The move comes even as Mexico’s own collector base is growing and strengthening. Manzutto remembers that, when the gallery first opened, “there was almost no market, maybe three collectors.” Now, the city has its own art fair, Zona Maco
, as well as a gallery weekend; there’s also a growing art scene in the city of Guadalajara. But despite the growth, Mexican collectors still account for only about 25 to 30 percent of Kurimanzutto’s overall sales. And, Manzutto noted, museums in Mexico typically do not have significant acquisition budgets, making the U.S. an important region for placing works in institutional collections.
Manzutto said the decision to open a New York space came out of conversations with the gallery’s artists (there are 33 in all), about half of whom do not have representation in New York or the U.S. in general.
“As much as we do travel and we do participate in art fairs, it’s not the same kind of conversation,” said Manzutto. “The pace of the art fair is a very fast one, you don’t always have the space nor the time, which [makes it] even more important to talk to people deeply about artists.”
McClure said being on the Upper East Side, away from the bustle and density of Chelsea, also allows for more leisurely visits. The location is close to many of New York’s top museums, and the neighborhood is home to a small but critical mass of galleries, including a few others from Latin America, like Mexican gallery Páramo, or Brazil’s Mendes Wood DM
and Galeria Nara Roesler
Kuri said his team had looked at the Lower East Side, but realized that the gallery was not a part of the organic community that has sprung up there over the years. He described the Upper East Side location on East 65th Street, just off Madison, as “very neutral.” The neighborhood “gives us room to develop our own identity and not try to insert ourselves in certain identities,” Kuri said.
And, “the rent is much cheaper than downtown,” added Manzutto.
It is too soon to tell how having an additional site will impact the operations of the gallery, which has a staff of 32 employees across both locations. The directors do hope that having an additional gallery will allow them to spend more time in New York and slow down their own whirlwind travel schedules. Both Manzutto and Kuri lived in New York as master’s students, and feel at home here.