As one of the most promising metropolises worldwide, Mexico City is layered with a creative thread that shows off its colors every year during Art Week. This year, the event runs from February 8 through February 12, spanning expo halls, private galleries, art institutions, and nooks and crannies across the city’s varied exhibition spaces. Ushered in by ZsONAMACO, Latin America’s most influential art and design fair, Art Week allows regional and Latin American artists to exhibit their work alongside international creatives.
“ZsONAMACO constitutes a catalyst for the art scene in the city, during which galleries and institutions schedule their most relevant exhibitions,” Claudia Paetzold, an international curator and art adviser, tells BAZAAR.com. “Signature events such as Sotheby’s brunch hosted by Lulu Creel at Contramar on Tuesday, and the Tamayo Gala on Thursday evening, are akin to rituals giving Art Week its distinctive rhythm.”
Paetzold, a Sorbonne, Harvard, and Christie’s Education graduate, has curated numerous exhibitions; consulted foundations and fairs, including Art Basel; and diligently watched the evolution of the Mexican art scene since 2009.
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“It is important to acknowledge that art is, first and foremost, experienced in different contexts and that we need to be mindful of the evolutionary nature of art and the concentration and contemplation it takes for artists to reveal a piece,” Paetzold says.
This year, ZsONAMACO, Salón ACME, and Feria Material are the driving forces behind Art Week. In addition, the art panorama is further enhanced with exhibits from an array of institutions, including Museo Anahuacalli, Museo Tamayo, and Museo Jumex.
The four-day marathon mapping out the city through art, design, and fabulous parties (including a preview of Soho House Mexico City) kicked off last night with the official opening party at the newly opened hotel Andaz Condesa Mexico. Ahead, the biggest highlights from the fair.
ZsONAMACO Contemporary Art Fair
Founded in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico, by Zélika García, ZsONAMACO was transferred to Mexico City the following year. Today, it comprises four sections, including the leading contemporary art fair and three satellite divisions: DISEŃO, SALÓN (focused on antiques), and FOTO. 2023 presents a lineup of more than 120 galleries, including the two most important local galleries, Gallery OMR and kurimanzutto; midsize galleries such as Arróniz Arte Contemporaneo and House of Gaga; U.S. American gallery Morán Morán (established in New York City in 2008, and now with a space in Mexico City); and international galleries which have no local physical presence outside of Art Week, such as Nils Staerk from Copenhagen. There is also Matthew Brown, from Los Angeles, a recent addition to the fair. Exhibitors also include returning international gallery Hauser & Wirth, presenting Mark Bradford’s “Ghost Ship,” a new 60-canvas series of merchant poster paintings.
Feb. 8-12, Centro Citibanamex.
Celebrate Salón ACME’s 10th Anniversary
Salón ACME is one of the main highlights, because artists create it for artists with a robust curatorial component and multiple activations. It is located within one of the spaces forming Proyecto Público Prim, a run-down building made up of patina walls, a courtyard, a rooftop, and an array of unique spaces in the quirky neighborhood of Juárez. “The distinctive feature of Salón ACME is that traditional art fair categories are transmuted through a closer, more creative connection with the artists’ works and a specific temporality of engaging,” Paetzold says. Visitors are invited to explore its many spaces their way—including bars, Taverna restaurant, and event functions on the rooftop. In addition, Proyecto Público Prim features an installation called the “Safe Space,” where visitors can disconnect from verbal chatter and electronic buss to contemplate their experience, meditate, write, draw, or simply be.
Feb. 9-12, Calle Gral. Prim 30.
FERIA MATERIAL 9th edition
The trio of the leading fairs is sealed off with Feria Material, exhibiting 57 galleries from 30 cities and 15 countries. This exhibition takes a more relaxed approach to contemporary art with a fun and relevant energy. “Material Fair is not a fair in which you see what you have already seen before; it is a fair in which you discover what is next,” Brett Schultz, cofounder and CEO of Material, says. “Since 2014, Material has played an important role in magnifying the voices of new generations of artists and galleries from Mexico and abroad.” The fair will also host Whole—World, a new art book fair organized by Temblores Publications featuring more than 54 exhibitors. Finally, its schedule includes the sixth edition of the performance program IMMATERIAL, with works by SERAFINE1369, Autumn Knight, and Dora García.
Feb. 10–12, Expo Reforma.
Warehouse meets rooftop contemporary at Laguna Mexico
Laguna, located in Doctores just across the street from Roma Norte, is a factory turned into a coworking space and art workshop. Its proposal for Art Week includes an array of relatively new artists, including Ballista, contemporary gallery LLANO, ACOOCOORO, and others. Ballista focuses on radical homeware with quite risky decisions and unique textures ranging from chains to woods, soft surfaces, and more. Its pieces are statements of themselves. “[Llano] is a gallery platform focusing on artists whose production is the result of long-term research, and that expands the exhibition space into nature and alternative environments,” Paetzold says. Finally, ACOOCOORO exhibits an array of furniture objects as vessels for heritage, history, and pieces of emotional archaeology.
Feb. 9–12, Erazo 172, Colonia Doctores.
