All Eyes Are Suddenly on Guadalajara's Thriving Art Scene by Michael Slenske
Here's our guide to Mexico's newest creative hotbed and a look at its ever-more-popular PreMaco festivities
Nowadays, whenever you travel to a destination with an emerging art scene, you are almost always told that the city is the Los Angeles of whichever nation you are visiting. It’s a phenomenon you might call Second City Syndrome, which suggests the locale is on an upward cultural trajectory. Such was the spirit this past weekend in Guadalajara, Mexico, during the fourth edition of the city’s PreMaco festivities—filled with openings, studio visits, and parties that offered a precursor to this week’s blockbuster Zona Maco fair in Mexico City, now in its 15th year. As I discovered, this second city’s charms were best expressed by its distinctions from, not mimicry of, the CDMX scene.
That such a scene exists at all is a tribute to the reach of Dávila and his lifelong pals Gonzalo Lebrija and Jorge Méndez Blake. By establishing such formidable studio practices in Guadalajara they have become the real drivers behind PreMaco. All three artists show locally at Travesia Cuatro, the Madrid/Guadalajara gallery which sits next to Demetria in Casa Franco, a 1929 Luis Barragán home. Prior to joining the gallery, the trio ran its own exhibition space, Oficina para Proyectos de Arte (OPA), which gave early shows to international stars like Friedrich Kunath, Anri Sala, Liz Craft, and Pipilotti Rist. Another international star, Martin Creed, touched down in GDL to install one of his balloon installations at the top of Vía Libertad tower, a mixed-use complex redesigned by GDL firm SPRB that draws a hip crowd to its Mercado Mexico (filled with boutiques and cafés) in the plaza at its base. Also of note was an elegant archival show of multimedia works related to The Aesthetic Machine, a libidinous 1975 sculpture by Mexican abstract icon Manuel Felguérez at Páramo Galeria, which just opened a secondary space on the Upper East Side (and a Mexico City residence). Páramo also showed a suite of paintings and performance works by rising GDL talent Emanuel Tovar, who unveiled a transcendent new performance, Ritos estructurales, on the island of Mezcala on Sunday.