Mexico City seeks to grow reputation as international art hub
The center-piece of Mexico City's week of art fairs, Zona Maco has brought in 216 exhibitors according to organizers © NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

Artists and collectors from around the world are descending on Mexico City this week for several fairs aimed at consolidating the capital's position as a Latin American hub of modern and contemporary art.

The headline event, Zona Maco, counts 216 exhibitors, nearly half of them foreigners, according to organizers.

Spanish and US gallery owners have a strong presence at the week-long event, attracted by a vibrant local market that includes some 170 museums and scores of private collectors.

"Mexico City is a very important hub for collectors internationally," said Mauricio Sampogna, visiting from Houston on behalf of the Art of the World gallery, which offers works by Colombian master Fernando Botero.

Zona Maco's new artistic director, Juan Canela, said that "more than 55 international museum groups" had come to the fair, while buyers for private collectors had arrived "from various places in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States of course."

"There's a growing interest in Mexican cultural industries," said Julien Cuisset, a French gallery owner who has lived in Mexico City for more than 20 years.

Highlighting the global ambitions of the fair, Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard even made an appearance.

Zona Maco is "a very singular event, very important for Mexico," said Ebrard - viewed as a possible successor to current leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Mexico, which often acts as a bridge between the United States and Latin America, "has considerable cultural power," he added.

Another event, Bada, seeks to connect artists directly with individual buyers and collectors, bypassing galleries in Mexico.

The fair is a godsend for digital designer Anni Garza Lau, who is exhibiting her fictional scientific images generated using artificial intelligence.

"There's no purely digital art gallery in Mexico City," she said, adding that for that reason she does not usually sell her work.

Buyers also like the concept.

"You can find good deals at prices that are more accessible and not inflated like in the galleries," said art aficionado Cecilia de la Vega.

Two other events are also being held this week: the Material contemporary art fair and Salon ACME -- described by organizers as "an art platform created by artists for artists."

© 2023 AFP