Kurimanzutto opens doors to new art gallery in Mexico City
Rather than sipping champagne from long-stemmed glasses, guests sucked fruit juice out of cardboard cartons. American English blended with Spanish in this elegant and luminous inside-outside space that looks a world away from the timber yard that it once was. Visitors start inside the building but under an open sky, then walk into a showroom covered by a ceiling of fogged glass that lets in the daylight and is supported by grand, wooden beams reminiscent of a farmerâ€™s barn.
Then itâ€™s outside again and through a tiny, Japanese-style garden and up the back steps into a smaller space hung with paintings and photographs.
Kurimanzutto boasts a collection of some of Mexicoâ€™s most up and coming contemporary artists, including DamiÃ¡n Ortega, Daniel GuzmÃ¡n (see video below) and Gabriel Orozco. To the uninitiated, the main showroom might be reminiscent of a secondhand store, with installations including a suitcase full of ’70s style pornographic photos and a cork pin board covered with photographs â€“- all mounted on bare metal bookshelves. But a closer look proves more fulfilling, and the choice of such basic furniture to present the exhibits was, of course, part of the message.
â€œFor this exhibition we have decided to evoke the testimony of an incidental â€“- yet fundamental â€“- protagonist: the bookshelf living in almost any artistâ€™s studio,â€ reads the introduction handed out at the opening.
â€œThis piece of furniture is confident and witness to the working processes of its owner, neatly reflecting his/her interests, obsessions, references and current ideas…. The shelf is equally storeroom, shelter and plinth.â€
Attendees seemed impressed.
Daniela Hernandez, 23, a law student, welcomed the space, saying, â€œItâ€™s really important that theyâ€™re changing the gallery spaces here because they really need it and thereâ€™s a lot to do.â€
â€œThis is the most important contemporary art gallery in Mexico,â€ said Mariano Rocha, a 26-year-old fashion magazine editor.
That’s not strictly true. La Coleccion Jumex, situated about half an hour north of the city in the gritty, industrial neighborhood of Ecatepec, is 15,000 square feet of Latin American art open to the public and owned by Eugenio Lopez Alonso, heir to the Mexican Jumex juice fortune. But Jumex’s is a permanent collection and although widely regarded as one of the world’s most important public showcases of Latin American art, nothing is for sale.
Kurimanzutto, on the other hand, is a commercial gallery, so comparing the two is rather like comparing apples and oranges. However, for people who are looking, not shopping, Kurimanzutto does have the advantage of being located more centrally, and is just a stoneâ€™s throw from Mexico Cityâ€™s central park, Bosque de Chapultepec.
Abdon Flores, a Paris-based Mexican fashion designer at Saturday’s launch, said that he enjoyed the size of the new gallery: â€œItâ€™s huge â€“- thatâ€™s important for Mexico because galleries here are usually small.â€
Floresâ€™ companion Anna Rockwell, a 27-year-old American artist, said: â€œI like the idea that itâ€™s collective. It raises a new way of structuring art shows thatâ€™s not so much about individual ego and â€˜Iâ€™m making it as an international art star and youâ€™re not,â€™ but more about working together and sharing ideas.
â€œItâ€™s more of a dialogue, which for me is a lot more interesting because thatâ€™s the most interesting thing about art.â€
Click on the video for a glimpse of part of Daniel GuzmÃ¡n’s installation at the Kurimanzutto gallery.
[video:youtube:-6jtiV0ji_0] Click here for more photos of the event on Flickr.
Photos: The beautiful people, top, are out in force Saturday afternoon in Mexico City for the opening of the new Kurimanzutto contemporary art gallery in the San Miguel de Chapultepec neighborhood. Daniela Hernandez, 23, a law student, and Mariano Rocha, 26, a fashion magazine editor, middle, are among those at the launch. Others attending the exhibition opening, bottom, include Abdon Flores, a Paris-based Mexican fashion designer, and American artist Anna Rockwell. Credits: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times
This post was written for La Plaza, the Los Angeles Times blog on Latin America.
* This post was edited at 12:27pm Mexico City time. La Coleccion Jumex is not a commercial gallery, unlike Kurimanzutto.