NUEVO LEÓN POSITIONS ITSELF AS A NEW BENCHMARK IN CONTEMPORARY ART, ONE WHERE THE PRIVATE INITIATIVE BOOST CREATIVES.
A debate that has gained strength in recent years is the decentralization of art and design in Mexico. The main art fairs happen in the capital, it is also where the major concentration of galleries and museums are. Actually many artists, designers, and cultural managers migrate to Mexico City with the hope of finding better job opportunities. However, the celebration of Cuadrante, an extensive program focused on architecture, design, and contemporary art in Monterrey is to be celebrated on October 23rd.
Although the pandemic came to accelerate this process of gentrification of art, the gentrification has brought foreign artists to Mexico City. They are positioning it as a benchmark of international level in Latin America.
Nuevo León in numbers
Nuevo León state is one of the main economic actors of the country. It is currently the third to contribute to the National GDP with 7.6%. In contrast, it is the seventh state in population and the thirteenth in territorial extension. It is estimated that currently, 94% of the state’s habitants live in urban populations, where Monterrey’s Metropolitan Area -made up of 13 towns- is the main one.
Art in Monterrey
In 1991 the Contemporary Art Museum of Monterrey (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey), aka MARCO opened. The architectural work was in charge of architect Ricardo Legorreta and since then it represents a benchmark of the country. It has an extensive private collection that includes national and foreign artists and has up to 10 temporary exhibitions a year.
During the pandemic art and culture budget in Nuevo León froze. It did not present any major changes from 2020 to 2021, but artistic and cultural activities are considered non-essential, this being a hard blow for the industry. The current administration increased the budget by 37% for 2022, but the truth is that art and culture in the state are still not a priority for the government.
Proof of this is the “Ciudadanos por la Democracia” proposal submitted to the State Congress. This contemplates making a modification to the law in which support for the arts and culture can be 100% deducted instead of the current 85%. While this would currently only apply to the performing arts, it is expected that it will include other disciplines.
Four contemporary art spaces in Monterrey
Faced with these adversities, it seems that the main supporters of art -and decertification- in the northern sultana are the youngest. Independent and emerging galleries are those dedicated to helping those artists who decide to experiment and whose names may not yet occupy the principal fairs in the country.
Here are four of the new galleries in Monterrey
This Gallery began in 2016 with the purpose of making visible experimental artists who develop their work in plastic arts. One of their main missions has been to decentralize art in Mexico and promote the work of locals and foreigners.
Paena is located at Vía Clodia 169, San Pedro Garza García and since 2022 it opened a second location in Roma Sur, Mexico City.
Jesús Alberto Flores founded this gallery in order to promote conceptual and abstract art in the city of Monterrey. Since its beginning, it has received the work of emerging Latin American artists and those based outside the region. Starting in 2015, he opened KRSTO, a residency for artists and a link to the city’s artistic and cultural scene.
It is located at Lázaro Garza Ayala pte 46, in San Pedro Garza García.
Castilla / Klyuyeva
This is one of the youngest spaces on the list. The gallery had its first exhibition “Después de la lluvia de fuego”, by Luis Alonso Sánchez, where he reflected on the mental crisis from the isolation derived from the pandemic. It was founded by Isa Natalia Castilla and Marina Elizabeth Kluyuyeva as a space for contemporary art and a link between Russian and Mexican artistic practice.
It is located at Paseo María Elena 833, San Pedro Garza García.
The main purpose of this gallery is to promote experimental artistic work based on the body and corporalities. It was born to question the traditional exhibition formats and to develop new dialogues between artist and viewer. It was inaugurated in 2018 by Abril Zalez, who is currently its director and curator.
It is located at Av. Lázaro Cárdenas 2424-11, San Pedro Garza García.
TEXT: Israel Vázquez
TRANSLATION: Brenda Turral
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