North American institutions, Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire will provide a comprehensive insight into the art, everyday life, and religion of Teotihuacan, and its influence on other regions of Mexico. The exhibition will explore the archaeological history of the city through sculptures, friezes and murals; domestic objects including vessels and figures, stone carvings, masks, statues of gods and representations of animals; and extraordinary objects crafted out of precious materials including jade, obsidian, greenstone, and onyx.

Over the course of the exhibition, Phoenix Art Museum will partner with Arizona State University and its world-class archaeology faculty to create community-wide, all-ages programs to enhance visitors’ experience of these World Heritage archaeological treasures, on view for the first time in the state of Arizona. 


Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire is organized by the de Young Museum in San Francisco in collaboration with the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico. The first of its kind in more than 20 years, the exhibition is headed by Dr. Matthew H. Robb, Chief Curator of the Fowler Museum at UCLA and a specialist in the art and archaeology of ancient Mesoamerica. Following its premiere in San Francisco, the exhibition will travel to Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Phoenix Art Museum.


Admission is free for Phoenix Art Museum Members, Military Members and youth aged 5 and under. Not a Member yet? Join here!
Interested in coming as a group? For group sales information, click here. 

Press Information

Media images and creditlines: Coming Soon
Press Release: Coming Soon
Media Contact: Margaree Bigler, Marketing and Communications Manager, margaree.bigler@phxart.org 


Left: Mexico, Anahuac, Teotihuacan, Moon Pyramid. (Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images)

Right: Circular relief (detail), 300–450. Stone. Museo Nacional de Antropología / INAH, 10-81807. Archivo Digital de las Colecciones del Museo Nacional de Antropología / INAH-CANON.