Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Material Art Fair Mexico City 2014

Material Art Fair
Seeing the Material Art Fair was a case of being at the right spot at the right time. I was in Mexico City because American Airlines was running an airfare that was so cheap I couldn't find any excuse not to fly down to see the Museo Soumaya and the Museo Jumex. Plus there was the super sized Zona Maco Art Fair (more on all that in the next post)

Brad Ford Smith Blog
Over breakfast at Casa Comtesse I noticed a listing in the local paper for the Material Art Fair, and it was going on just down the street from where I was staying!

This was the first year of the Material Art Fair with just forty galleries in attendance. The focus of the fair was on "Emerging Practices"(!?)  A little over half of the galleries came from outside of Mexico. Several exhibitors were actually artists co-ops such as the Neter, which isn't so much a gallery as a group of artists that are committed to promoting their artwork by promoting the gallery. These groups work together, pulling from the groups resources to build bigger and better events, exhibits, opportunities, and artwork. These groups with their can do attitude added a lot to the optimistic atmosphere of the art fair.

Material Art Fair
The Neter used customized pizza boxes to create portfolios that included limited edition prints by twelve of their artists. Very nice work at a very reasonable price.

Material Art Fair Mexico City
Printed Matter Inc.
This art fair was more about making new discoveries than perusing the walls for well known signatures. The galleries represented mostly under recognized artists, in fact I would say that the galleries themselves were mostly under recognized. That element infused the art fair with an air of excitement, optimism and rebellion that the bigger, blue chip art fairs are too mature/tainted to generate.

Ricardo Paniagua
I was very surprised and happy to see Dallas represented by artist Ricardo Paniagua at the DAI Gallery...

Material Art Fair
Kevin Jacobs Director of the Oliver Francis Gallery
And Dallas's own emerging practice gallery, the Oliver Francis Gallery . 

Over all, the Material Art Fair was a great opportunity to see how artists, co-ops, and galleries are approaching the art market with new alternatives in the hopes of making big waves. Hopefully next year MAF will make a bigger splash by spending more time on promoting the art fair, and perhaps finding a better location than the fourth floor of the Hilton.  

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