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Arts / Galleries

Buzzy Art Fairs Bring the World to Mexico City for a Robust Scene Amid Political Change

Will a New President and Mayor Encourage Even More Art Partying?

BY // 02.08.19

Our neighbors south of the border have added to a rich legacy of art and architecture through an emerging artist community and cutting-edge gallery scene. The kinetic energy comes to a head this week when the Material Art Fair and Zona Maco fairs come to Mexico City.

The sixth edition of Material will return to Frontón México’s jai alai court with a site-specific build-out by the Mexico City-based architectural studio, APRDELESP.

Adding to an extensive gallery list, including 73 exhibitors from 22 countries, there are 29 first-timers such as Jans Haps (Cologne), Cory Nielsen (Vienna), Lyles & King (NYC), NoguerasBlanchard (Madrid/Barcelona), M. LeBlanc (Chicago) and MARGEN (Santiago de Chile). Significant mainstays from years past include Aoyama Meager (Tokyo), LambdaLambdaLambda (Pristina), EMBAJADA (San Juan) and DOCUMENT (Chicago). Like the Dallas Art Fair, Material also draws from its own rich community, showcasing young galleries like Locos gallery, Lulu, Janet40 and breve as part of the fair’s programming.

Speaking of Dallas’ own art fair, it would be interesting to see future iterations collaborate across the border with Material for cross-pollination via programming and gallery sharing in each fair. A few years back the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in Houston turned to Mexico City/Texas-based curator Leslie Moody Castro to curate a Latin American selection of galleries for their 2016 edition (arguably the most interesting work shown that year came from Castro’s selection which included Lulu).

Material also boasts a robust VIP experience, drawing collectors, curators, writers and arts patrons from across the world to converge upon D.F. for the parties, experience and events that one of the best fairs in the world has to offer. This year will feature extensions of Material’s programming in the form of a book fair (READING MATERIAL), catering to artist books and arts publications. In addition, 2019 will see the third iteration of IMMATERIAL, a special project devoted to performance and directed by Michelangelo Miccolis who has tapped Débora Delmar, Dora García and Roman Ondak to perform this year.

The 2019 fair will open under a change of leadership in Mexico, as new president Andres Manuel López Obrador and new Mexico City mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum have both been proponents of the arts in their campaigns. What remains the same is the fair’s creative director, Brett William Schultz, also an artist and in his sixth year, still leads a fair known for its excellence in showcasing young, experimental art spaces from across Mexico and the world.

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After recently signing a multi-year deal to stay at Frontón Mexico, the hope is to perfect the fair form year to year, instead of constantly reinventing in a new space year in and out.

From the press release Schultz reiterated Mexico City as a serious player in the international art scene,

“There’s more eyes on the Mexico City art scene than there have ever been before, and this new generation of organizers, curators and artists that’s coming up here is just really smart, savvy, and ambitious,” he says. “There seems to be golden years ahead.”

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