Commemorating Two Decades of Mexico City's Art Week's Soaring Popularity
Art fairs, openings, museums, and galleries to visit during Mexico City’s Art Week.
Mexico City has firmly established itself as a pivotal force in the global art scene, attributing its success to the democratization of the arts, artisanal craftsmanship, and a more recent emphasis on contemporary art. Leading this cultural movement is Art Week, an annual event that, over two decades, has evolved into a major art fair, challenging the prominence of renowned events like Art Basel.
Initially established during ZⓈONAMACO by the visionary Zélika Garcia, Art Week has experienced exponential growth, not only encompassing Zona MACO but also other significant art fairs such as Salón ACME and Material Art Fair. It includes various alternative fairs, galleries, museum openings, and more, providing a converging point for diverse artistic expressions that showcase the rich palette of Mexico’s cultural landscape.
“What began at Expo Reforma with 44 galleries now takes place in three halls at Centro
Citibanamex, and on its 20th anniversary will showcase more than 212 international
exhibitors of art, design, photography, and antiques,” explains Zélika Garcia. “ZⓈONAMACO has become a platform that has boosted art and collecting in Mexico and Latin America. It represents a great catalyst that also propitiates the realization of cultural activities in the city. I believe this has contributed to Mexico becoming an epicenter of international art.”
Mexico City, according to Salvador Dalí, is a place where dynamics unfold through organic surrealism, from the echoes of yesteryear's vocations to the interplay of chiaroscuro and vibrant color and the potent flavors emanating from spicy salsas to smoky mezcals. In essence, Mexico City serves as a canvas for ephemeral gestures, the nuances of tradition, and the rhythmic pulse of everyday life that collectively shapes its soul. In fact, in an interview with Martha Stewart, Jason Farago, the critic-at-large for The New York Times, expressed that Mexico City is currently his preferred destination to experience art thanks to its fresh contemporary art scene.
Year after year, Mexico City's Art Week expands its scope, capturing the attention of hundreds of thousands of national and international spectators. Attracting a broad range of curators, artists, and collectors, the event transforms the city into an immersive artistic experience, providing a unique perspective on everyday life through the lens of creativity.
Ana Castella, director of Salón ACME and an agent for Artforum magazine for Latin America, emphasizes the distinctiveness of Mexican creativity. “I think what distinguishes us is that we are a very ancient, creative, and ingenious culture,” she says. “Art almost happens accidentally in the streets, with the signs, with how people arrange the vegetables in the markets. There is a very present creativity here, which is totally democratic, which is not from museums, galleries, or art fairs, but I believe that art in Mexico is palpable and is done everywhere.”
This year, the scene is complemented by smaller fairs, including BADA, Clavo Movimiento, and QiPO, offering direct contact with artists and an accessible platform. Additionally, it is the inauguration of Siempre Sí, a new folksy, vibrant art platform. Complemented by gallery openings from renowned spaces, including OMR, kurimazutto, Galerie Phillia, Travesías Cuatro, and more, it's a bustling week in the art world, so much so that even the Mexican secretary of tourism is now including it on its roster.
Mexico City Art Week stands as a dual celebration, expressing a commitment to cultivating diversity and empowering voices within the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary art, all while gaining increasing momentum and recognition. It is undoubtedly one of the best times to experience the vibrant cultural tapestry of Mexico City.
ZONA MACO Contemporary Art Fair 20th Anniversary
Feb. 7-11, Centro Citibanamex
Courtesy of ZⓈONAMACO
Celebrating its twentieth year, ZⓈONAMACO, the foremost art fair in Latin America, is hosting a special edition. It boasts a distinguished curatorial team, including Direlia Lazo as the artistic director. Each additional curator oversees a specific section, showcasing historical works, promoting young designers, exploring the link between pleasure and politics, and delving into the dynamism of photography as a genre, among other thematic focuses. Additionally, the special anniversary program, FORMA, debuts, featuring galleries with a longstanding history at the fair presenting historical or site-specific projects. Presented in a traditional art fair format, ZⓈONAMACO is an exciting crossroad for the international contemporary art scene. Notable additions to this year’s fair include Cristin Tierney Gallery. “There’s a reason we’re coming back to ZⓈONAMACO after an eight-year hiatus,” says Tierney. “We are excited to reconnect with clients, patrons, curators, and advisors that we met last time around, and we can’t wait to meet some new friends at this year’s fair.
Sálon ACME No.11
Feb. 8-11, Calle Gral. Prim 30.
