In November 2017, the Museo de Arte Costarricense (MAC) – Costa Rican Art Museum – inaugurated the exhibition Detrás del Portón Rojo: una visión de la erótica en el arte costarricense (Behind the Red Door: a vision of erotica in Costa Rican art).

Image of the 18th century with The image of the Virgin surrounded by the Holy Trinity by Francisco Barahona Camarín

Many have approached the exhibition with the curiosity to know more about a movement that manifested from the pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica to the current demonstrations.

The general interest of the public has caused curators of the exhibition, the artists Sussy Vargas and Roberto Guerrero, to lead a guided tour through the exhibition on two dates: Saturday, February 17, at 10 am, and Wednesday, February 28, at 10 am.

Figure of couple in coitus, 300-500 AD, ceramics, Guanacaste, National Museum of Costa Rica. Photography: Gabriel González Chavarría.

“There is much to discuss about this exhibition as it looks at eroticism as a natural reality, with all its manifestations from the most obvious and expected, to the most obscure and demonized,” says Guerrero.


Both Guerrero and Vargas have researched erotic art academically for more than two years but, in Detrás del Portón Rojo, no work of their authorship appears, because the exhibition had the objective of showing the entire history of erotic art in our country.

“We thought about the exhibition as a result of our research, we asked ourselves how we could offer an educational perspective,” adds Guerrero. “It is very gratifying that people want to know what is behind each work”.


Susana Sánchez Carballo, Polysemia, S.f. (circa 2002) Digitalized black and white photograph, artist’s collection. Photography: Mariana Peralta, Maricarmen Pereira, Kevin Valverde.

The exhibition includes more than 70 artists and will be available until April 2018.


The Museo de Arte Costarricense is located in the La Sabana metropolitan park, open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 4 pm. Entrance is free.

The home of the Museo de Arte Costarricense was originally the terminal of the country’s first international airport.

The MAC building was the old terminal of the first International Airport of Costa Rica, which was also known as La Sabana Airport. The building is of neocolonial style, an architectural language that was used frequently during the first decades of the 20th century.

Designed by the architect José María Barrantes Monge in 1937, construction began a year later under the direction of engineer Luis Paulino Jiménez Montealegre and inaugurated on April 7, 1940, during the administration of León Cortés Castro (1936-1940), and was used as an international terminal until 1955.

Restoration of the building began in 1977 and inaugurated as the Museo de Arte Costarricense on April 3, 1978. In 1986 the building was declared a heritage property of historical and architectural value.

Interesting fact: If you stand at the northwest corner of the park, you can see the original landing strip – a strip of land clear of trees – that was once part of the La Sabana airport.

More art

The MAC also inaugurates its season of exhibitions this year with the exhibition Roberto Cabrera “Aquí y Allá” (Here and There), a journey about the work of the Guatemalan artist, who lived in Costa Rica in the 80s.

The exhibition includes drawings, engravings, and collages that defined the style of the Guatemalan artist. The exhibition will remain open until April.