Mexico City: the home of
Frida and Diego, muralists and Surrealists, top contemporary artists like
Gabriel Orozco and Francis Alÿs, and of course Central America’s preeminent art
fair, Zona Maco
. For the occasion of the latter (which opens to
the public tomorrow), we thought we’d highlight ten Mexican artists, both
historic and contemporary, whose work you can discover this week in the booths
of the fair’s top exhibitors.
1974, Guadalajara): Méndez Blake draws literature into the realm of visual
arts, saying that he “prefer[s] to be quoting others constantly.” His
manipulations and appropriations include everything from narrative
installations that translate (or negate) famous literary works to the “It Was a
Pleasure Series”—a visual interpretation of a quote from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit
(b. 1974, Los Mochis): Lugo is best known for
his playfully photorealistic paintings that cast tiny men in surreal settings. “My work elaborates on two main aspects of human
nature: the idea of subject as a representation, and representation itself,” he
interested in what can be said at the cross points of disciplinary conventions
on drawing, painting, and photography.”
(b. 1978, Mexico City): Chapela is a conceptual artist with a background in mathematics and
communications; his practice investigates systems of data, language, scientific
experimentation, and networks of information exchange—sometimes even using them
to generate the works themselves.
(b. 1982, Mexico City): Rountree once described
his artistic practice as being “about how you can give
importance to objects by taking them home and treating them like a decoration.”
His works and installations repurpose everyday items, like food or books, into
new aesthetic configurations.
(b. 1970, Mexico City): Sodi creates his dense monochromes using raw pigment mixed
with sawdust, wood pulp, natural fibers, and glue, which he applies, layer by
layer, to large wooden slabs. His works are intimately tied to the environment,
not only by virtue of his earthy materials but also because factors like
humidity and altitude inform the characteristic cracks that emerge in his works
as they dry.
(b. 1940, Juchitán de Zaragoza): Influenced in
equal parts by folk art and European artists like Jean Dubuffet, Joán Miró,
Paul Klee, and Francisco Goya, Toledo is dedicated to the preservation and
promotion of the arts and crafts of his native state, Oaxaca. He has produced
paintings, lithographs, engravings, sculptures, ceramics, and even designs for
tapestries made in collaboration with local artisans.
(b. 1972, Mexico City): Artist-designer Edgar
Orlaineta pays homage to classic modernist designers in works that reconfigure
their iconic creations into new pieces and installations. Explore his amazing Tumblr
for more examples of his beautiful, playful
(b. 1904, Mexico City; d. 1957): One of Mexico’s
great and underappreciated talents of the 20th century, Covarrubias was a prodigious
draftsman best known for his caricatures that appeared in Vanity Fair
The New Yorker
. After receiving a grant and moving to New York at only
19, he befriended prominent figures in the Harlem Renaissance and also dabbled
in ethnography and set design.
(b. 1964, Mexico City): Painter and sculptor
Armando Romero reveres the masters of art history, like Caravaggio, Rembrandt,
and Velázquez, and irreverently mashes up their works with contemporary imagery
and aggressive scrawls, doodles, and other forms of abstract mark-making.
(b. 1915, Gdansk, Poland; immigrated to
Guadalajara in 1949): A German-born naturalized Mexican citizen, Goeritz was a
prolific artist in several mediums, as well as an influential teacher. He’s
best known for his sculptures, including several public commissions and
collaborations with architects that can be seen throughout Mexico to this day.