Courtesy of Sálon ACME and Alum Gálvez
An artist-run, curator-centric fair, Sálon Acme was originally founded by a group of friends in 2013 and has now blossomed into a multi-wing art fair within the storied Proyectos Publicos Prim building. “I believe that the hospitality component is important for Sálon ACME to create this space of coexistence and community where we can enjoy art also outside convention centers or conventional ideas, museums, galleries, and white spaces. Bringing art to these alternative places, a little more surprises, more coexistence also with historical heritage, as if giving a second life to a space that is several years old,” says Ana Castella. This year, visitors can expect works by close to 150 artists, including a central Patio exhibit by Jerónimo Reyes Retana featuring an audio piece of electroacoustics commenting on the water crisis and consumption worldwide. From open call convocation to Bodega, Projects, Sala, and Invited State (Nuevo Leon), a seamless Tetris of spaces, balconies, rooftops, and nooks and crannies exhibit works of art against the aging patina of the building that is in of itself a work of art.
Material Art Fair Vol. 10
Feb. 8–11, Expo Reforma.
Courtesy of Material Art Fair.
Material, a cherished fair of the city’s cool kids, distinguishes itself as a well-curated space blending emerging and established galleries, fostering a balance between international and local exhibitors. Occupying two rooms at Expo Reforma, it features 73 exhibitors from 18 countries, with over 200 artists and 34 debut exhibitors. The acclaimed Materials program champions independent contemporary art projects in Mexico, providing a platform for six organizations. “For some galleries, Material has been the first international fair they participate in, and the same goes for the public,” says co-founder and director of development Isa Natalia Castilla. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Feria Material's extensive public program includes "Machine Yearning" at Museo Tamayo and FORO, exploring AI perspectives. Coordinated by the Roberto Garza Sada Center for Art, Architecture, and Design at UDEM in collaboration with KADIST, the program includes a keynote by philosopher Manuel DeLanda. Notable performances include Puerto Rican collective Poncili Creación's "Cerebro de Abuela Piel de Piedra" and "Fragmented States" by Carlos Amorales at Polyforum Siqueiros. And, of course, you should not miss one of their fabulous Material Monday parties, or end-of-the-week activations.
Feb. 8-11, Balderas 93.
Courtesy of QiPO
Since its 2019 inception, QiPO Fair has prioritized community and artistic initiatives, gathering projects directed by artists, emerging initiatives, and curatorial groups. Executive Director Laura Reséndiz emphasizes QiPO as an inclusive opportunity outside the commercial circuit. The fair includes performances, site-specific installations, talks, a publications section, screenings, and collaborations with international institutions. Curated by Pancho López, the performance program features international artists like Alexia Miranda, Prem Shiva, Celeste Flores, María Eugenia Chellet, and Mercedes Aqui. Collaborators include TuttoFritti Radio (TFR), MAAD store, DJ Mood, Las Cosmic Flowers, and Daniel Sonámbulo, contributing to QiPO's collaborative spirit. QiPO Fair is a collaboration between the QiPO collective, CICLO Arte para todos, and Temoskali, originating from international curators, artists, and cultural managers joining forces to promote dialogue and social connection in the art world.
Feb. 8-11, Jardín del Restaurante, Campo Marte.
Courtesy of BADA
BADA provides a platform for 100 established and emerging artists to connect directly with the public, offering an easy and direct means for art enthusiasts to acquire works. Embracing the democratization of art, BADA aims to demonstrate that everyone can (and should) be a collector. It serves as an accessible and innovative space, fostering a unique and personal connection between the public, artists, and their creations. This sales concept emphasizes the idea that art is for everyone, making the process of buying art easy, direct, and inclusive.
Feb. 10-14, Taller Nacional, Lucerna 32.
Courtesy of German Velasco
Introducing a new platform, Siempre Sí guarantees a distinctive experience marked by a spirited ambiance. This hybrid project seamlessly blends an exhibition hall with vibrant Mexican celebrations, showcasing the creations of 14 artists and designers practicing within the country. The objective is to establish a space that fosters and acknowledges national art and design, called guapachoso. Siempre Sí is open to the public during its inauguration year for a dynamic cultural experience.
Feb. 7-11, Calle Lisboa 46.
Courtesy of Clavo Movimiento
This platform aims to establish an inclusive environment centered around experimental contemporary art, uniting both established and emerging galleries, along with editorial projects and prominent brands. Now in its sixth edition, it serves as an ideal space for new collectors and emerging artists embarking on their creative journeys. Notably, an exciting aspect of the exhibit named "yo sé que te acordarás" takes place outside, featuring a mobile exhibit housed within a '70s Mexican bus, creating a unique atmosphere adorned with portraits.
LagoAlgo Capítulo V: Heat
Open from Feb. 9, Bosque de Chapultepec.
