8 Must-See Works at Zona MACO
Mexico City, a densely populated urban hub—where ancient art and architecture exist alongside a blossoming contemporary art scene—is where Zona MACO will invite international exhibitors and collectors for its 14th edition. This complexly layered cosmopolitan city hosts innumerable newly constructed museums in ex-industrial districts (the Museo Jumex and Museo Soumaya among them), as well as flourishing galleries in charming colonial neighborhoods such as La Condesa. The city’s sense of grit and glitter is expounded by the emerging and established artists selected below, who are spearheading Spanish and Latin American art. Engaging with themes of cultural commentary, often underlining individual experiences on global scales, you will also find subtle, quieter works, which innovate abstraction and call inward to their own medium. Here, I list the top eight works every collector should be after at Zona MACO.
As many emerging artists may be able to identify with, Ana Bidart reflects on the early stages of her own career, when she spent much time as an artist’s assistant and an art handler for international fairs and biennials. Bidart’s “Pasaportes” series brings to life these migratory empty containers or unwanted packages, re-contextualizing discarded labels and receipts, emphasizing their nomadic qualities, and giving them life through her paintings. Bidart, who was born in Uruguay but is now based in Mexico City, will also be showing works at Fifi Projects in Mexico City during the time of Zona MACO.
Creating works in various media, including painting, sculpture, video, and performance, Tatiana Blass creates surreal environments from everyday objects, resulting in an alluring sense of chaotic, tactile, and suspended mystery; she created one such environment at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver in 2013. Born in São Paulo, Blass presents a suite of paintings with Johannes Vogt Gallery, and a video that more closely reflects her interest in communication breakdowns, represented through tangled webs.
Adrian S. Bara’s process-based work, influenced by his background as a filmmaker and his interest in architecture, includes abstract and geometric forms, plays of shadow and light, and ideas of memory, and seems to evidence its own process of creation. Bara’s work is guided by experimentation and is revealed through accidents and the unknown, as he investigates innovations in visual expression through abstract form. His work was recently shown at Guadalajara’s MAZ (Museo de arte de Zapopan) and Casa Vecina in Mexico City.
Juxtaposing labor-intensive handcraft with mass-produced images, Pia Camil’s work focuses on the the failures and ruin of Mexico’s cities. This hand-dyed and stitched piece is part of a series of works titled “Espectacular Telones,” incorporating the Spanish word for billboard. Her process involves disintegrating information taken from abandoned billboards and then piecing it back together to underline the often incomprehensible qualities of advertisements as facades and spectacles. With an MFA from The Slade School of Fine Art, and a BFA from RISD, Camil, who is a Mexico City-native, has contributed work to the permanent collection of Museo Jumex and has exhibited internationally.
Middel’s most recent work leans toward the conceptual but evolves from years of communicating stories visually, throughout her former career as a photojournalist. Exploring the truth-building function of the photographic image, Middel raises questions about the constructs of recorded history, and the role photography has played in that construction. In her “Party” series, the artist pairs images she took from recent travels in China with censored text taken from Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the second most printed book in history, after the bible. Censoring the text, and pulling out only specific words, Middel personalizes its application to China’s contemporary ethos, while also alluding to the biases and filters of national media sources.
Morales—originally born in Tijuana, Mexico and having lived most of his life in San Diego, California—creates works concerned with personal stories and the global effects of migration, labor, and black market economies. Through various media, Morales explores shifts between physical boundaries and barriers as well as mental adaptations between languages and cultures. Morales is also a curator for ASU Art Museum, through which he continues to raise awareness of social change in both local and global communities. Morales was also recently part of Perez Museum’s Inaugural Exhibition in 2013.
Considered a pioneer of Venezuela’s conceptual art scene, Eugenio Espinoza works to innovate archetypes of abstract geometric form, often through repetition and space. With monochromatic or simple color schemes and grid-like patterns, these pieces exist between worlds of painting and sculpture, tension and balance, simplicity and acute precision. Having begun his career with his first solo show in 1972 at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Venezuela, Espinoza will have an upcoming show at Miami’s Pérez Art Museum this March.
Representing Mexico—along with Tania Candiani—in this year’s Venice Biennale, Felipe Ortega incorporates sculpture, video, installation, and photography into his practice. Much of his work is known for examining the relationships between personal and socio-political situations, highlighting the impact that globalization has on the individual. Other themes in pieces such as this one draw from more philosophical investigations of time and space and the relationships between various art forms.