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Humberto Moro

This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Painted Rooms, Painted Faces, Digital Everything

by Michael Anthony Farley on September 6, 2016
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Well, we hope the art world had a good summer vacation because school is officially back in session. There are so many good shows opening on Thursday night in Chelsea we just couldn’t list them all—Matthew Barney at Gladstone, Rashid Johnson at Hauser & Wirth and Lynda Benglis at Cheim & Read, to name a few.

We’ve focused on the absolute can’t-miss openings and those that might get overlooked below. From Wednesday night’s opening exhibition on the work and collaborative legacy of early digital/conceptual artist Alison Knowles at The Graduate Center to Thursday night’s absolute must-see double exhibition of Meleko Mokgosi [pictured] at both of Jack Shainman’s Chelsea locations there’s plenty to see and do.

But to offer a quick summary of where the most openings which nights, expect to spend Wednesday on the LES, Thursday in Chelsea, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday rushing from neighborhood to neighborhood. This should be a good week for Uber.

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On Zona MACO: How to Excel at Being an Average Art Fair

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 11, 2016
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Last week, I visited Mexico City’s Zona MACO (México Arte Contemporaneo), Latin America’s largest art fair. This was on the heels of our visit to Material, a satellite fair that impressed Paddy and me beyond our expectations. Walking into MACO felt just like visiting the most art fair-y of art fairs by comparison—which is to say, the immediate experience was predictable. There were long convention center lines, groups of “fresas” queuing up to take selfies in reflective sculptures, and familiar overexposed blue-chip names such as Alex Katz and Richard Prince. (“Fresas” is Mexican slang for “yuppies”, literally translating to “strawberries”.) MACO devoted a good chunk of floor space to design wares—from furniture to high-end sunglasses. I wasn’t immediately inspired to lend the event much thought beyond snapping some photos. With a few days of reflection, I realize Zona MACO is noteworthy for its extremes. And that’s not just the quality or quantity of blatantly commercial crap. For all the lackluster blue chip staples on the floor, I also saw an impressive amount of well-curated project booths that smartly positioned emerging artists and galleries in dialogue with the establishment. These two poles served a useful purpose: they lay bare how contemporary art fairs function. Zona MACO is the best model I can think of to demonstrate how for-profit fairs must work to remain both commercially viable and discursively relevant. For better or for worse, MACO excels at both.

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