From the category archives:

MEXICO

Material Light on Substance, Heavy With Dick Pics

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 10, 2017
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Is a bigger fair necessarily a better fair?

Having doubled in floorspace since last year, Material Art Fair feels like a totally different beast. The fair has moved to two lower floors of Expo Reforma, with larger booths arranged around “courtyards” for conversation and concessions. There are plenty of new exhibitors, and much of the work looks far more market-friendly than the wares last year.

Opinions remain divided over whether or not these changes are a good thing…

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Slideshow: Zona MACO, The Art Fair Where Commerce and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 9, 2017
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Last year, I remarked that Zona MACO excels at being an “average” art fair.

I stand by that opinion this year, with the clarification that it feels a bit like the average of many art fairs: a bit of NADA, a big dollop of Design Miami, a dose of Basel, and flavors of Frieze. That makes sense, as it’s by far Latin America’s largest and most important art fair—many of the curated identities of fairs in hyper-saturated US markets come from necessity of branding when there’s competition.

And like I said last year, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Though this year, due to some floor plan rearrangements and somewhat less cohesive booths, the curated sections Zona MACO Sur and Nuevas Propuestas felt a bit underwhelming. That might also owe to (what seemed like) an increase in advertisers’ kiosks and design, publication, and food vendors, comparatively.

The good news: the quality of work in the General Section improved tremendously. Sure, there were many repeat, predictable artist, but the recent political turns in both Mexico and the United States haven’t gone unnoticed in the art world, thankfully. Scattered among the rows of polite abstraction, there was plenty of outright political work, particularly when compared to the December fairs in Miami.

Below, a sampling of the what’s on view, beginning with some of the more overtly political works.

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We Went to Mexico: General Idea at Museo Jumex Restored Our Faith in Art For Fuck’s Sake

by Michael Anthony Farley and Molly Rhinestones on February 8, 2017
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What’s On View: A retrospective of the Canadian Collective, General Idea (comprised of artists AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal.) A collection of works spanning two floors of the museum arranged semi-chronologically from their 25-year-long career in a vast array of formats including installations, video art, painting, publications, and performance.
Molly:I feel like I hit every point on my emotional spectrum walking through the retrospective…
Michael:this is the exhibition so many artists in our generation need to see right now. Over the past few months, there’s been all this self-doubt about the role of artists in times of crisis and whether or not an “art practice” is worthwhile…

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We Went to Mexico: Barbara Kruger and Juan Pablo de la Vega Take the Subway

by Michael Anthony Farley and Molly Rhinestones on January 19, 2017
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We went to two metro-related art shows in Mexico City. Both left us considering presentation issues.

Molly: The GIFS are dizzying but accurately reproduce my experience descending into the Barbara Kruger tunnel….
Michael: I really love each of Juan Pablo de la Vega’s photos, but as an exhibition I found myself wanting more. Perhaps it’s an issue of scale…

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The Timelessness of Sex, Violence, and Portraiture: Otto Dix at MUNAL

by Michael Anthony Farley on January 13, 2017
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In Mexico City, a collaboration between German and Mexican museums grapples with making sense of Otto Dix’s prolific and diverse oeuvre. It’s a wild success, largely due to a light curatorial touch.

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“Tierra de Esperanza” Is Yoko Ono Done Right

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 21, 2016
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Last year, MoMA’s Yoko Ono retrospective bombed by taking the fun (and guesswork) out of her work. But in Tierra de Esperanza at Muso Memoria y Tolerancia, Yoko Ono shines with work that’s interactive, alternately playful and political, and sometimes bizarre.

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Revisiting “Powers of Ten” After Almost 50 Years

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 18, 2016
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At the Museo Jumex, Andrés Jaque / Office For Political Innovation mine the Ray and Charles Eames classic for content to politicize in the exhibition Superpowers of Ten. It is mostly a big stretch.

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SET: An Art Show in a TV Studio

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 12, 2016
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Last weekend I attended a pop-up group show from Public Art Projects on a quiet industrial block of Juarez just south of the Material Art Fair on its last day. The group launched a pop-up exhibition that mischievously embraced site-specificity in a venue that is by nature the most mutable of non-places: a television studio.

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