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Arts / Museums

The Other Mexico

Texas Art Fair to Open Minds and Shatter Stereotypes With Global Look

BY Catherine D. Anspon // 08.04.15
Leslie Moody Castro
Leslie Moody Castro

This October’s Texas Contemporary Art Fair boasts a truly global outlook — one that looks south. The Fair’s organizer, Art Market Productions, has tapped Mexico City/Austin-based Leslie Moody Castro to serve as a guest curator for year five. Moody Castro teams up with CAMH director Bill Arning to organize a special presentation within the Fair, titled “The Other Mexico.”

In tandem with the Mexican Consulate in Houston, the Texas Contemporary rolls out 10 booths showcasing Mexico City galleries and project spaces in an important transcontinental art dialogue. Confirmed participants to date are Yautepec Gallery, Anonymous, Galeria Marso (representing artists such as past Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Core Fellow Karyn Olivier) and Casa Maauad (whose stable includes the witty text-informed works of William Powhida).

We caught up with Moody Castro during her peripatetic travels to prepare for the Fair. An independent curator, she has a master’s degree in museum education and museum studies from the University of Texas, Austin; co-founded the incubator project Co-Lab and curated for Women and Their Work, both in Austin; and organized a cross-pollinated exhibition for Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio, as well as the city’s prestigious Artpace, where she did her internship in 2010 (the same year she earned her master’s). She has also been the catalyst behind the avant-garde venture AtravesArte, which creates cultural happenings around contemporary art — a project deployed throughout Mexico City. Besides working with influential visual entities statewide (including Austin’s Lora Reynolds Gallery and the Blanton Museum of Art), Moody Castro has also made an impact in Dallas: As recent curator in residence at CentralTrak, she staged an empty exhibition this spring as a gesture of protest toward the lack of funding afforded to her show, raising broader questions about support for nonprofits and artists throughout Texas.

No stranger to art fairs, earlier this year she organized the VIP experiences for out-of-town collectors attending the Material Art Fair in Mexico City. The indie curator shared the following insights via email about her plans for the Texas Contemporary: “‘The Other Mexico’ is curated to provide an overview of the contemporary and commercial gallery scene in Mexico City. The idea is to illustrate the burgeoning international arena that draws artists from all over the world to participate in the broad dialogue of contemporary art in the city. Mexico City is far removed from the conversations of danger and drug trafficking that we are so accustomed to hearing. I want to show the cosmopolitanism of the city and its arts.”

The curator also draws parallels between the cultural vibrations in Texas and Mexico. “There is a mutual interest on both sides of the border,” she says. “Texas is interested in Mexico, and vice versa. It is also undeniable that the history of Mexico is inextricably linked to Texas — and specifically Houston — when it comes to the arts. It’s a perfect moment to acknowledge this history and strengthen the links between the two cities [Mexico’s capital and Houston] artistically.”

Watch these pages and tune into PaperCity ‘s social media outlets for unfolding news about “The Other Mexico,” including the complete lineup of Mexico City art spaces planned for the Texas Contemporary, edition cinco.

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