By: Claire McKown
May 9, 2012
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I arrived in Mexico City, but I left extremely impressed by what I saw there. The Zona Maco art fair was my excuse for the trip, and the fair itself was great–a breath of fresh air compared to its fair counterparts in New York, Miami, and Basel–but it was the contemporary artists and galleries I saw that left me itching to go back.
Some highlights of the trip were being able to see Pedro Reyes’s work on display at Labor Galerie and Gabriel Curi at Kurimanzutto, though I was disappointed to miss seeing the contemporary art gallery OMR, whose booth at Zona Maco was beautifully curated. The Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) is a bit of a trek out of the city, being located on the University of Mexico campus, but it is worth a visit. Housed in a striking contemporary building, designed by Teodoro González de León, there were six exhibitions on a variety of different themes–everything from eastern European politics to a retrospective of the Lebanese Artist Akram Zaatari. The Jumex family’s art collection also takes awhile to get to, since it is located in the same complex that houses the Jumex juice factories on the outskirts of the city, but it is one of the most interesting collections of contemporary art that I’ve seen in awhile. The current exhibition on display, Poule!, is curated by Michel Blancsubé, and displays art by the likes of Francis Alys, Rosemarie Trockel, and Urs Fischer.
Amidst all this great contemporary art is a plethora of cultural attractions that are well worth checking out. About an hour outside of Mexico City lies the ancient city of Teotihuacan, home to the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon (apparently they’re bigger than the Egyptian pyramids). You can check out Diego Rivera’s famous murals at the Ministry of Education, which depict the Mexican populist uprising of the early twentieth century, while Casa Azul is devoted to the life and career of Frida Kahlo (Rivera’s longtime love).
I can’t wait to go back to Mexico City, it is a charming place–and cleaner than New York. The amount of interesting and beautiful art I saw while I was there made me not only excited, but hopeful for what is to come.