Highlights from PreMaco Guadalajara 2022
If you are interested in experiencing an art event like no other, you must visit Guadalajara, Mexico, during its art weekend, also known as PreMaco. PreMaco is when the contemporary art community collectively comes together to champion one another and welcome outsiders with open arms and tequila in hand. From Tuesday, February 1st to Sunday, February 6th, galleries, and artists in Guadalajara opened their doors so that visitors could enjoy different exhibitions and events that bring together local talent and artists with international recognition. Unlike ZonaMaco, Latin America's most important contemporary art fair that is large and filled with people like Frieze in London or New York, PreMaco is a much more intimate reunion.
I've been to Guadalajara before, but never during PreMaco, so I was looking forward to seeing the city's contemporary art scene. My PreMaco weekend started on Thursday with a few gallery visits. Still, it wasn't until Friday that the official PreMaco weekend began with the welcome lunch hosted by the team of Travesia Cuatro, followed by the viewing of Milena Muzquiz's new exhibition at their gallery. After Travesia Cuatro, the weekend consisted of gallery hopping, studio visits, and lots lots lots of tequila! The eventful art weekend ended with a big party hosted by one of the city's major art patrons and collector José Noé Suro at his ceramics factory, Ceramica Suro, where the magic happens.
In this article I will share with you my favorite findings from galleries to artists you must know. Previously I wrote an article about Guadalajara that goes more into detail about the city’s cultural history, make sure to check it out here if you are interested to learn more.
Milena Muzquiz @ Travesia Cuatro
Frequent Visitors is Milena Muzquiz's most recent body of work which consists of paintings, ceramic tiles, and ceramic sculptures. Her paintings are self-portraits in a garden oasis surrounded by flower blossoms. Each painting is a recollection of memories of places, oozing with nostalgia. Viewers are invited to share her reminiscences of a semi-imaginary world, recalling her Tijuana birthplace and childhood vacations.
The LA-based artist was born in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1972. Muzquiz trained at the California College of Fine Arts, San Francisco and then completed an MFA at the Art Centre College of Design, Pasadena, tutored by legendary conceptual artist Mike Kelley. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, United States.
Available at Travesia Cuatro, Guadalajara until 28 May 2022
Marcela & José Noé Suro's Private Art Collection @ Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ)
The exhibition, Ceramica Suro: A history of collaboration, production and collecting in Contemporary Art is one of the most impressive contemporary art collections in Mexico and it so happens to be in Guadalajara. The Cerámica Suro factory began in Tlaquepaque in 1951. It is from the nineties when brothers, Luis Miguel and José Noé Suro began to work with visual artists to produce pieces whose formal practice was valued for maintaining and following traditional techniques in ceramics but was also innovative. This collaboration has led to the creation of many artworks taking residence in museums throughout the world as well as in various international collections; At the same time, it allowed the Suro family to form their own personal collection of contemporary art. With artwork by over 200 artists, this is a collection that I was lucky to see in person at Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ).
The exhibition is available until 13 March 2022.
Alma Colectiva: Aurelio López & "Pepis" Martínez Private Collection @ Kasa Capital
Alma Colectiva is a private collection, made up of almost 700 pieces, which began to form in the 1980s by Aurelio López Rocha and his wife Virginia "Pepis" Martínez. In the initial stages of the collection, the collector began with some pieces of neo-Mexicanism, but in the 1990s he moved towards consuming art made by local contemporary artists in Guadalajara. The collection has pieces from national artists such as Fernando Robles and Julio Castellanos, from local creatives such as Jose Dávila, Jorge Méndez Blake, Renata Petersen, to the Danish collective Superflex and the Italian conceptual artist Mónica Bonvicini. There is also an important collection of classic cars and a large library of about 8 thousand books about art, architecture, and design. The collection which is now housed at Kasa Capital, a three-story gallery space, is now open to the public.
Eduardo Sarabia's Studio Visit
Eduardo Sarabia is an LA-born artist who has been living and working in Guadalajara for over 20 years now. He was the first artist to be invited by José Noé Suro for an art residency at the Suro factory. Since then, Sarabia has been an influential figure in bridging the local Guadalajara art scene with artists and gallerists in the USA. He works with sculpture, painting, and installations, and references traditional Mexican folklore that influences him, as well as to such headline-grabbing issues as drug violence, contraband, and other illegal activities plaguing the border region. He is most notably known for his ceramics decorated with hand-painted pin-up girls, guns, and drug-trade iconography.
Visiting Sarabia's studio was a major highlight. Being able to see the large spaces that artists in Guadalajara are working in, made me realize why Guadalajara is increasingly becoming more and more attractive amongst the creative community. His studio is large with a courtyard in the center, giving it a cozy feel regardless of its large scale. Of course, the open studio became a party, one in which the tight-knit community was present.
Familia Panduro & Elvira Smeke @ Paramo
Elvir Smeke (b. 1978, Mexico) is an artist who trained as a photographer and art historian. She is currently a multidisciplinary artist exploring sculpture, painting, drawing, installation, photography, and video. She works with household objects and materials she finds on the street, such as leaves and stones. Smeke analyzes what it is to be a woman in the contemporary era and reflects on the joy of being a woman, which can be seen in the works of her current exhibition, Secretos de Tierra, at Paramo gallery alongside pieces from the Panduro family. The Panduro family is the only potter's family in Tlaquepaque, working for six generations and specializing in creating human figurines and busts with extreme realism. Smeke and the Panduro artisans share their interest in clay and earth -elements present in conceptualizing a geographical landscape- and sincerely portray a cultural environment's hidden vision and customs.
The exhibition is available until 19 February 2022.
Gonzalo Lebrija's Studio Visit
Gonzalo Lebrija (b.1972, Mexico) is an artist with an established career and representation by leading galleries. He uses the mediums of photography, video, sound and sculpture to capture the aesthetic experience of time. With an almost humorous nihilism, he explores the passage and futility of life, often focusing on the vertiginous possibilities of frozen moments. Visiting his studio allowed me to see new works which the artist was working on and his space, which like all others in the city are just magnificent.
Lebrija has a BFA in Communication Science from ITESO. he has had a plethora of group and solo exhibitions throughout Mexico and abroad at renowned establishments, such as Museo Jumex, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Kohn Gallery, and Travesia Cuatro to name a few. Lebrija is also cofounder of Oficina para Proyectos de Arte (OPA) in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he currently lives and works.
Alejandro Garcias Contreras @ Gamma Galeria
Alejandro García Contreras (b. 1982, Mexico) is an exciting artist from Mexico's southern state of Chiapas, that originally came to Guadalajara to do an art residency at Ceramica Suro. Since then, he has made the city his new home. He characterizes his creative work by experimentation and dialogue between different materials and technical resources, making his work a mix of various media such as painting, sculpture, photography, video, and graphics. The themes of his work are linked to his personality, and through his artistic projects, he explores topics and themes inspired by contemporary popular culture, Mexican folklore, myth, occultism, and religion.
García Contreras holds a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico, City, (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes). His work was the winning acquisition of the 2006 Artfest WTC, and he is a two-time recipient of the FONCA / Young Creators Scholarship. He has been a member of SHOWCAVE Gallery in Los Angeles, California, director of LAC Laboratorio de Artes de Chiapas, and a member of “NETER”, an initiative dedicated to promoting the work of Mexican artists locally and internationally.
I end this article with an image from Ceramica Suro's factory party, which was a blast! I want to thank everyone in Guadalajara for their hospitability and an incredible week full of art and culture.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my highlights from ZonaMaco in Mexico City!