May 11, 2016

Mexico City’s Emerging Art Scene

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Written by: Nydia O
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Zona Maco 2016

The incredibly low fares Mexican airlines offer was something I could not resist, and it did not take much to convince my husband to pack and join me for a few days in “Mexico Profundo” – a thought provoking, culturally profound Mexico City. Deep. Affordable options to fly to Mexico City from nearby Reynosa airport abound, but for those whose idea of a fun trip does not begin across the border, Aeromar Airlines serves the McAllen airport with non-stop flights to Mexico City several times a week.

World class food considered a patrimony to humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, precolonial, colonial and modern architecture are enough motivation for a trip to Mexico City. But my outmost desire was to participate in the 13th annual Zona MACO; arguably Latin America’s biggest contemporary art fair attended by 41,000 people last year. Every February since 2004, galleries, artists and curators from across the world trek to Mexico City to reach out to a growing base of collectors. Mexico City’s location is ideal as the meeting point for North and Latin America. It is also close enough to Europe. The prospect of “one to one conversations” lured 123 galleries and 27 design studios from 25 countries featuring original and limited edition objects.

Zona Maco

“For me, Mexico City is absolutely the most interesting creative place on the planet right now,” enthused LA gallerist and event exhibitor Marc Foxx stated in an interview for last year. “A lot of that must have to do with a difficult social condition of this city and country, so there’s a lot of things that artists are taking responsibility for discussing. It’s challenging, they’re really asking us to think about things. I’m not seeing that happen anywhere else right now.”

The singular affair is the creation of Zélika García; of Monterrey, Mexico where the first edition took place under the name of Muestra. In 2004 the fair was moved to Mexico City with the new name of Zona MACO as in Mexico’s Contemporary Art Zone. The latest edition took place February 3rd to the 7, th 2016. The show is divided into five carefully curated sections displayed throughout 129,000 sq. ft.  of space at the Centro Banamex.

The five sections include a general exhibit hall with 73 artist galleries of international relevance selected by a highly specialized committee. The New Proposals section featured 22 independently spaced galleries focusing on varied representations of one experience. A third section titled Zsona MACO Sur was introduced just the previous year and covered different perspectives to a Case Study #2 titled Rhythm is a Dancer. In its fourth year, Modern Art is the fourth section where 17 galleries presented international contemporary art produced in the first half of the 20th century. Last but not least is the Zsona MACO Diseño; a showroom for innovative and vintage limited-edition furniture, jewelry, lightning, earthenware and more.

Zona Maco

While the event is directed to a special audience of collectors, I am grateful it bestows an opportunity for artistic encounters to aspiring artists and contemporary art aficionados like myself. For an affordable $16 per adult one can attend book signings, seminars and talks on topics like The Art of Collecting, and Architecture and Public Art. Shopping here is not a bargain, for prices range from $8,000 to over a million dollars. There are a few works selling for under $5,000. We are talking top of the line works. Originals by artists such as Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Leonora Carrington, Dr. Lakra, Francisco Toledo, Fernando Botero, Diego Rivera, Max Ernst and Ernesto Neto among many others embellished the walls of the fair this year. But do not be discouraged, for some items are affordable like my new porcelain dinnerware manufactured by Anfora Studio – the design branch of Anfora founded in 1920 – and designed exclusively for the 2016 Zona MACO by award-winning Mexican designer Héctor Esrawe. He named his design Ensambles meaning Assemblages.


The curatorial presence at the fair is strong, and I heard groups from the Menil, the Tate Gallery and the Cleveland Museum of Art were in attendance. February is an ideal time to visit Mexico City for its weather and for the multiple artistic experiences organized at public spaces, museums and galleries including the new Material Art Fair; a fair with an exclusive focus on emerging contemporary art work.  It is “an ascendant scene” someone wrote, and an opportunity not just to sell, buy and marvel at contemporary art, but to meet new artists and grasp some inspiration. With the peso / dollar currency exchange rate, the time is of essence to enjoy “deep” Mexico City and immerse in an amazing creative experience in February or any other time of the year.

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and my spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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