Casa Wabi Sabino
A staple of Mexico’s sculptural art scene, Casa Wabi in Puerto Escondido, is visionary, opening one internationally accredited artist annually. This year, the foundation expanded to Mexico City with the inauguration of Casa Wabi Sabino, built by renowned architect Alberto Kalach. The space opens an exhibit by Huma Bhabha and Alejandro Almanza Pereda. In addition, a separate on-site workshop is open for the occasion with a study by sculptural artist Bosco Sodi. “We are the first cultural institution in Atlampa, which also makes us very proud, because at the end of the day, we are starting to generate other offers in nontraditional spaces such as Roma, Condesa, Centro, and Juárez,” curator Alberto Ríos de la Rosa explains. Unlike the horizontality of the Puerto Escondido space, the new location is very much vertical with a cafe-style ground level, gallery space on the second level, a third-floor office, and a rooftop terrace space— “a section dedicated to sculptures produced in Mexico.”
Open from Feb. 7, Casa Wabi Sabino, Sabino 336.
Take a walk in the desert at LAGO.ALGO
Located in one of the most beautiful portions of Bosque de Chapultepec park, LAGO.ALGO is a new expo space (launched February 2022) on the lake, “combining contemporary art and modernist architecture with a show on the environment,” Paetzold says. Curated by OMR, it is not just an extension of the Roma Norte gallery space, but rather a separate entity and a cultural agent. This year, the exhibition includes Claudia Comte, Gabriel Rico, and Superflex, curated by artistic director Jérôme Sans. It narrates various social themes, the overarching one being climate change. Comte’s exhibit includes an entire room of sand with an array of cacti sculptures. Superflex demonstrates the flooding due to the changing temperatures on Earth with a neon sign, “We Are All in the Same Boat.” The juxtaposition of the two is communicated in the exhibition’s name: “Desert Flood.” Another exciting factor of the show is its contemporary take on a traditional museum gift shop, with Ediciones Marea exhibiting and selling famous artwork editions, including those of Dr. Lakra and Jose Dávila.
Open from Feb. 10, Bosque de Chapultepec.
The secret garden at Travesía Cuatro
“Granada Granada” is Travesía Cuatro’s exhibition in two chapters: one at its space in Guadalajara and the second in Mexico City. Both are narrated by Spanish, Berlin-based artist Álvaro Urbano. The off-white townhouse blossoms as you enter the exhibition that imagines an encounter between Mexican architect Luis Barragán and poet Federico García Lorca. The architect, impressed by the poet and the city of Granada, had planted pomegranate blossoms at his Casa Jardín Ortega in Mexico City. The exhibit is thus a sort of guide in which “Álvaro dreams of the mute witness of the encounter, the plants, the floors, and the architecture as an empty memory of those who left,” the exhibition description reads.
Feb. 4–April 1, Valladolid 35.
Dose of surrealism with Pedro Friedeberg at MAIA Contemporary
MAIA Contemporary is a modern art gallery housed inside Casa Basalta. Its annual exhibit features the works of Italian Mexican surrealist artist Pedro Friedeberg. Known for his geometric, distinctive works of art, Friedeberg has become a true icon on the Mexican art scene. “Hipnerotomagia,” Friedeberg’s solo show, presents his new series of paintings and sculptures inspired by one of his favorite books, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a bizarre, erotic, allegorical tale by Francesco Colonna.
Feb. 8, Colima 159.
Spanish artists Marusela Granell and Manu Baño present “La Verdad de la Materia” (“The Truth of the Matter”) as an independent show in Roma Norte. While Granell’s medium is painting and Baño’s work is rooted in industrial design, their joint exhibition is connected through the actions of cutting, folding, gluing, and/or ripping. In short, they both look for ways to naturally manipulate and deconstruct their creations as part of the entropy that envelops life on Earth. And yet, their pieces are perfectly harmonious and coexistent, instilling a sense of calm and the superfluous within what may seem like chaos.
Open from Feb. 8–12, Colima 112.
Opposites attract at Philia
Forming part of Polanco’s gallery hop, Philia is a wonderfully contemporary and well-curated space of Latin American and international art. Art Week inaugurates its “Antipodes” exhibition featuring sculpture and furniture design by Argentine artist Pilar Zeta. The second portion of the exhibition is by Andrés Monnier, featuring dark stone chandeliers and sconces. The evident juxtaposition of color thus creates a fierce, coexisting opposition and invites the theme of opposites into play. “It alludes to how we live on the same planet and can be polar opposites. But at the end of the day, we can share the same space and planet we call Earth,” F. Santiago Ortiz Monasterio Borbolla, director at Philia x HOK, says.
Feb. 9–April, Av. Ejercito Nacional 676, 5th Flr.
Join a party at Momoroom
The movement toward multisensorial and experiential formats of creating and experiencing art is also visible in contemporary Mexican design, often incorporating ancestral techniques. For example, Momoroom’s MUGA_K show “¡Te Invito a Tu Fiesta!” is a vibrant and fun exhibition primarily led by paper-mache art and different ways of creating with the medium. The cornerstone of the show is Juan Pablo Lascurain’s piñata-style wall that invites the child within to engage with the artwork. The mother figure inspires his other pieces, and his objects include lamps and distinct space dividers. Each piece reminds us about the alchemy of creating on Earth and how art can engage with our most intrinsic selves.
Open until Feb. 12, Havre 66.
Embrace Chic by Accident
Midcentury collective design and art gallery Chic by Accident by Emmanuel Picault differentiates from the extensive panorama of galleries by launching a curated mise-en-scène rather than opening with a headlining artist. Its spaces feel like a close friend’s house, quite literally, being a house inside of a pied-à-terre in Roma Norte. This year’s show, “Déjà Vu,” includes an array of midcentury collectible design, contemporary art, and photography threaded with pre-Hispanic references. The pieces are displayed as a set within several rooms and the rooftop space.
Open from Feb. 7, Orizaba 28.