Although Mexico’s reputation has been tarnished for decades by Hollywoodamerican mediaconservative politicians and others, its capital boasts as much beauty and opulence as any American or European counterpart, and the energy of Mexico City’s art scene is never more apparent than in the first half of February. Typically, three major fairs – Zona Maco, Material Art Fair and Salón Acme – anchor a busy week, with the city’s galleries staging their biggest exhibitions of the year amid an influx of international visitors. This week, despite the absence of one of the must-see fairs, Mexico City’s art scene is ready for another marathon of activity.
The oldest and most prestigious of the three fairs, Zona Maco (until February 13), is the largest in Latin America and one of the few to have been able to organize a 2021 edition despite the Covid-19 pandemic. As usual, the fair takes place this year at the Citibanamex Center, with more than 200 galleries spread across four different sectors: Diseño (for furniture, jewelry and textiles), Foto (modern and classic photography), México Arte Contemporáneo (national and international art galleries) and Salón (antiques). This year, the fair is also partnering with Grupo Espacio to present a music festival during Art Week, dubbed “Artsy Nights”, with parties, live performances and DJ sets taking place on rooftops. , in mezcal bars, restaurants and nightclubs across CDMX on February 11 and 12.
The Acme Lounge (February 10-13), which began in 2013, takes place in an old residential building in the Centro district. The main sector of the fair is based on an open call, with artists chosen by a rotating curatorial council made up of artists, curators, scholars, gallery owners and museum directors. Its “Guest Projects” section, meanwhile, invites Mexican and international galleries to present a specific body of work by an artist at the fair. First exhibitor Liliana Bloch Gallery from Dallas, Texas, will present a new project by Ann Glazer titled Luck be a Lady: Ritual cloths for the disconnected, featuring lavish hand-stitched artwork on velvet depicting mythical Mexican images and stories. Most of the works presented at the fair cost around $1,000, making Salón Acme an ideal starting point for novice collectors looking for an entry point to discover emerging artists and collect their works at affordable prices.
Material Art Fair has established a reputation as one of the most reliable fairs for discovering emerging artists, but this year it has changed locations and seasons. The fair stands out and will take place from April 28 to May 1 in the neighborhood of Santa María la Ribera. In the meantime, Material is leading its audience at local galleries across the city, from Lodos (which features works by Sofía Berakha) at an exhibition of new paintings by Stanley Whitney at the Nordenhake Gallery.
A new initiative called Arthouse Project is launched this week with A Mobile Art Feast, presenting the works of young galleries with strong creative visions at Casa Versalles (February 10-13). Participants include local galleries Llano, Relaciones Publicas and local women-run gallery Machete. Arthouse Project will also present Curator’s Loungean exhibition of sculptural works by female artists curated by Mexican art historian and curator Alberto Ríos de la Rosa, who is one of Mexico City’s most influential curators and currently directs Casa Wabi’s programming.
Beyond the fairs, the February calendar is filled with major events and activations by galleries from Mexico City and beyond. Manhattan stalwart Mitchell-Innes & Nash just opened a seasonal outpost on the ground floor of the Galería Hilario Galguer in Colonia San Rafael. The first exhibition in space is a three-way show featuring Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Lucas Samaras and Paul Mpagi Sepuya. (Mitchell-Innes & Nash’s space site has a history of successful pop-ups: Damien Hirst staged his first exhibition at a Mexican gallery at the exact location in 2006.)
Local truck gallery OMR inaugurates its new project, Lago— part restaurant, part art space — this week. The new exhibition of the Museo Jumex Remote Actions, featuring six commissioned artists producing performances and events outside the museum, continues through March 6. And the iconic Taller de Arquitectura building by architect Agustín Hernández opens its doors to the public for the first time for the exhibition By debajo del arbol (What’s Hiding Under the Tree), a project bringing together contemporary works by 15 artists in dialogue with Hernández’s artistic vision.
Visitors wishing to learn more about Art Week evenings should pick up a copy of Terremoto Magazine, likely to be on hand at every fair this week. The publication, which features numerous essays and reviews in addition to party tips, is based in Mexico City and was curated by French curator and editor Dorothée Dupuis.
Mexico City is at its most serene this time of year, with jacaranda trees in full bloom amid breezy, cool temperatures. Hopefully gallery owners and collectors heading to the city for this week’s fairs have booked their reservations for Maximo Bistro, Pujol and Quintonil well in advance.