Mexico City’s Art and Design Scene
From the posh Polanco neighbourhood to the Centro Historico, art and design venues are sprouting up across the D.F.
Mexico City’s art scene has been maturing for the better part of a decade, largely because of impressive private collections, not to mention the area’s grand revitalisation underwritten by Carlos Slim. With progressive galleries supporting local art and museums dedicated to internationally renowned artists, the D.F., as locals know it, has become a destination for art and design lovers. Here are six standouts.
Built to hold the 66,000-piece art collection of Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú, this two-year-old museum impresses with its architecture alone: an hourglass-shaped exterior covered with hexagonal aluminium tiles gives way to a stark, all-white interior and spiralling ramp inside similar to the Guggenheim’s in New York. Then comes the art: religious relics, da Vinci, Dalí, Picasso, Renoir, Miró, the second-largest Rodin collection in the world with pieces like The Thinker and The Kiss, and of course murals by Diego Rivera.
Currently located in an industrial warehouse in Ecatapec on the outskirts of the city—and due to move to its new David Chipperfield–designed home this November—this 1,400-work contemporary art collection has earned Jumex juice heir Eugenio López Alonso the title of Mexican Medici. And rightly so, given his support of Mexican artists such as Gabriel Orozco and Damián Ortega. You’ll also find work by Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Cy Twombly and John Baldessari, among others. López, whose discerning eye and passion for art have transcended borders, owns an art-filled villa in Beverly Hills, and sits on the board of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art as well as New York’s New Museum.
Housed in a spacious 20th-century home in the Roma district, this gallery, which got its start in 1983 by showing and promoting Mexican artists such as Germán Venegas, Adolfo Riestra and Mónica Castillo, recently opened an adjacent second space to exhibit younger artists. It’s called el52, and large-format works and installations are shown there. Current artists include Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Julieta Aranda, Gabriel de la Mora, Yishai Jusidman, Alberto Gironella, Candida Höfer, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, Laureana Toledo and Jorge Méndez Blake. The gallery is a regular at international fairs such as ARCO in Spain, Art Basel in Switzerland, Art Basel Miami and MACO in Mexico.
Part design store, part tea room, part apothecary-cum-spa, this Polanco neighbourhood space attracts plenty of beautiful, creative types. Notice the tableware—the tea kettles, flower vases and flatware were designed by co-owner Vanesa Fernández and produced by local silversmiths—when you sit down for cucumber sandwiches and Champagne in the black-and-white tea room. There’s also a well-edited selection of antiques and design objects as well as fashion and accessories from local designers such as Alejandro Carlin, Natalie Amkie and Francesca Ronci.
Maggie Galton Artesanal Design
A native New Yorker and an art historian turned designer, Galton has called Mexico City home for over 15 years now. She works with indigenous artisans and mestizo communities to preserve centuries-old craft traditions. At her appointment-only showroom, browse luxe bedding, table linens and colourful rebozos (Mexican scarves that are hand-dyed and woven on pedal looms).
This non-governmental organisation, founded in 2006 by designers Emilienne Limón and Dulce Martinez, has been working to empower female textile artisans across Mexico through sustainable co-ops. Though the non-profit’s goods are already stocked at New York’s MOMA store and boutique hotels in the D.F., the organisation recently went brick-and-mortar with its first store in the heart of downtown. The pint-size shop carries gorgeous striped place mats handwoven by women in Oaxaca as well as dresses embroidered by Mayan artisans in the Yucatán peninsula.