Courtesy of LagoAlgo
LagoAlgo serves as a cultural hub that, through the fusion of art and gastronomy, revives a gem of Mexican architecture located in Chapultepec Park. In celebration of Art Week, it unveils its fifth installment titled "Chapter V: Heat," featuring a collective of international artists delving into the concept of combustion in ecological, social, or political contexts, a repeating theme across all of Art Week. This thought-provoking exhibition is highlighted with renowned names such as Julian Charriére, Ebecho Mulismova, Ana Montiel, and the Artist Against the Bomb collective, led by the Pedro Reyes Studio. The pieces are largely interactive and communicate essential topics in the current climate and of course, on climate itself.
MAIA Contemporary x Museo de Historia Natural
Open from Feb. 6, Museo de Historia Natural
Courtesy of MAIA Contemporary x Museo de Historia Natural
The collaborative project between MAIA Contemporary Gallery and the Museo de Historia Natural showcases an immersive multimedia installation crafted by South African artist Ricky Lee Gordon and Spanish artist Rodrigo Morán. Titled "We are Water," this installation is housed in the recently refurbished ocean room of the Natural History Museum. Drawing inspiration from our deep connection with water, the exhibit seamlessly integrates painting, sound, video, and a cymatic piece. Within the space, the sound of the ocean triggers ripples in a water-filled base, giving rise to intricate geometric patterns on its surface. A few special sessions feature a sound bath directed by a German music producer.
NARANJO 141 Here, Elsewhere
Open from Feb. 5, Naranjo 141.
Courtesy of NARANJO 141, Mexico City and Fredericks & Freiser, New York
NARANJO 141, having opened their gallery in Santa Maria la Ribera close to a year ago, presents "Here, Elsewhere," a joint exhibition featuring the new paintings of Anna Kenneally and Lizzy Lunday, London-based and Brooklyn-based artists, respectively. Following their inclusion in a New York group show at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery in 2021, this exhibition marks their first formal showcase in Mexico. Themed around the virtue of being present and grappling with the lack of familiarity with a new city, the works explore the challenges of remaining mindful when disconnected from the familiar. Through improvisational energy, the artists' compositions depict characters navigating uncertain terrain, drawing on archetypes that traverse epochs. Both artists converge in a relentless pursuit of the present, addressing uncertainties in identity and location throughout their compelling work. The works are shown with a residential backdrop; a traditional rowhouse.
Laguna, located in Doctores, is a utilitarian building turned into a coworking space and art workshop. Its proposal for Art Week includes an array of alternative artists, including Ballista and contemporary gallery LLANO, among others. Ballista focuses on the quality of sleep in its show ZZZ, featuring 15 original bedspreads and art to be displayed on a bed setting by emerging Mexican artists. Its pieces are statements in and of themselves. LLANO serves as a gallery platform dedicated to artists engaged in extensive research whose creations extend beyond traditional exhibition spaces into natural and alternative environments. The focal point of their showcase features a volcano intricately outlined with seeds and corn.
MASA + Luhring Augustine
Open from Feb. 6, Joaquín A. Perez 6, San Miguel Chapultepec.
Courtesy of Alejandro Ramirez
MASA and Luhring Augustine showcase artists and designers from both galleries' programs. Set in MASA's historic Mexico City space in San Miguel Chapultepec, originally a 19th-century country home with a rich cultural history, the presentation features eight artists represented by Luhring Augustine and six designers from MASA, fostering conversations between diverse voices spanning generations and genres. With artists like Rachel Whiteread and Salman Toor alongside industrial designers such as Héctor Esrawe and Adeline de Monseignat, the collaboration honors tradition while activating new dialogue with a celebratory spirit.
Courtesy of OMR
For those seeking to sidestep the crowds of art fairs, nearly all galleries throughout Mexico City open their doors to the public during Art Week. This includes many galleries showing at ZⓈONAMACO, who offer expansive and fully-fledged exhibitions within their private spaces. Galería OMR, for instance, unveils a showcase featuring Eduardo Sarabia. Travesía Cuatro presents Eleonor Koch and Frieda Toranzo Jaeger at their striking Roma Norte gallery outside of their MACO booth. Galerie Philia in Polanco hosts "El Elogio de la Sombra," featuring an array of industrial pieces and a special performance. Nearby, Morán Morán displays a vibrant and dynamic showcase of Raúl de Nieves. Meanwhile, in la Roma Sur, Peana exhibits decadent works of art by Julia Rometti and opens Casa/Estudio Nancarrow to the public for the first time. Additional must-visit destinations include JO-HS, Kurimanzutto, Galería Karen Huber, and a selection of industrial design studios such as Héctor Esrawe.