A Whirlwind Tour Through Mexico City’s Rich Arts Scene

570

A place that greats like Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Lola Álvarez Bravo, and Luis Barragán all called home, Mexico City has rarely lacked creative luster. Every year in February, the metropolis overflows with arts and architecture lovers during Zona Maco and Feria Material, two notable contemporary art fairs that feature galleries and exhibitors from all over the world.

Yet there is no shortage of galleries year-round promoting established and up-and-coming talent, artists and designers creating fascinating work and leading cultural initiatives, and gifted architects enhancing the city’s private and public spaces—and making a name for themselves in the process.

Spread across CDMX in vibrant colonias such as Roma, Polanco, San Miguel Chapultepec, and Juárez, below are just some of the galleries and architecture studios thriving in the Mexican capital—and beyond.

Housed in a sleek industrial building at the heart of Mexico City’s chic Roma neighborhood, OMR was founded by locals Patricia Ortiz Monasterio and Jaime Riestra in 1983. Forty years later, they’ve gained recognition for representing various emerging and admired creatives, including celebrated Mexican artist Pia Camil and renowned Spanish artist Ana Montiel.

Imagined as a place for criticism and research, Kurimanzutto was founded as a nomadic art gallery in the late 1990s by Mónica Manzutto, José Kuri, and Gabriel Orozco. In 2008, the group opened their current gallery space in Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec, designed by acclaimed Mexican architect Alberto Kalach.

Favoring cutting-edge projects and rare visual languages, Kurimanzutto represents artists like Barbara Sánchez Kane, Damian Ortega, and Oscar Murillo. Buenos Aires–born gallerist Agustina Ferreyra first opened her eponymous gallery in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2013. Now located in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood, the gallery places a special focus on emerging Latin American talent, representing rapidly rising creatives such as Puerto Rican artist Dalton Gata, Argentinian artist Ramiro Chaves, and Mexican artist Paloma Contreras Lomas.

Established in 2005, under the direction of Teófilo Cohen, Proyectos Monclova represents the estate of iconic Mexican artist Helen Escobedo, as well as local artists like Nestor Jiménez and Yoshua Okón. The gallery’s exhibition space lives within a gorgeous blue building at the center of CDMX’s stylish Polanco neighborhood.

Cofounded by Rudy F. Weissenberg and Rodman Primack, AGO Projects supports artists using design to elevate social and environmental consciousness. With an exhibition space in New York and another in CDMX’s Colonia Juárez, they represent distinguished creatives such as London-based Mexican designer Fernando Laposse and award-winning A newcomer to the gallery scene in Mexico City, Danish gallerist Elizabeth Johs founded JO-HS in 2020. Based in a gorgeous, light-filled building from the 1970s—carefully renovated by Johs herself—the gallery represents a small but significant group of artists, including locals Rodrigo Echeverría and Melissa Ríos. Earlier this year, JO-HS opened a second location in New York City.

Founded in 2020, Pequod Co. is another up-and-coming gallery based in CDMX’s Colonia Juárez. At the moment, it represents a group of 11 exciting emerging artists, including Mexico City–born Joaquín Segura and Cristobal García, Guadalajara-born Renata Petersen, and a number of international expats like French artist Elsa-Louise Manceaux and Ecuadorian artist Ana Navas. Recently selected to design a new modern and contemporary art wing for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Frida Escobedo has made many headlines lately.

The lauded Mexican architect, who founded her eponymous studio in 2006, has completed a wide range of major projects around the world, including designing London’s Serpentine Pavilion in 2018. In CDMX, her studio took on the Librería Octavio Paz, the Librería Jumex, the space for Galerie Nordenhake Mexico in Roma Norte, and more recently, the chic coffee spot Niddo Café in Colonia Juárez.

Arguably the most renowned architect in Mexico City, Alberto Kalach continues to make waves with his team at Taller de Arquitectura X (TAX). Led by himself and Adriana León, the studio has been around since 1981 and has designed iconic CDMX spaces like the Jardín Barragan. Among their latest projects is Casa Wabi Sabino, which houses the studio of Mexican artist Bosco Sodi and two exhibition spaces for his foundation, Casa Wabi. A rising talent in Mexico City’s architecture scene, Rozana Montiel has won numerous accolades, including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2019 and the International Prize for Women Architects in 2022. In CDMX, Montiel’s studio has completed important projects focused on improving public spaces.

These include Pilares, a social impact initiative within the densely populated Colonia Presidentes de México, and Common Unity, an urban renovation project in Azcapotzalco. Founded in 2016 by young architects Elias Kalach and Teddy Nanes, Vertebral is a firm that spans both architecture and landscaping—in their words, they see bushes, herbs, and trees as construction materials too. They’ve completed residential projects with lush façades in CDMX, as well as projects in other iconic places across the country, such as Puerto Escondido and Tulum.

Source: Vogue